The 23rd Sedona International Film Festival will celebrate the creative artistry, imagination and entertainment dividends of filmmaking and the impact of some pretty special people from Friday, Feb. 17, through Sunday, Feb. 26.

It all begins Feb. 17 at the Sedona Performing Arts Center when Oscar-winner and eight-time Emmy-winning actress Cloris Leachman receives the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award. She will be joined by Ed Asner and Valerie Harper who, together with Leachman and Mary Tyler Moore, were responsible for an historic influence on American entertainment history.


“We’re calling it an MTM reunion,” said Sedona Film Festival Executive Director Pat Schweiss. “It will be the first time since the passing of Mary Tyler Moore that these three iconic actors will be together and we’re thrilled to be the venue for this incredible event.”

An Evening With Cloris Leachman will open the festival, which features more than 160 films, workshops and social events at locations throughout the Sedona.

The complete lineup of documentaries, full-length features, shorts and foreign films begins screening on Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Sedona Performing Arts Center, Harkins Sedona 6 and the Mary D. Fisher Theatre. Information and film descriptions are online at sedonafilmfestival.com.

Leachman also will introduce “The Comedian,” in which she stars with Danny DeVito, Edie Falco, Charles Grodin and Harvey Keitel, at 6 p.m. on Sunday, also at SPAC. The festival will screen Leachman’s classic film, “Young Frankenstein,” on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 3:10 p.m. at Harkins Sedona 6.

The team of Moore, Leachman, Asner, Harper, Betty White, Ted Knight and Georgia Engel starred in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which centered on Moore’s portrayal of career woman Mary Richards at a time when the women’s movement was generating great change in America. The show, which won 29 Emmy awards, led to spinoffs including “Lou Grant,” “Rhoda” and “Phyllis.” Moore was later nominated for an Oscar for her work in Robert Redford’s directorial debut film, “Ordinary People.” Leachman won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the 1971 film, “The Last Picture Show.”

On Feb. 18, three-time Grammy winner Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers will perform at SPAC at 7 p.m. Five-time Grammy nominee Michael Feinstein will bring his Ira Gershwin Program and Great American Songbook to SPAC on Friday, Feb. 24, at 6 p.m.

Television and radio personality, singer and actor Peter Marshall will be on stage Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. Separate tickets must be purchased for the Hornsby and Feinstein performances. Festival passes provide admission to Marshall’s performance and An Evening with Cloris Leachman.

Throughout the week, the festival will feature a range of films from full features and shorts to foreign films and documentaries addressing many important issues facing not just America but the entire planet.

“Part of our responsibility is to generate dialogue and conversation about subjects and topics that can be entertaining as well as controversial,” Schweiss said. “The lineup of documentaries this year will certainly provide plenty of fuel for the conversational fires.”

Two Sedona-based filmmakers — Bryan Reinhart and Ben Fama Jr. — have films in the festival. Reinhart finished producing and directing “Born to Rewild,” a three-year project of cinematographer Ed George, who died last year.

Fama’s documentary, “A Reason to Believe,” explores the psychology of belief and poses the question, “Why do we believe?”

Other films include:

  • “A Planet Ocean,” a documentary exploring how plastics, once they enter the oceans, break up into small particulates that enter the food chain where they attract toxins like a magnet.
  • “Good Fortune,” the rags-to-riches story of billionaire John Paul DeJoria, entrepreneur, philanthropist and co-founder of the Paul Mitchell line of hair products. Narrated by Dan Akroyd, DeJoria’s life is a series of ups and downs — from homelessness to financial security and back again.
  • “The Carer,” staring Brian Cox as Shakespearean actor Sir Michael Gifford who is frustrated by his Parkinson’s disease and being cooped up in his country estate. Having ejected all previous would-be carers, his daughter spearheads an intervention with a young Hungarian with her own acting aspirations. What blossom’s between these two kindred spirits is a funny and heartwarming tale on the acceptance of one’s own mortality.
  • “The Happys,” with Janeane Garofalo, about 21-year-old Tracy who decides to leave her boyfriend after walking in on him with another man, only to return if he promises to marry her. Mark accepts her terms, but neither fully understands the sacrifices they have to make.
  • “Drawing Home,” with Kate Mulgrew and Rutger Hauer, about a young East Coast debutante dating the most eligible bachelor in the world, John D. Rockefeller III in the 1920s. Her future seems set: A dream life in the upper echelons of society. But when she least expects it, she meets a young painter from one of the most beautiful places on Earth, the Canadian Rocky Mountains. As their attraction turns their lives upside down, they soon face a universal question: Can you find “home” in another person? Inspired by a true story.
  • “Broken Memories,” a romantic drama that depicts the often-untold story of a caretaker for the elderly. Once estranged from his family, Levi [Ivan Sergei], has returned home to care for Jasper [Rance Howard], his father who suffers from Alzheimer’s. It’s the story of a father and son at a crossroads, one trying to remember everything and the other trying to forget.
  • “Wild Prairie Rose,” the story of Rose Miller who returns to her rural hometown of Beresford, S.D., to care for her ailing mother. Once there, she falls in love with a deaf man and must decide if she has the courage to follow her heart. “Wild Prairie Rose” is an examination of the changing roles of women in 1950s America and in the ways that people who have great differences can learn to communicate with one another.
  • “Real Boy,” an intimate story of a family in transition as 19-year-old Bennett Wallace navigates early sobriety, late adolescence and the evolution of his gender identity. His mother makes her own transformation from resistance to acceptance of her transgender son. Along the way, both mother and son find support in their communities, reminding us that families are not only given, but chosen.
  • “Fanny’s Journey,” a compelling period piece about a group of Jewish youngsters fleeing Nazi-occupied France in an inspired-by-fact World War II drama. The third feature from director Lola Doillon [“In Your Hands,” “Just About Love”]. The film deftly portrays events through the eyes of its young protagonists.

Workshop topics this year include Documentary Filmmaking, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 9 a.m.; Producing and Directing, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 9 a.m.; Women Make Movies, Thursday, Feb. 23, 9 a.m.; and The Distribution Game, Friday, Feb. 24, 9 a.m. Workshops will be conducted at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre.

Platinum All-Access Passes, Gold Priority Passes, 20-ticket and 10-ticket packages are on sale now. Packages, other than for full-time students, are available at sedonafilmfestival.org or through the festival box office at 282-1177. Student packages must be purchased through the box office and student IDs are required.

For more information, visit sedonafilmfestival.org.