The Sedona International Film Festival will partner with the Mental Health Coalition Verde Valley to present a special screening of the new films: “Teach Me To Be Wild” and “Gender Revolution” showing Monday and Tuesday, May 22 and 23, at 7 p.m. at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre.

The premieres are part of Mental Health Month. There will be a community discussion following the film screenings.

‘Teach Me To Be Wild’

  • Monday, May 22, at 7 p.m.

“Teach Me To Be Wild” explores the work of a sanctuary in northern California, where a team of injured, non-releasable wild animals become Wild Teachers and are helping heal generations of hurt children including at-risk teens, justiceinvolved youth, foster kids and others.

The traumatic histories of the creatures, who range from an Andean condor to a two-toed sloth, often parallel those of the at-risk children who visit. Unexpected and empathic connections are forged that ripple into stories of transformation.

Founded by Steve Karlin, a former park ranger and television personality whose greatest mentors were a 330-pound American black bear and a pair of robins, Wildlife Associates aims to recall us to our true place in nature’s web.

Filmed over a period of three years with intimate access to the animals, their caregivers, workshop facilitators and their spirited students, “Teach Me to Be Wild” captures the magic that transpires where wounded children and their Wild Teachers meet.

Since inception in 1980, Wildlife Associates has impacted the lives of thousands of children. In addition to the work with atrisk-youth featured in this film, Wildlife Associates provides science and environmental education programs in over 300 schools annually. Wildlife Associates’ mission is to inspire and teach the next generation of caring stewards of the planet. The Mental Health Coalition Verde Valley is participating in May’s National Mental Health Awareness Month with an extensive series of local programs to increase the awareness of and dialogue about mental illness.

The theme for May is Hope, Help and Healing, a month of stories, opportunities, experiences, learning, performances and film.

“Teach Me To Be Wild” will show at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre on Monday, May 22, at 7 p.m. followed by a community discussion. Tickets are $12, or $9 for Film Festival members.

‘Gender Revolution’

Free Screening

  • Tuesday, May 23, at 7 p.m.

In “Gender Revolution,” Katie Couric sets out across America to meet with the leading scientists, surgeons and experts of their field to answer questions about gender identity. She speaks with the ordinary people who find their bodies and their lives on the front line of a rapidly changing world.

This film examines the role of science, politics and culture on gender, shedding light on the countless untold stories of struggle, understanding, ignorance and love.

There is no way to predict how children will identify later in life. This uncertainty is one of the hardest things about parenting a gender-nonconforming child. It is important for parents to make their home a place where their child feels safe, loved unconditionally, and accepted for who they are, the film advocates.

Research provided in the film suggests that gender is something we are born with; it can’t be changed by any interventions. While gender identity typically becomes clear in early childhood, sexual orientation — which refers to the person one falls in love with or is attracted to — becomes evident later, according to the film.

Research suggests that like gender identity, sexual orientation cannot be changed.

This special free screening of “Gender Revolution” is generously sponsored by PFLAG of Sedona and the Verde Valley. “Gender Revolution” will show on Tuesday, May 23, at 7 p.m. followed by a community discussion. Tickets are free. Call 282-1177 for tickets and more information.

Both the theatre and film festival office are located at 2030 W. SR 89A in West Sedona. Visit SedonaFilmFestival.org for information.