Tag Archives: Scottsdale International Film Festival

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Q&A with Scottsdale International Film Festival Creator Amy Ettinger

Amy Head 2On October 4-8, 2013, the Scottsdale International Film Festival will be screening films from around the world for the thirteenth year running.  We caught up with founder Amy Ettinger, who started the event back in 2001, who shared some of her favorite festival moments and the SFF’s “new vision.”

1.  What first inspired you to mount the film festival in 2001?

Having produced another film festival in the Valley for 10 years, I finally decided to focus on foreign film, which is my passion. The writing may have been on the wall at an early age though. My parents took us to see challenging films as children, and we would discuss them afterward.  I love foreign film. No one was doing a festival with the sort of films I wanted to see in this market, so I decided to take the bull by the horns and create the festival I wanted for myself. Fortunately there are thousands of people who want the same thing from their film-going experience.

2.  You’ve mentioned that the festival has a new vision, can you explain that?

After 10 years and all sorts of technology and world changes, we decided to reassess what we have to offer and reflect those offerings in our mission and vision statements. Our own metropolitan area has gone through its own transformation too, so we want to make certain that we remain in step with the times. The team working on the two statements came up with declarations for what the Scottsdale International Film Festival (Festival) does:

Mission Statement: The Scottsdale International Film Festival is a destination event and a catalyst for connecting diverse filmmakers from around the world with film lovers in a fresh, thought-provoking, and enduring community of support.

Vision Statement: The Festival unites Arizona with the world through the expression of film.

3.  How does the quality of the films being screened this year compare to previous years?

We still have quite a way to go before I can commit to how we stack up against previous seasons, but every year the patrons tell  us that we have done better with our selection than the previous year.  I will say that we have committed ourselves to offering an opportunity for children to see world film this year.  I personally have a stake in wanting to offer kids some imagery and story lines they will not encounter on network TV, cable TV, or from rentals. Selfishly, I feel that catching them early in the formative years might bring them back to this Festival when they are older. Maybe we will also snag their parents in the process. The quality of the two programs, one with animation and one with live action, is exceptional. We believe that the kids will be entertained, exposed to different cultures, and educated. If we succeed with just those two programs by filling the room and stirring up some new conversations, I will be pleased.

4.  Of the films that you know are going to be screened, are there any that those considering attending should be particularly excited about?

We’re still finalizing this year’s selection; however, in 2012 we had 38 films with numerous artistic gems which vied closely for the Audience Award for Best Film. We are optimistic that 2013 will be no different. Meanwhile, the best way to stay in the loop is to subscribe to our listserv on our website, follow us on Twitter and join our Facebook Fan Page.

5.  When you’re considering what films to screen, what are some of the most pressing concerns?

We are interested in striking a balance, when possible, with approximately 50 films over five days. Sometimes we’re better at finding equal representation between dark and light, between comedies and dramas, between smaller more rarefied films and the more mainstream studio releases. Ostensibly, the viewer should feel that they have taken a tour around the globe and had a peak into one or more countries, religions or ethnicities to gain some new insights and knowledge. Quite often I hear that the Festival has prompted someone to travel to a place they saw on our screen. And that is 100 percent in line with our vision.

6.  For those that have never attended, what are some of the most special moments from previous festivals?  What about your favorite moments?

We turned a corner in 2002 when the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) agreed to mentor our Festival. Our TIFF liaison visited four years running and coached us on programming and development. TIFF also brought us Canadian films and associated talent on their own dime. There are plenty of stories about the Festival’s guests and big victories we’ve had landing great films over the years. But, when it comes right down to it, we had a handshake agreement with the largest and most influential film festival in North America. They taught us an immense amount about the business because we reminded them of their early days and because they are wonderful people. Without their time and attention I’m not sure how things would have transpired. Then, several years ago a couple with a foundation approached us and offered a substantial amount of support over a six year period. The infusion of funding from the Century Arts Foundation took this Festival to the next level and positioned us for greater things in the future. Certainly it is no small thing to have the hosted the appearances of such notable actors as Jennifer Tilly, Lesley Ann Warren, Anton Yelchin, and Felicity Jones who all visited with our audience after their films for stimulating discussions. We were also so honored to have hosted award winning directors like John Sayles, Mike Leigh and Fred Schepisi who also brought their immense reputations to our post-film discussions. As for my favorite moment, it has to be landing the US Premiere of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest as our opener on the 10th anniversary at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts along with the huge party which followed. Epic!

7.  Why do you find it important to bring films from all over the world, rather than just focus on local directors?

There is definitely a place for a local focus in all cities and another festival here handles that mandate quite well.

8.  Is the film collection tailored to a specific audience, or can filmgoers of diverse tastes enjoy the festival?

What was it Abe Lincoln said about pleasing all the people? Hey, we honestly try our best to bring every single solitary area resident to the Festival. Can we offer something for everyone? I do my darnedest every year to heed that challenging clarion call. Anyone who knows me understands that I frequently find a way to pull off something that is supposedly impossible.

 

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Harkins marketing duo forms Syndicate PR

Bryan Laurel and Melissa Rich, the two top-ranking marketing executives at Harkins Theatres, left the theatre chain to form their own PR firm – Syndicate Public Relations. Additionally, Laurel and Rich are proud to announce they will handle all publicity efforts for the Scottsdale International Film Festival, which celebrates its 13th year in October.

Syndicate PR specializes in public relations strategy and execution, promotional and strategic marketing and special events including product launches and fundraisers.  While working with retailers, businesses and charitable organizations, Syndicate PR will capitalize upon recent successes by working with motion picture distributors and independent filmmakers.

Laurel left his post as Director of Marketing in early January after 15 years with the company. His previous experience includes marketing roles for such brands as Apple Computer, Inc., General Electric, Dillard’s Box Office and AMC Theatres. Laurel spent much of his career at Harkins managing a well-rounded marketing team, executing high-profile promotions and cultivating relationships with valley media and executives at Hollywood motion picture studios.

Rich landed at Harkins in 2004 after building her career within several local full-service advertising agencies and ABC News in Washington D.C. Prior to her departure in February, Rich oversaw Harkins’ community relations program and in-kind partnerships with local charities generating more than $2 million in in-kind donations annually.

Together, Laurel and Rich created hundreds of motion picture promotions with major Hollywood studios and helped the company double in size via marketing campaigns for 18 new theatres in the Phoenix-metro area, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and California.  They also spearheaded the successful effort to bring the world premiere of 20th Century Fox’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine to their theatre at Tempe Marketplace in 2009. The event attracted thousands of moviegoers, hundreds of national and international media entities and hosted Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, Liev Schreiber and Will.i.am. as well as Valley-based celebrities.

“I had a great experience with Harkins. Giving fifteen years of my life to the company was easy when working for a man like Dan Harkins.  Melissa and I accomplished all we wanted to and now we’re taking our unique skills from the motion picture industry to a new world of clients” said Bryan Laurel, Principal at Syndicate PR.

“Bryan and I work together so well and this partnership made perfect sense for us as a next logical step upon leaving our corporate lives,” said Melissa Rich, Syndicate PR Principal. “I am extremely grateful for all of the opportunities I was given at Harkins Theatres, and I’m excited to showcase our expertise in new areas.”

roosevelt row arts district

Nominations announced for Governor’s Arts Awards

Sixty-two nominations from 18 Arizona communities were submitted in six categories for the 32nd annual Governor’s Arts Awards for individuals and businesses who have made substantial and outstanding contributions to arts and culture statewide.

Winners will be announced on Wednesday, March 6, at The Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe.  The Governor’s Arts Awards are presented by Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts in partnership with the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Office of the Governor.

Since 1981, 152 artists, individuals, arts and cultural organizations, educators and businesses have received Governor’s Arts Awards

Nominees, by category, and their hometowns are:

Artist: Lee Berger, Phoenix; Charles Bruffy, Phoenix; Daniel Buckely, Tucson; Michael Christie, Phoenix; Bobb Cooper, Phoenix; Barbara Dahlstedt, Glendale;  Maria Isabel Delgado, Chandler; Shawn Franks, Phoenix; Deb Gessner, Mayer; Kristine Kollasch, Phoenix; Bruce Marion, Chandler; Fredric Myers, Apache Junction; Monica Saldana, Goodyear; Mike Vax, Dewey; Jim Waid, Tucson.

Arts in Education – Individual: Annica Benning, Scottsdale; Kathryn Blake, Phoenix; Dennis Bourret, Tucson; Simon Donovan, Tucson; Patti Hannon, Phoenix; Marion Kirk Jones, Phoenix; Sherry Koopot, Paradise Valley; Barbara Nueske Perez, Gilbert; Charles St. Clair, Glendale; Joshua Thye, Phoenix.

Arts In Education – Organization: Arizona Dance Education Organization, Phoenix; Copperstar Repertory Company, Chandler; The Glendale Arts Council, Glendale; Lovena Ohl Foundation, Scottsdale; Marshall Magnet Elementary School, Flagstaff; OpendanceAZ, Phoenix; Phoenix Conservatory of Music, Phoenix; The Phoenix Symphony, Phoenix; Sonoran Glass School, Tucson; UAPresents, Tucson; West Valley Conservatory of Ballet, Surprise.

Business: BMO Harris Bank, Phoenix; LDVinci Art Studio, Chandler; Southwest Ambulance, Mesa.

Community: Alwun House Foundation, Phoenix; Contemporary Forum, Phoenix; Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts, Wickenburg; Flagstaff Cultural Partners, Flagstaff;
James E. Garcia, Phoenix; KXCI Community Radio, Tucson; Mesa Arts Center, Mesa; Release the Fear, Phoenix; Scottsdale International Film Festival, Scottsdale; Virginia G. Piper Charitable Foundation, Phoenix; Warehouse Arts Management Organization, Tucson; Young Arts Arizona Ltd., Phoenix.

Individual: Marco Albaran, Tempe; James K. Ballinger, Phoenix; Richard A. Bowers, Phoenix; Ted G. Decker, Phoenix; Faith Hibbs-Clark, Phoenix; Kaitlyn Mackay, Glendale;
Constance W. McMillin, Sun City; Nichole Newman-Colter, Litchfield; Hope Ozer, Paradise Valley; Rebecca Taylor, Yuma.

Honorees will be selected by an independent panel of judges.

The eighth annual Shelley Award also will be presented to an Arizona individual who has advanced the arts through strategic and innovative work in creating or supporting public policy beneficial to the arts in Arizona.  The award is named for Shelley Cohn, who spent more than 25 years as executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Ticket prices are $135 for members of Arizona Citizens for the Arts and $150 for nonmembers.  Sponsorships are available.
For information and to make reservations go to www.governorsartsawards.org.

roosevelt row arts district

Nominations announced for Governor's Arts Awards

Sixty-two nominations from 18 Arizona communities were submitted in six categories for the 32nd annual Governor’s Arts Awards for individuals and businesses who have made substantial and outstanding contributions to arts and culture statewide.

Winners will be announced on Wednesday, March 6, at The Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe.  The Governor’s Arts Awards are presented by Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts in partnership with the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Office of the Governor.

Since 1981, 152 artists, individuals, arts and cultural organizations, educators and businesses have received Governor’s Arts Awards

Nominees, by category, and their hometowns are:

Artist: Lee Berger, Phoenix; Charles Bruffy, Phoenix; Daniel Buckely, Tucson; Michael Christie, Phoenix; Bobb Cooper, Phoenix; Barbara Dahlstedt, Glendale;  Maria Isabel Delgado, Chandler; Shawn Franks, Phoenix; Deb Gessner, Mayer; Kristine Kollasch, Phoenix; Bruce Marion, Chandler; Fredric Myers, Apache Junction; Monica Saldana, Goodyear; Mike Vax, Dewey; Jim Waid, Tucson.

Arts in Education – Individual: Annica Benning, Scottsdale; Kathryn Blake, Phoenix; Dennis Bourret, Tucson; Simon Donovan, Tucson; Patti Hannon, Phoenix; Marion Kirk Jones, Phoenix; Sherry Koopot, Paradise Valley; Barbara Nueske Perez, Gilbert; Charles St. Clair, Glendale; Joshua Thye, Phoenix.

Arts In Education – Organization: Arizona Dance Education Organization, Phoenix; Copperstar Repertory Company, Chandler; The Glendale Arts Council, Glendale; Lovena Ohl Foundation, Scottsdale; Marshall Magnet Elementary School, Flagstaff; OpendanceAZ, Phoenix; Phoenix Conservatory of Music, Phoenix; The Phoenix Symphony, Phoenix; Sonoran Glass School, Tucson; UAPresents, Tucson; West Valley Conservatory of Ballet, Surprise.

Business: BMO Harris Bank, Phoenix; LDVinci Art Studio, Chandler; Southwest Ambulance, Mesa.

Community: Alwun House Foundation, Phoenix; Contemporary Forum, Phoenix; Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts, Wickenburg; Flagstaff Cultural Partners, Flagstaff;
James E. Garcia, Phoenix; KXCI Community Radio, Tucson; Mesa Arts Center, Mesa; Release the Fear, Phoenix; Scottsdale International Film Festival, Scottsdale; Virginia G. Piper Charitable Foundation, Phoenix; Warehouse Arts Management Organization, Tucson; Young Arts Arizona Ltd., Phoenix.

Individual: Marco Albaran, Tempe; James K. Ballinger, Phoenix; Richard A. Bowers, Phoenix; Ted G. Decker, Phoenix; Faith Hibbs-Clark, Phoenix; Kaitlyn Mackay, Glendale;
Constance W. McMillin, Sun City; Nichole Newman-Colter, Litchfield; Hope Ozer, Paradise Valley; Rebecca Taylor, Yuma.

Honorees will be selected by an independent panel of judges.

The eighth annual Shelley Award also will be presented to an Arizona individual who has advanced the arts through strategic and innovative work in creating or supporting public policy beneficial to the arts in Arizona.  The award is named for Shelley Cohn, who spent more than 25 years as executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Ticket prices are $135 for members of Arizona Citizens for the Arts and $150 for nonmembers.  Sponsorships are available.
For information and to make reservations go to www.governorsartsawards.org.