A dark comedy film produced here in Arizona is set to debut next month during the 2019 Phoenix Film Festival.  

“Raising Buchanan,” a full-length feature film written and directed by Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner and Tempe Resident Bruce Dellis, will run from Friday, April 12 through Sunday, April 14 at the Harkins Scottsdale 101 Theatres located at 7000 E Mayo Blvd., Scottsdale.  

Filmed in and around Phoenix and Prescott in 2017, the film tells the comedic tale of a woman named Ruth who steals the corpse of much-maligned President James Buchanan with the hope of scoring a large payday, only to find that no one out there has much interest in getting him back.  

“Raising Buchanan” stars Emmy-nominated and Tony Award-winning actor René Auberjonois as President James Buchanan. Auberjonois is best known for playing Clayton Endicott III on the popular TV show “Benson,” as well as roles on “Star Trek: Deep Space 9” and in the film “The Patriot.” 

Auberjonois said that the screenplay was attractive to him because it is “beautifully written,” and he’s looking forward to bringing the deceased president back to life. 

“The script is outrageously funny and courageously insightful in its way,” he said. “The role is one of the most challenging I have had in a long career, but I’m psyched to sink my teeth into it.”  

The protagonist, Ruth Kiesling, is played by local actress Amanda Melby Crisalli, who boasts an extensive background in independent film. The cast includes a combination of national and local acting talent, including Cathy Shim, M. Emmet Walsh, Terence Bernie Hines, Steve Briscoe and Jennifer Pfalzgraff.

The film came to fruition with the help of a 100-percent local production crew, which included Producers Joe Gruberman and Amanda Melby Crisalli, Director of Photography Bret Kalmbach, Production Manager Shelly Boucher, Production Designer Vicki Xericos, Costume Designer Nola Yergen and dozens of other crew members. Twenty-eight interns from surrounding colleges and universities participated in the production as well. 

Carrying on the tradition of other dark, quirky comedies in the vein of “Election” and “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Raising Buchanan” employs an immensely talented cast while showcasing a wide range of Arizona destinations, businesses and private homes. 

Those looking to be among the first to enjoy “Raising Buchanan” may do so when the Phoenix Film Festival takes over the Valley starting Thursday, April 4, with the first showing of the film slated for April 12. For more on the festival MovieMaker magazine dubbed, “The Most Filmmaker-Friendly Festival Out There,” or to purchase tickets to “Raising Buchanan,” visit PhoenixFilmFestival.com. For the full story on the film, check out RaisingBuchanan.com