As mid February approaches, construction crews are working furiously to complete the Mary D. Fisher Theatre. Funded primarily by philanthropist and activist Mary Fisher, the plush theatre will feature state of the art audio and visual technology, enhancing the film viewing experience.
The executive director of the Sedona International Film Festival, Patrick Schweiss, is brimming with enthusiasm. “Mary is an extraordinary and generous woman who makes so much good happen in the world (through her philanthropy) and in Sedona (through her commitment to arts, culture and projects like these). Her generosity will touch the lives and the fabric of Sedona residents now and for many years to come.”
Fisher is a beloved Sedona resident who catapulted into the public eye after sharing her AIDS experience at the 1992 Democratic National Convention and again at the 1996 Republican National Convention. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to be a part of this new theater. As a member of the Sedona International Film Festival family, I have personally seen the difference independent film can make in so many lives,” said Fisher.
“I think it’s going to send us through the roof, quite frankly,” said Schweiss, explaining how the theatre will increase cultural offerings beyond the annual festival. “We will be able to have films at least four or five nights a week and host special cultural events and increase our visibility all year long.” Schweiss says some possibilities they are considering include National Theatre broadcasts via satellite from London, symphony music and simulcasts of major ballet companies from around the world.
“Our hopes for the future are that people will see this as the place to premiere their films and bring their special events – that we can help meet Sedona’s growing cultural needs,” added Schweiss. Community members are very supportive of the arts including Chamber Music Sedona, Canyon Music Theatre, The Flagstaff Symphony, the Verde Valley Sinfonietta, and others, he added. “We are very lucky to live in a community that loves culture,” said Schweiss, who is preparing for his eighth season with the Sedona Film Festival.
The first film in the new venue is scheduled for the second day of the upcoming festival, Feb. 19.
The 135-seat theatre is adjacent to the Sedona Film Festival offices at 2030 W. State Route 89A, near the Coffee Pot Restaurant.
As many as 10,000 people are expected to attend showings of this year’s lineup featuring 145 films. FBN
For schedule information go online: http://www.sedonafilmfestival.com/.