Cinema Under the Stars Premiers “Meek’s Cutoff” July 19
Sedona, AZ (July 7, 2011) – The Sedona International Film Festival is proud to present “Cinema Under the Stars” at Tequa featuring the exclusive Northern Arizona premiere of the award-winning indie drama “Meek’s Cutoff” on Tuesday, July 19. There will be one screening of the film outdoors at the Tequa Marketplace courtyard in the Village of Oak Creek.
A live concert performance by The Rifftors’ Fabulous Fifties Revue will kick off the evening at 7 p.m. Come early, bring lawn chairs and blankets … and enjoy the sounds of these renowned performers! The film will follow the concert at dark.
“This promises to be an extraordinary night of music, film and fun as we celebrate summer with the third of our five planned ‘cinema under the stars’ events,” said festival director Patrick Schweiss. “Where else can you experience incredible music along with an award-winning film under the beautiful Sedona night skies?”
“Meek’s Cutoff” features a stellar ensemble cast led by Academy Award-nominee Michelle Williams and including Bruce Greenwood, Will Patton, Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano, Shirley Henderson, Neal Huff, Tommy Nelson and Rod Rondeaux. The film premiered to rave audience and critical reviews at the Venice, Toronto and Sundance Film Festivals as well as acclaimed theatrical runs in major cities.
Award-winning director Kelly Reichardt (River of Grass, Ode, Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy) brings the true story of “Meek’s Cutoff” to life on the big screen.
The year is 1845, the earliest days of the Oregon Trail, and a wagon team of three families has hired the mountain man Stephen Meek to guide them over the Cascade Mountains. Claiming to know a short cut, Meek leads the group on an unmarked path across the high plain desert, only to become lost in the dry rock and sage.
Over the coming days, the emigrants must face the scourges of hunger, thirst and their own lack of faith in each other’s instincts for survival. When a Native American wanderer crosses their path, the emigrants are torn between their trust in a guide who has proven himself unreliable and a man who has always been seen as the natural enemy.
“Meek’s Cutoff” continues Reichardt’s penchant for foregrounding those too often ignored by society, history, and Hollywood — in this case, the women in the story.
“The story is told from the vantage point of those without the power, from the people who don’t get a say in the decisions that are being made,” says Reichardt.
In researching the film, Reichardt read diaries of women who made the migration west. The women’s stories offer such a specific take on the history — one totally different from the one portrayed in the traditional Hollywood Western.
Numerous reverberations of recent American politics can be felt, in a characteristically subtle way, in “Meek’s Cutoff”. The clash of cultures in the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan is felt in the friction between the emigrants, Meek and the Indian. The arguments over the necessity of violence to obtain information from a prisoner, the lingering doubts over an elected leader, and the basic question of whether to “stay the course” are topics in the film that have also been prevalent in the national conversation of the past decade.
Critics are raving that this is the best work of Michelle Williams’ distinguished career and are applauding Reichardt for yet another strong, poignant and timely film — the best of her career as well.
Food and beverages will be available for purchase from the Tequa Marketplace restaurants. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and beach towels.
The title sponsor for the event is Tequa Marketplace. The series is also made possible by a grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Sedona and the Sedona Community Foundation.
“Meek’s Cutoff” will be shown outdoors at Tequa Marketplace in “Cinema Under the Stars” on Tuesday, July 19, with a pre-film concert beginning at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $12, ($6 for full time students) or $9 for Film Sedona members, and will be available starting at Tequa beginning at 6 p.m. that evening. Cash or checks only. Film Sedona members can purchase tickets in advance at the Sedona International Film Festival office, 2030 W. State Route 89A, Suite 3A in West Sedona, or by calling 282-1177. For more information, visit: www.SedonaFilmFestival.com.