Sedona Film Festival 2009

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Bill insists he’s the last person to be moralistic but admits Idiots and Angels has a level of morality missing from his previous films. “A 70-year-old lady told me it was the best movie she’s ever seen,” says Bill. “That’s never happened before, at least not with that age group. My earlier films were juvenile in terms of sex, violence and humor. I think this new film is a step up in terms of sophistication, plot and character development. Everyone has noticed – they say I’m turning into a sophisticated adult. I’m not sure I’m happy about that….”

Robert Osborne: The Classic Series

Back by popular demand, Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne returns to the Sedona International Film Festival to present three classics, Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly’s 1952  Singing in the Rain, Cecil B. DeMille’s Best Picture Oscar winner The Greatest Show on Earth, and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1946 Notorious, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights at Harkins. Robert will talk about the film’s actors, tell audiences what to watch for in each movie and discuss the significance of each film before the screening. Afterward he will answer questions. Robert has been the primetime host and anchor of Turner Classic Movies since it made its debut in April 1994. He’s also written for The Hollywood Reporter since 1977 and has written numerous books on the Academy Awards. He spoke to Sedona Monthly from his home in New York City about this year’s film festival.

Sedona Monthly: Last year you hosted a screening of Casablanca. Why these three films this year?
Robert Osborne: These are all three wonderful films. These movies are what movie making back in the studio factory days was all about.”

You have your own film festival, Robert Osborne’s Classic Film Festival, in Athens, Georgia. How does it compare to the Sedona International Film Festival?
It’s entirely different. We show eight classic films over four days and bring in people connected to the film or film experts. These are movies we love, movies we’ve all seen on TV, but this is the chance to see them on the big screen. Sharing a movie with 2,500 people is a completely different experience from watching it at home, by yourself or with one or two other people, on a small screen. The Sedona Film Festival is more adventurous – it’s about new films you might not normally see in a theater.

Much of your career has been based around classic films but you do write for The Hollywood Reporter. Does that give you the chance to explore current movies?
I do write about current movies for The Reporter and I’m interested but not that crazy about current films. I’m the official red carpet greeter each year at the Academy Awards so I have to know what the actors are working on.  It just takes so long to get a movie made today – by the time they are released sometimes it’s not what the public wants to see. Remember Pearl Harbor was released months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. We have some wonderful actors today but the product isn’t so good – it’s not as varied.

Have you seen any movies lately you think are destined to become classics?
It’s hard to tell but I really like The Visitor. I thought it was encouraging for the future of film but it’s hard to tell what will wear well five or 15 years down the line.

The Sedona Film Festival really concentrates on independent films. Do you see a future for independent filmmakers in classic movie history?
I do. Independent filmmaking is positive and negative. Now everyone can make a movie and edit it on their computer – you have some great movies and some lousy ones, you just have to weed through all of them. That’s why film festivals are great: They show you the best. Unfortunately, many indies are shocking or slapstick comedy.

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