Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sedona in the Snow and Our First Film Festival

(Camp Verde, AZ) On Saturday there was a lot of talk going on around here about a big storm coming in.  Before we went to bed Saturday night, the winds were beginning to pick up so we pulled in the slides to reduce the noise from flapping slide awnings.   We were glad we did since on Sunday morning we awoke to a  liberal frosting of snow.  Yes, Quincyans,  this is the first snow we’ve seen since leaving the Midwest on Jan 2nd.

Here’s a few shots taken from our site at Distant Drums RV Park.



Despite word that some highways were closed, it sounded like everything would be in decent shape for a jeep trip to Sedona.

As we entered Red Rock Country, some of the snow was still lingering.


From what we were told at the visitor’s center this was the most snow they had seen along this highway since 1980.  We were really thrilled to get to be out playing in it!



I guess not many people get the opportunity to see this wondrous landscape under snow cover.



Today, I was getting to fulfill one of my ‘bucket list’ items, attending a film festival.  Since we weren’t really ready to jump in to the full week-long, 145 film event, we instead decided to wait until the last day, and hope for opportunity to land a ticket to the film that won ‘Best Feature Film’.

When we pulled in to Sedona, we located the Sedona Film Festival ticket office but as we’d been told by folks at the visitor’s center, parking was very hard to come by so I jumped out and got in line while Ken did parking duty. 

Apparently this year everyone at the festival was pretty sure which film won and the four showings in the 3pm hour were selling out fast.  However, just as I got to the front of the line they announced the winner and the agent suggested that I might consider the 12:10 showing in about 15 minutes which still had a few seats.


I grabbed the tickets, rushed out to grab Ken and then got him back in to the theater which was filling up fast.  Once we had our seats he headed off to the concession stand since I’d obviously just screwed up his lunchtime. 

The next couple of hours were some of the best we’ve ever spent in a theater.  The movie, The First Grader, is the true story of an 84-year-old Kenyan MauMau veteran and his desperate battle to learn to get an education. 


This is a ‘must see’ film that will be released in May.  You don’t have to take my word for it since in all recent film festivals this film has been a big winner and only lost by a very, very small margin last year at the Toronto film festival to guess what: The King’s Speech.

What is really awesome about going to the film festival is that after the film is shown, someone key to the film, in this case, the producer, Richard Harding, sat in front of the audience, talked about the film and then answered questions for a very long time.  I was really glad to find that these were not technical film questions but instead the audience asked questions such as:

Question: How many of the children were actors? Answer: Only one, the one who wrote his 5’s backwards.

Question: How close to the true story is the film?  Answer: very close.  Some minor items were changed such as the age of the teacher, or what objects the children were throwing at one point in the movie but by and large it is factual.

Question: Have the children seen the movie?  Answer: No but they are going to also be taking a ‘children’s version’ (torture/violence scenes removed) to Kenya for them, and yes, they will include on the DVD scenes from that trip and how the children react.

Question: How did you get the BBC to back a film that show Great Britain in such a bad light?  Answer:  Good question.  They were willing to fund with English tax money and not try to change the portrayal.

Question: Did Maruge see the film? Answer: No sadly, while he had been instrumental in working with the writers, producers, directors, etc., he passed away before the final filming.

I am so very glad that Ken and I had the opportunity to get our first taste of attending a film festival in this way. 

Is The First Grader next year’s big Oscar winner?  Ken and I talked about this on the way home and, sadly agree, probably not.  It  has no big names like James Cameron producing or Colin Firth acting.  While it seems highly deserving it probably won’t fit the mold….but, hey, go see it anyway, you won’t be sorry! And, we REALLY hope we are wrong about the Oscars!

After the movie, we decided to do a little more sightseeing.  We’d been told that there was a great view from the scenic overlook up by the Sedona airport and so that’s where we headed.

Again, it was a great choice.




It was now passed 3pm and we hadn’t eaten lunch. Based on a recommendation from Marilyn and Ed we paid a visit to the Tlaquepaque Village which seems to be a very upscale collection of arts and crafts stores in a really beautiful setting.  We ate there at the Oak Creek Brewery and Grill.   Ken had a very good Baja burger with fries.  It was a bit pricey at $13.95 but we expected that in this local.   I had a pizza with “Crimini mushrooms, fresh spinach, Fontini and Brie cheeses, red onions, roasted garlic and toasted pine nuts with garlic olive oil.”   The pizza turned out to be one of the best combinations of flavors I’ve had in a long time but was much larger than we expected and so half was left for Ken for later.   If we didn’t have a winding 30 mile drive home I would have liked to have done what they call ‘The Seven Dwarfs’ which was 7 5oz. little steins of their award-winning beers.  

The shot below was taken at about the same place where we stopped to take photos on our way to Sedona 6 hours earlier.


It certainly didn’t take that freak snow long to disappear!

It only seemed fitting that we end this special day watching the King’s Speech take home the major Oscars!

Hugs, C


Cyndi said...

Your snow pictures remind me of when we got caught in a snowstorm at Joshua Tree. The rock formations looked so different, and so lovely, under their blanket of snow. You took some great pictures!

Doug & JoAnn said...

Wow! Outstanding photos!!!! You were certainly in the right place at the right time!

Chuck-Kathy said...

Fabulous Pictures, Lucky You!
The snow made it all stand out even more so.

Nancy and Bill said...

AWESOME Photos!!!


What a great piece of luck that was to be in the right place at the right time with the right equipment to capture those great snow shots. Well done:))

Doug C. said...

Isn't Sedona beautiful? Sue and I have been there a couple of times while I was in Phoenix on business. The view from on top where the airport is located is spectacular! We visited there twice, once before 9/11 when there was no fence around it and you could walk right up to the edge and once after when they had put up the fences. We have even thought about retiring there. Did you stop by and see Dale and Sue Genenbacher when you were in the Phoenix area.

Nancy & Joe said...

spoYour snow pictures are so fantastic, what kind of camara were you using?

acwhite said...

Great pictures and incredible timing!