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English comedy ‘Tamara Drewe’ premieres in Sedona on Jan. 11

“Tamara Drewe” — a new British comedy directed by Academy Award-nominee Stephen Frears — makes its Northern Arizona premiere in Sedona on Tuesday, Jan. 11. This one-night special engagement is presented by the Sedona International Film Festival.  There will be two screenings of the film at 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. at Harkins Sedona Six Theatres.

“Tamara Drewe”  has been an audience favorite and critical hit at the Cannes, Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals. Based on Posy Simmonds’ beloved graphic novel of the same name (which was itself inspired by Thomas Hardy’s classic Far From the Madding Crowd), “Tamara Drewe” is a wittily modern take on the romantic English pastoral. Tamara Drewe’s present-day English countryside — stocked with pompous writers, rich weekenders, bourgeois bohemians, a rock star, and a great many chickens and cows — is a much funnier place.

Stonefield and Winnards are neighboring farms in the lush, lovely West country of England. The quaint village of Ewedown has become the weekend getaway for wealthy Londoners and aspiring writers seeking quiet and inspiration. Famous novelist Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam) presides with his wife Beth (Tamsin Greig) over the Stonefield Farm writers’ retreat, where the visiting writers are treated to Beth’s fabulous cooking and Nicholas’s self-regarding pomposities. Nicholas churns out best-sellers and indulges in extramarital dalliances.

The neighboring farm, Winnards, was the birthplace and ancestral home of Andy Cobb (Luke Evans), a handsome son of the soil who works for Beth as a gardener and handyman. When Andy was a boy, his hard-up family sold Winnards to the wealthy Drewe family from London as a country home, and now he lives in a cottage at Stonefield. As a local, Andy resents the newcomers playing landed gentry, but he and Beth are fond of each other and work hard together to keep Stonefield going.

When Tamara Drewe (Gemma Arterton) sashays back to the bucolic village of her youth, life for the locals is thrown upside down. Tamara — once an ugly duckling — has been transformed into a devastating beauty.

The new Tamara is a knockout, and a minor celebrity for her column in a London paper. Andy thinks back fondly to his teenage affairs with schoolgirl Tamara, but now that she is a gorgeous journalist, he considers her way out of his league — and probably too snooty and citified for his tastes anyhow. It’s not just Andy who falls under Tamara’s spell, though; she has a knack for besotting anyone with her big brown eyes, flirtatious smile, and perfect looks. The only man around who seems to studiously ignore and snub Tamara is Nicholas — who watches her with binoculars when nobody’s looking.

As infatuations, jealousies, love affairs and career ambitions collide among the inhabitants of the neighboring farmsteads, Tamara sets a contemporary comedy of manners into play using the oldest magic in the book: sex appeal.

Producer Alison Owen recalls, “I saw the opportunity with ‘Tamara Drewe’ to do an interesting independent film that had great characters, drama, comedy – but intelligent comedy – and also some social comment running through it as well.”

Tamara Drewe, the character, has undeniable appeal – but what appealed to director Stephen Frears about “Tamara Drewe” the film script and graphic novel? “The script makes me laugh, it’s very, very funny, and very sexy and a very contemporary, modern film.

Frears is one of the UK’s most critically-acclaimed directors who has worked with some of the world’s best talent both in front of and behind the cameras. Most recently he worked with Michele Pfeiffer in “Chéri”, based on the French novel by Colette, and Helen Mirren for his award winning film “The Queen”.He also is a favorite with Sedona Film Festival audiences for directing Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins in “Mrs. Henderson Presents”. He received Academy Award nominations for Best Director for both “The Grifters” and “The Queen”.

The title sponsor for the event is Futures for Children. The series is 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.

“Tamara Drewe” will be shown at Harkins Sedona Six Theatres on Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $12, or $9 for Film Festival members, and will be available starting at 3:00 p.m. that day in the Harkins lobby. Cash or checks only. Film Sedona members can purchase tickets in advance at the Sedona International Film Festival office, 1785 W. Hwy. 89A, Suite 2B, or by calling 282-1177. For more information, visit: www.SedonaFilmFestival.com.

Award-winning thriller ‘Winter’s Bone’ premieres in Sedona Oct. 19

Winter's Bone poster
“Winter’s Bone” features Ashlee Thompson as Ashlee, Jennifer Lawrence as Ree Dolly and Isaiah Stone as Sonny. Ree struggles to keep her siblings together as she hacks through the lies, evasions and threats offered up by her relatives and begins to piece together the truth about their missing father.

The Sedona International Film Festival presents the exclusive Northern Arizona premiere of the award-winning thriller “Winter’s Bone” on Tuesday, Oct. 19.  There will be two screenings of the film at 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. at Harkins Sedona Six Theatres and is part of the festival’s Tuesday “Best of Fest” Cinema Series.

Winner of more than 20 international awards in prestigious film festivals around the world, “Winter’s Bone” has been garnered the attention of critics and audiences around the world and quickly has catapulted to the best-reviewed, highest rated film of the season. USA Today raves “Four Stars! A riveting thriller” and says that Jennifer Lawrence, the film’s star, deserves an Oscar nomination. Entertainment Weekly calls the film “Grade A! One of the most true-blooded epics of Americana you’re ever likely to see.” The Wall Street Journal touts the film as “Spectacular! A classic.”

Seventeen-year-old Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) sets out to track down her father, who put their house up for his bail bond and then disappeared. If she fails, Ree and her family will be turned out into the Ozark woods. She knows her father is involved in the local drug trade, but anywhere she goes the message is the same: stay out of it and stop poking your nose in other people’s business. She refuses to listen.

Ree pushes on, putting her own life in danger, for the sake of her family until the truth, or enough of it, is revealed. Challenging her outlaw kin’s code of silence and risking her life, Ree hacks through the lies, evasions and threats offered up by her relatives and begins to piece together the truth.

Based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell, “Winter’s Bone” is directed by Debra Granik and adapted for the screen by Granik and Anne Rosellini. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Kevin Breznahan, Dale Dickey, Garret Dillahunt, Sheryl Lee and Tate Taylor.

“I read ‘Winter’s Bone’ in one sitting. I had not done that with any book in a long time. I wanted to see how this girl, Ree, was going to survive,” said director Debra Granik. “It felt like an old fashioned type of tale, with a character I couldn’t help but root for, and with an atmosphere my mind was actively trying to conjure.”

“Ree is focused on her commitment to see her brother and sister through their childhoods. She is willing to fight to keep her family from falling apart. I see her as a lioness trying to protect her pride. She is also a teenager who experiences helpless feelings when adults around her make deadly choices, and are drawn down into a way of life that destroys them,” added Granik.

“Like many a movie hero, Ree must struggle. We don’t get to see much of her teenage side.  Throughout the story she is single-minded in what she needs to do. The search for her father is all-consuming. In this heightened context, we see that Ree does not take “no” for an answer. In matters of justice, I love characters who don’t take no. I want to know how they get that resolve. We may not know what fuels Ree, but we want to witness a girl who shows this much strength of character.”

“ ‘Winter’s Bone’ is what we’ve been waiting for: a haunting film  that grabs hold and won’t let go,” raves the New Yorker. “Suspenseful, surprising and subtle with as memorable and vivid a heroine as you are likely to see,” says The New York Times.

The Associated Press calls “Winter’s Bone” a masterpiece, and New York Magazine calls the film “Incredibly powerful! The year’s most stirring film.” The film is rated R and has a runtime of 100 minutes.

The title sponsor for this event is Art for Sedona’s Sake. The series is 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.

“Winter’s Bone” will be shown at Harkins Sedona Six Theatres on Tuesday, Oct. 19 at 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $12, or $9 for Film Festival members, and will be available starting at 3:00 p.m. that day in the Harkins lobby. Cash or checks only. Film Sedona members can purchase tickets in advance at the Sedona International Film Festival office, 1785 W. Hwy. 89A, Suite 2B, or by calling 928.282.1177. For more information, visit: www.SedonaFilmFestival.com.