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‘We Have a Pope’ and ‘This Is Not a Film’ open at Mary D. Fisher Theatre

The award-winning Italian film “We Have a Pope” and the critically-acclaimed phenomenon “This Is Not a Film” premiere at the Sedona International Film Festival’s Mary D. Fisher Theatre Tuesday, May 29 through Friday, June 1. These screenings mark the Northern Arizona premieres of both films.




In “We Have a Pope”, award-winning Italian director Nanni Moretti joins forces with the great French actor Michel Piccoli to tell the comedic and touching story of Melville, a cardinal who suddenly finds himself elected as the next Pope.  Never the front runner and completely caught off guard, he panics as he’s presented to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square.


To prevent a world-wide crisis, the Vatican’s spokesman calls in an unlikely psychiatrist — who is neither religious nor all that committed — to find out what is wrong with the new Pope. As the world nervously waits outside, inside the therapist tries to find a solution. But Cardinal Melville is adamant: he does not want the job, or at least needs time to think it over.


What follows is a marvelous insight into the concept of a human being existing behind the title of God’s representative on Earth.  “We Have a Pope” is the latest film by Moretti to make wonderful use of humor while dealing with serious issues and continue to showcase his deep humanism.


The Hollywood Reporter raves that “We Have a Pope” is “tender, funny and timely — full of inventive moments that show Moretti is one of the most creative filmmakers working in Italy.”





“This Is Not a Film” is the best reviewed film of the year, garnering the highest ratings from every critic around the globe! It received the prestigious “100% Fresh” rating on rottentomatoes.com — the film industry site that rates films from both the critic and audience perspectives. The film is making headlines around the world and is a must for any independent film lover.


Acclaimed and renowned Iranian director, Jafar Panahi, received a 6-year prison sentence and a 20-year ban from filmmaking and conducting interviews with foreign press due to his open support of the opposition party in Iran’s 2009 election.  “This Is Not a Film” — shot partially on an iPhone and smuggled into France in a cake for a last-minute submission to Cannes — depicts the day-to-day life of Panahi during his house arrest in his Tehran apartment.


While appealing his sentence – six years in prison and a 20 year ban from filmmaking – Panahi is seen talking to his family and lawyer on the phone, discussing his plight with Mirtahmasb and reflecting on the meaning of the art of filmmaking.


Since his detention in 2009, Panahi’s cause has won international support from the film community. World-renowned directors (including Joel and Ethan Coen, Francis Ford Coppola, Ang Lee, Michael Moore, Robert Redford, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Oliver Stone, among many others) signed a letter of support calling for his release. In December, Sean Penn, Martin Scorsese, and distributor Harvey Weinstein, among others, signed an Amnesty International petition for him as well.


The New York Times gives “This Is Not A Film” its highest rating, saying “Jafar Panahi turns a highly personal video diary into a charged and expansive historical narrative” and calls the film “a masterpiece in a form that does not yet exist.”

Both films will be shown at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre May 29-June 1. Showtimes for “We Have a Pope” will be 4 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday; and 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. “This Is Not a Film” will show at 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday; and 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.

Tickets are $12, or $9 for Film Festival members. For tickets and more information, please call 928-282-1177. Both the theatre and film festival office are located at 2030 W. Hwy. 89A, in West Sedona. For more information, visit: www.SedonaFilmFestival.com.