Arizona Daily Wildcat Online
Front Page
· Basketball
· Columnists
Live Culture
Police Beat
Photo Spreads
Special Sections
The Wildcat
Letter to the Editor
Wildcat staff
Job Openings
Advertising Info
Student Media
Arizona Student Media info
UATV - student TV
KAMP - student radio
The Desert Yearbook
Daily Wildcat staff alumni

Film festival makes Tucson a cinema paradise

photo courtesy of Tucson international film festival
The Arizona International Film Festival will show off lots of indie films today until April 25. Among those featured is "Parental Instinct".
By Lauren Hillery
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, April 15, 2004
Print this

Not as foreign as the Cannes, not as full of snow-jacketed Hollywood starlets as the Sundance, the Arizona International Film Festival still brings the best and the latest in independent filmmaking to Tucson.

For 12 years, the Arizona International Film Festival has been considered a unique opportunity for Arizona and, more recently, Tucson citizens to experience film in a different way. Most of the directors and people involved would agree there is no match for the festival's impact on the Tucson film audience.

"It is a fabulous opportunity to see a huge range of independent films from all over the world. It is a treasure for Tucson," said Beverly Seckinger, a film director and associate professor of media arts.

Seckinger's personal documentary "Laramie Inside Out," is a look at the murder of Matthew Shepard and Seckinger's hometown of Laramie, Wyo.

The festival will feature 131 works will be presented, with 22 world premieres and 76 Arizona premieres, respresenting a total of 21 countries.

Beginning in 1990, the film festival wowed audiences with surrealistic animation in "The Brothers Quay." Since then, the festival has expanded its locations to cities such as Tucson, Tempe and Sedona, and to various schools. It has also venture into Chicano films and reissued films from the archives.

The festival is not only a great opportunity for exposure in the community; it also provides an unrivaled chance for first-time student filmmakers to premiere their work.

"For some, it's a first public screening of their films. It helps further their goals as filmmakers. It's a good jumping-off point for newcomers," said Yuri Makino, director and associate media arts professor.

She also stressed how integral these premieres are for young filmmakers, because it lends exposure to other film festivals that may now pick up UA students' films.

photo courtesy of Tucson international film festival
The Arizona International Film Festival includes Hank Azaria's "Nobody's Perfect."

Makino, who won the Best of Arizona film award last year, will show her experimental personal documentary "Tokyo Equinox" Monday at 10 p.m. at the Screening Room. Her piece explores the personal tensions of traveling to Japan to see her father after a 15-year separation.

The journey to Japan, intermixed with familial connections and emotions, challenges the audience to uncover the symbolism due to its experimental and non-narrative nature.

"The audience has to bring their own ideas and meanings to the piece. We (the audience) know there's a story, but it's not explicit. The audience has to do the work itself," Makino said.

Demonstrating the range of topics the festival covers is visiting media arts professor and director Nicole Koschmann's experimental, non-narrative film "Burkha Dreams."

The film, although vaguely feminist, explores the difficulties of a filmmaker through the symbol of the Afghan burkha.

"The burkha serves not only as a symbol of oppression, nor as a religious item of clothing, but instead as a metaphor for the difficulty I have felt as a media maker trying to portray the images I want," Koschmann said.

The festival does not only showcase UA filmmakers. It also exhibits an ardent belief in the importance of emphasizing cultural diversity. With that in mind, the film festival introduced "Bridging Cultures," a segment that focuses on exposing a variety of cultures through film and traveling speakers.

While the debate still rages on about how boring Tucson really is, the film festival is an exception to the monotony.

"It's great because it allows people to see films they would not otherwise be able to see. It provides an alternative to other entertainment in Tucson," said Sarah Calvert, molecular and cellular biology senor and festival publicist.

The festival runs today until April 25, at various downtown theaters. For more information, go online to

Write a Letter to the Editor
Film festival makes Tucson a cinema paradise
'Opera' is best of shows
'Spoon' singer goes solo
Repent, UA; the end is exhibited near
Nintendo cover band got game
No Fourth Avenue? No Worries This Crawl
'Horrors' horribly funny
2 sides to the same 'Bill'
You won't remember 'The Alamo'
Music Reviews
Tucson and Campus Calendar
Housing Guide
University of Arizona Visitor's Guide
Restaurant and Bar guide
Search for:
advanced search Archives

Webmaster -
© Copyright 2003 - The Arizona Daily Wildcat - Arizona Student Media