Voodoo Macbeth, the story of the groundbreaking 1936 production of Shakespeare’s classic tale with an all-Black cast directed by then-untested 21-year-old director Orson Welles, was named Best of Fest at the 27th Annual Sedona International Film Festival.
Voodoo Macbeth takes place in a Harlem neighborhood battered by economic strife and hardship where director Rose McClendon convinces co-director John Houseman to help her bring Shakespeare’s Macbeth to the Harlem community at the Lafayette Theater using funding from FDR’s New Deal.
Two other Sedona International Film Festival entries, The Forgotten Place and On Our Own Island, earned multiple awards.
On Our Own Island, a feature documentary directed by mother-daughter journalists Ellie Dylan and Sky Dylan-Robbins, earned the Director’s Choice Best Indie Spirit (documentary) Award and Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary in a tie with In A Different Key.
In A Different Key, a narrative feature by journalists and authors John Donvan and Caren Zucker picks up where their book, In A Different Key: The Story of Autism, left off. The film captures the story of a mother who tracks down the first person ever diagnosed with autism, now an elderly man in rural Mississippi, to learn if his life story holds promise for her own autistic son.
The annual 10-day film festival was rescheduled from its usual end-of-February timeline because of the coronavirus pandemic, and this year featured more than 180 films.
The Children Will Lead the Way, a Parkland-shooting inspired documentary short produced by Peter Yarrow of Peter Paul & Mary and directed by Beth and George Gage, received the Marion Herrman Excellence in Filmmaking Award.
Also announced were the winners of the Festival’s first screenwriting competition. Winners are Erin Brown Thomas for her short film The Body of Chris; Russel Knight for his feature film Horizon Calling and Addie Talbott for the TV pilot, Grace in the Clutch.
The Festival also presented Lifetime Achievement Awards to Oscar-winning costume designer Bob Mackie for his body of work; director and actor Luis Valdez; and iconic actor Tom Skerritt. Chuck Marr, who served as chair of the Sedona International Film Festival board of directors, received the Heart of the Festival Award.
The complete list of winners includes:
Directors’ Choice Awards 2021
Best Feature Drama: Gun and a Hotel Bible
Best Feature Comedy: Granny Nanny
Best International Feature: Asia
Best Humanitarian Feature: The Cave
Best Family Film: Sisters: The Summer We Found Our Superpowers
Best Documentary: In Memoriam
Best International Documentary: Sakawa
Best Humanitarian Documentary: Medicine Man: The Stan Brock Story
Best Documentary Short: Unspoken
Best Short Drama: The Mirror
Best Short Comedy: Rock A Bye Baby
Best Short Dramedy: The Forgotten Place
Best Student Short: Etana
Best Humanitarian Short: Under the Lights
Best International Short: Samaritan
Best Animated Short: Beyond the Line
Most Innovative Short: Transfer
Indie Spirit (Short): Red Watch
Indie Spirit (Documentary): On Our Own Island
Indie Spirit (Narrative Feature): Voodoo Macbeth
Year of Covid Award: The Pee Pee Monster
Marion Herrman Excellence in Filmmaking Award: The Children Will Lead the Way
Most Impactful Film: One Moment
Lifetime Achievement: Bob Mackie
Lifetime Achievement: Tom Skerritt
Lifetime Achievement: Luis Valdez
Heart of the Festival: Chuck Marr
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARDS 2021
BEST OF FEST: Voodoo Macbeth
Best Feature Drama: The Subject
Best Feature Comedy: Queen Bees
Best International Film: So, What’s Freedom?
Best Documentary: TIE: In a Different Key and On Our Own Island
Best Short Documentary: TIE: The Roads Most Traveled: Photojournalist Don Bartletti
and Death: Through a Nurse’s Eyes
Best Short Drama: The Forgotten Place
Best Short Comedy: Exit Package
Best Student Short: Thoughts and Prayers
Best Animated Short: Bench
Most Impactful Film (Narrative): They Who Surround Us
Most Impactful Film (Documentary): The Healthcare Cure
SCREENPLAY COMPETITION WINNERS:
Short Film: “The Body of Chris” by Erin Brown Thomas
Feature Film: “Horizon Calling” by Russel Knight
TV Pilot: “Grace in the Clutch” by Addie Talbott
For more information about the Sedona International Film Festival, visit www.sedonafilmfestival.com