Tag Archives: Film Festivals

Get “Reel”

Perhaps "Reel Mind" is an idea whose time has come here in Arizona

Mental illness impacts the lives of at least one in four adults and one in 10 children, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They’ve done the math, noting that 60 million Americans are affected. Yet mental illness gets a lot less attention than other health issues.

Depression is to autism what pancreatic cancer is to breast cancer in terms of media coverage. They’re all devastating, but society focuses too often on a few conditions to the exclusion of others. It’s a painful reality for families whose loved ones live with the equivalent of medical minorities. So I’m always eager to spread the word about lesser tackled topics.

There’s an affiliate of Mental Health America in Rochester, New York that’s working with other organizations to raise awareness of diverse mental health issues next week through something called “Reel Mind.” It’s a “theatre and film series about mental illness,” now in its fourth season. Originally a film festival, this year’s “Reel Mind” has been expanded to include an art exhibit and theater performance.

Series selections are designed to “address the social stigma of mental illness and offer the message that recovery is possible.” Each is followed by a discussion with experts in the mental health field. Series co-director Ruth Cowing says their Q & A sessions are well attended. “With this, almost everyone stays in their seat.”

“A lot of people come with their own stories or struggles of family members and hope to find information,” says Cowing. This year’s offerings cover schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and autism. The “Reel Mind” film series takes place May 8 through June 26. Perhaps those in Arizona who can’t attend will consider creating something similar for families in the Southwest.

“The Reel Mind” series opens with a documentary titled “Crazy Art,” which “tells the story of three talented artists with schizophrenia as they search for identity, acceptance and recovery.” The “study in hope” also tackles a bit of art history, considering how artists like Van Gogh created brilliant works while in the throws of psychiatric symptoms. The screening will be accompanied by an art show called “Metamorphosis” curated by the Creative Wellness Center.

A “Reel Mind” fundraiser taking place May 18 includes a Blackfriars Theatre production of “Grey Gardens,” a musical that considers the lives of two well-connected socialites who become East Hampton’s most notorious recluses. “Grey Gardens” features book by Doug Wright, music by Scott Frankel and lyrics by Michael Korie. I remember listening to the music many years ago after my daughter Lizabeth checked the CD out from our local library.

“Reel Mind” presents “Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter,” an Oscar-nominated documentary about “the various stages of a mother’s Alzheimer’s disease and the evolution of a daughter’s response to the illness,” on May 22. The film’s been described as “a life-affirming exploration of family relations, aging, change, the meaning of memory and love.”

A film titled “The Boy Inside: A Journey Into Autism” will be screened June 12 as part of this year’s “Reel Mind.” Filmmaker Marianne Kaplan followed a year in the life of her 12-year-old son Adam, who has a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome — capturing his desperate attempts to fit in amidst “bullies, insensitive classmates and parents with at-times frayed nerves.”

This year’s “Reel Mind” series concludes with a screening of “Search for Sanity” plus a preview of “Echo of the Past.” The first is a 1954 TV special filmed inside the Hudson River State Hospital, while the latter is a work in progress focusing on the former Rochester State Hospital. Together they reflect “shifting attitudes towards mental illness” during the “mass deinstitutionalization of the first half of the 20th century.”

Too few community supports were in place at the time, leading to large numbers of people with mental illness facing homelessness, unemployment, criminalization and other outcomes we should no longer tolerate. When series like “Reel Mind” help us increase and improve supports for people living with all types of brain disorders, they do us all a great service. Every brain is important, and every person matters.

– Lynn

Note: Explore the works and words of Vincent Van Gogh at the “Van Gogh Alive” exhibit through June 17 at the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix

Coming up: Sinews, saguaro and starlight

Human rights film festival

See "Miss Landmine" April 20 at 4pm at ASU

Our daughter Jennifer is an able scout for local arts and culture — often alerting me to films, museum exhibits and other good stuff at Arizona State University in Tempe.

Recently she brought home a pair of flyers, one bright purple with a film strip running across it. Three strands of barbed wire run along the strip, one tied with a small red bow resembling a delicate butterfly.

The flyer details offerings in the second annual “Human Rights Film Festival” taking place April 20-22 in Armstrong Hall, located at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law on ASU’s Tempe campus.

The festival is free and open to the public, and each of the nine films being shown will be followed by a discussion. Friday’s lineup includes “Miss Landmine,” “Education Under Fire,” and “Granito.”

Saturday selections include “The Truth That Wasn’t There,” “The Invisibles,” and “Stop Kony.” Also “The Dark Side of Chocolate” — which ASU professor Daniel Schugurensky suggests may be of greatest interest to our readers, given its focus on child labor and trafficking.

Two films are being shown on Earth Day — “Flow: For Love of Water” and “Overcoming Eco-Apartheid: Community Action for Environmental Justice in South Phoenix.”

It’s fitting that this year’s festival coincides with Earth Day because we forget too often that there’s a whole lot of Earth beyond the little patches some of us are lucky enough to call our own.

See "The Dark Side of Chocolate" at 4pm on April 21 at ASU

The Human Rights Film Festival is co-sponsored by Human Rights at ASU, the School of Social Transformation, the Graduate Professional Student Association at ASU and Amnesty International Tempe.

Folks who hit the festival Friday before the first film rolls at 4pm can get an early taste of issues related to how people in different cultures tackle tough choices. I owe this tidbit to the second flyer Jennifer shared, featuring news of the ASU Museum of Anthropology’s “Choosing the Good” exhibit.

The exhibit provides the opportunity to “discover how people in your community and from around the world resolve the same dilemmas in choosing the good.” Admission to the ASU Museum of Anthropology, open Mon-Fri 11am-3pm, is always free — so no tough choice there.

The ASU Museum of Anthropology is housed inside the School of Human Evolution & Social Change building — three buildings south of the intersection of University Dr. and College Ave.

Even those of you without a Jennifer can get your hands on news of ASU offerings in arts and culture — just click here to explore the ASU events calendar.

– Lynn

Coming up: Remembering the Holocaust, Art meets United Nations

I’d rather be…

It's "Plan B" time as a bout of bronchitis has me reading "Blue Like Jazz" and watching the "Olivier Awards" online during a weekend I'd hoped to spend at Valley theaters

I did something last week that surely shocked the folks who know me really well. After learning the second leg of my Southwest flight between Newark and Phoenix was delayed, I ended up spending another night in NYC. Too frugal to pop for another night at a hotel, the wheels started turning. What to do with an extra night in NYC?

Too tired for Springsteen? That should have been my first clue.

I remembered that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were performing at Madison Square Gardens, and daughter Lizabeth quickly jumped online to discover that StubHub tickets were posted for prices lower than your average hotel room.

Then things got really weird — becaused I just didn’t have the oomph to get up and go. I love me some Bruce and the band, and was especially eager to see young musicians in his new brass section rock the house, but figured hiking all those arena stairs might be the death of me. (There are worse ways to go, but “gone” is one place I’d rather not be.)

Lizabeth suggested other options more suitable for a mom still recovering from recent knee surgery, including mother-daughter craft time at Make Meaning – but decided to save that adventure for her summer back home since the NYC-based company also has a Scottsdale Quarter location — which buys us more time to choose between glass, soap, jewelry, paper, candles, ceramics and other creative options.

Folks in Arizona can enjoy the Tribeca Film Festival online

We ended up taking the subway to Tribeca — where this year’s Tribeca Film Festival (which has an online component for folks like me who can’t get to the NYC event) opens in just a few days. We enjoyed a splendid stoll, stopping at some her favorite NYC haunts — including Strand Book Store, where I wistfully admired the black and white photo of Springsteen she’d spotted weeks before on a postcard rack near the entrance.

Also dinner at a diner with festive orange and yellow walls that’s called “S’MAC” because the only dish they serve is macaroni and cheese. Think oodles of noodles delivered skillet-style in endless gourmet variations. When I texted James to tell him where we’d landed, he shot back a brief “How hipster of you” reply. I quickly responded in praise of sporting a vocab that includes “hipster.”

Let's hope someone tells the Mother's Day fairy about this baby

I wasn’t hip enough, apparently, because I’d forgotten that it was my last chance to see Simon Callow perform Jonathan Bate’s “Being Shakepeare” at the Brooklyn Music Academy — which prides itself on being America’s oldest performing arts center (think 1861). Silly, really, considering that my last trip to NYC opened with a glorious exploration of Keith Haring works exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum.

After dropping Lizabeth off at her dorm after dinner, I played “musical Starbucks” until the last of them located near Pace University shut out the lights. I was ready to move on after enduring far too many boisterous barista solos. I hailed a cab for the Newark airport, where I snagged the lone electrical outlet at a Dunkin’ Donuts and curbed the urge to indulge as the smell of freshly baked glazed goodies wafted through the air. It beat sleeping on the floor.

I landed at Sky Harbor Airport just as James was hopping a flight to NYC for his turn at Liz time, but realized later that day that pulling the all-nighter was a serious mistake. I was pooped, and in the early stages of the bronchitis that now finds me bedbound during a weekend I’d hoped to enjoy nearly back-to-back shows from a long list of options.

Think Childsplay’s “Tomas the the Library Lady,” Theater Works’ “All Through the Night” and/or “Sakura no Ne” (a collaboration with the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix), Cookie Company’s “Charlotte’s Web,” Valley Youth Theatre’s “Freckleface Strawberry,” Rising Arts’ “Sleeping Beauty,” and Desert Stages Theatre’s “Altar Boyz” and/or “How to Succeed in Business Without Even Trying.” They’re all places I’d rather be at this point — but nobody wants to sit by the constant cougher, it’s never nice to share such things.

I'm rooting for RSC and Roald Dahl while watching the Olivier Awards online

Instead, I’ve developed a bit of a plan B. Watching streaming video of Britain’s Olivier Awards, especially eager to see how the Royal Shakespeare Company’s “Matilda the Musical” (based on the book by Roald Dahl) fares. Cuddling up with Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz” and Paul Torday’s “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” (hoping I’ll bounce back enough this week to catch them on the big screen). And reading online guides for upcoming productions like “Red” (Arizona Theater Company) and “Much Ado About Nothing” (Southwest Shakespeare Company).

Those of you with more bounce in your step can find plenty of ways to enjoy the rest of your weekend by exploring the Raising Arizona Kids calendar in print or online. If you experience an especially nifty concert, art exhibit, dance performance or show — feel free to comment below to let our readers know.

– Lynn

Coming up: Art meets Earth Day, Musings on Mental Health Month

Note: Remember too that you can explore a comprehensive list of summer camps on the Raising Arizona Kids magazine website — click here to find this and other resources for readers. (Final shameless plug — Subsciptions to Raising Arizona Kids magazine make easy, practical and affordable Mother’s Day gifts.)

Get out, get art!

After hitting just a single night of this year’s “Phoenix Film Festival,” I’m giving serious thought to running away from home. Not forever. Just through next Thursday when the festival comes to a close. With so many amazing offerings, it seems silly to drive back and forth from theater to laundry room and such.

All sorts of things caught my eye on this weekend’s festival schedule — including a free “Kids’ Day” for families presented by IFP Phoenix from 9am-2pm on Sat, March 31 (where you can also see three family films for just $5 each — including “Chimpanzee” from Disney at 1:05pm).

Also high school shorts, college shorts, animated shorts, a silent auction, a preview of Phoenix Comicon 2012 and plenty of live performance art by folks from Scorpius Dance Theatre to Carol Pacey & the Honey Shakers. Even workshops on topics like “Casting Indies” and “Life as an Indie Actor.”

A film titled “Kerry and Angie” that’s part of a Saturday morning “Arizona Showcase” is directed by Amanda Melby, head coach and owner at Verve Studios in Scottsdale — one of many performing arts groups to participate in this year’s RAK Camp Fair. Folks who attend the Actors Theatre production of “Body Awareness” at the Herberger Theater Center will get to see Melby in action.

Those seeking more family-friendly fare have another great option in the “Children’s Day & Kite Festival” taking place Sat, March 31 from 10am-3pm at the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix – which features martial arts, games, food, face painting and other activities. Families are invited to wear kimonos and bring a kite along (or make kites during the festival). Best they not offer kimono-making. I would only embarrass myself.

Fans of Rodgers & Hammerstein can enjoy a double dose of musical theater this weekend as Greasepaint Youtheatre performs “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” and The Phoenix Symphony performs “An Evening with Rodgers & Hammerstein” (don’t let the name “fool” you — Sunday’s show is actually a matinee). The latter is a collaboration with Phoenix Theatre featuring direction by Michael Barnard and a collection of vocalists that bears a startling resemblance to my list of favorite people.

Your last chance to see the Scottsdale Community College production of “The Miracle Worker” by William Gibson is Sat, March 31 at 2pm and 7:30pm — and I happen to know first hand that at least one of the show’s young actors is cuter than the dickens. If acting is hereditary, she’s also rocking her role.

– Lynn

Note: Family-friendly activities are always available in print and online calendars from Raising Arizona Kids magazine.

Coming up: Two of the most imporant hours of my life

Need a film fix?

Fans of films that are a bit off the beaten path have plenty of options in coming months. Here’s a roundup for those of you needing a frequent film fix:

The Film Bar in Phoenix. Offerings include indie films, including the first screenings of “A Boy in China” Jan. 13 and 14. The film follows a boy from Phoenix who pursues Kung Fu training in China (Andre Magnum, plus his parents and coach, will attend both screenings). www.thefilmbarphx.com.

The Film Festival at Paradise Valley Community College. Offerings, focused this year on women in film, include “Catching Babies” (Feb. 2), “Caramel” (Feb. 8), “Water” (Feb. 22) and “Maria Full of Grace” (March 7). “Catching Babies” is a film about midwifery. Free. www.pvc.maricopa.edu.

The Loft Cinema in Tucson. Offerings include new indie works, mainstream and cult classics, film festival shorts, award-nominated shorts and more. Also National Theatre Live broadcasts — including “The Collaborators” (Jan. 15), “Travelling Light” (Feb. 26), “The Comedy of Errors” (March 25) and “She Stoops to Conquer” (April 15). www.loftcinema.com.

Mesa Contemporary Arts (part of the Mesa Art Center). Offerings include “Community Cinema” screenings (“Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock” by Sharon La Cruise Jan. 19). Free. www.mesaartscenter.com.

Phoenix Art Museum. Offerings include individual films, National Theatre Live broadcasts (including those noted in the Loft Cinema list above) and the Masterpiece Film Challenge (a six-week challenge in which 15 filmmaking teams create 5-7 minute films inspired by art from the museum). Also the Ab/Ex Film Series (“The New York School” Feb. 12) and filmed museum tours (“Leonardo Live” exhibit at the National Gallery of London Feb. 19). www.phxart.org.

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Offerings include the “Talk Cinema” series (Jan. 10, Feb. 7, March 20, April 17, May 8) and the “Discovery Film Series” (“This Way of Life” Jan. 22). “Talk Cinema” titles are announced on the center’s website just days before screenings (this month’s film is “Declaration of War,” about a couple whose baby is diagnosed with a brain tumor). www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org.

The Anti-Defamation League and Scottdale Community College. Offerings include “The Many Faces of Hate” film series at SCC (including Jay Rosenstein’s “In Whose Honor” Jan. 18). Free. www.scottsdalecc.edu.

Harkins Theatres. Offerings include various film festivals and broadcasts of  “Opera & Ballet in Cinema Series” performances — including “Le Corsaire” (March 11), “La Boheme” (March 13), “Romeo and Juliet” (March 22), “Rigoletto” (April 17), “The Bright Stream” (April 29), “La Fille Mal Gardee” (May 16) and “Raymonda” (June 24). www.harkinstheatres.com.

Many museums, performing arts centers and universities offer film screenings, so check with your local venues for additional options.

– Lynn

Note: If your venue or organization offers film fare with an arts and culture twist, please comment below to let our readers know.

Coming up: Theater meets classic literature

Get reel!

The Tucson Jewish Community Center presents the 2012 Tucson International Jewish Film Festival Jan. 12-21 at the JCC Auditorium in Tucson. Their “Fabulous Faygeleh LGBT Film Series,” featuring three films, takes place Jan. 22. The festival’s opening film, “The Round Up” (“La Rafle”) is being screened at Tucson’s Loft Cinema.

The Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival presents “Get Reel with Director Bryan Singer” Jan. 14 at the Chandler Center for the Arts – which benefits the Holocaust and Tolerance Museum and Education Center currently being developed by the East Valley Jewish Community Center.

The “Desperado LGBT Film Festival” takes place Jan. 27-29 at the Paradise Valley Community College Center for the Performing Arts.  A couple of short films and panel discussions are free. Proceeds from ticketed screenings and events support LGBTQA scholarships.

The 2012 Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival takes place Feb.12-26 at three Harkins Theatres in the Valley — Scottsdale Camelview, Chandler Crossroads and Peoria Arrowhead. It features 11 films, for diverse audiences, that “offer a wealth of Jewish life, culture, humor and drama.”

The Sedona International Film Festival takes place Feb. 18-26, and will feature more than 145 films. Peter Bogdanovich, the son of immigrants who fled Nazi Germany, will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award during a special ceremony at the Sedona Performing Arts Center — followed by a screening of his “Last Picture Show” and a Q & A session featuring both Bogdanovich and Glenn Scarpelli.

The Prescott Film Festival takes place July 18-22. It’ll feature work by Arizona filmmakers in celebration of the state’s centennial, plus films from the U.S. and abroad. Details about free workshops and ticketed events will be released as festival dates draw near.

Watch for film screenings at local museums (including the Phoenix Art Museum), performing arts venues (including the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts), public libraries and other arts & culture destinations. And don’t forget to film your own kiddos now and then — family film festivals are the most fun by far!

– Lynn

Coming up: A guest blogger shares his “Wicked” ways

Red fur meets red rocks

Kevin Clash and Elmo are appearing at the 2012 Sedona International Film Festival

The cheerful, chatty Sesame Street character named Elmo returns to Arizona in February for the Sedona International Film Festival. Prepare the paparazzi. He’s bringing Sesame Street puppeteer and producer Kevin Clash along, because the two appear together in a documentary being screened at the festival. It’s called “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.”

Clash reminded me, when we spoke earlier this week, that he’s joined Elmo in journeying to Arizona once before — to film a one-hour video titled “Elmo’s World: Wild Wild West!” Clash also performs “Hoot the Owl” and “Baby Natasha” for Sesame Street, but Elmo seems to get more press as the television show’s most popular puppet.

Clash is the proud parent of a college-age daughter, but admits in “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey” that she was well into her teens before he realized how much time he spent working with other children when his own daughter dearly needed more daddy time.

I chatted with Clash during the tail end of a typically busy day, shortly after he’d wrapped an interview with NPR’s Terry Gross for a segment of “Fresh Air” broadcast just yesterday. You can click here to listen to the interview, which features Clash both in and out of Elmo mode.

Turns out Clash has a few of his own puppet favorites. A furry blue fellow named Grover — first performed by one of Clash’s puppetry idols named Frank Oz. And Kermit the Frog, the smoother, greener fellow who reminds Clash of another friend and mentor, the late Jim Henson.

He’s keen on puppetry outside of Sesame Street too. In recent years, puppets have been featured in two Broadway shows. First a musical titled “Avenue Q,” which Clash describes as “really exciting.” Then a play called “War Horse,” which Clash calls “amazing.” He saw the play only recently, and says it was a “very emotional” experience. “It shows what puppets can do.”

Clash says he’s “curious about the next step” puppetry will take, though I suspect he’ll be pioneering much of what transpires. He’s thrilled that the Muppets’ popularity is once again soaring — thanks in part to “The Muppets” movie still playing at plenty of theaters. And he reveals that discussions about making a Sesame Street movie are underway. “We’re at the beginning stages of talks,” says Clash.

I’d hoped that Clash might reveal a little something folks don’t really know about Elmo. But there’s no mystery to Elmo, according to Clash. “What you see is what you get.” Elmo loves life — and hugs and kisses. It’s that simple, which is much of Elmo’s charm. Still, Clash says he “continues to tweak Elmo” — finding new ways to show Elmo’s “sense of humor” and “edginess.” Hence those snappy catchphrases like “Yeah, baby, yeah!”

To teens pursuing their passion for the performing arts, Clash offers some no-nonsense advice. “Start,” he says, “just do it.” For youth who share his passion for puppetry, Clash offers another suggestion. “Send me a DVD,” he says, “we’re always looking for new puppeteers.” Just find the address for the Sesame Street workshop and run with it.

– Lynn

Note: Stay tuned to the Sedona International Film Festival website for details about when Clash and Elmo will be joining the festivities, and information on the 145 + films being screened during the Feb. 18-26, 2012 event.

Coming up: Love & letting go, Puppets who call Arizona home

2012 Film festival fare

For true movie buffs, just one movie never enough. But 145 movies just might be. That’s the number of selections being featured at the 2012 Sedona International Film Festival, which takes place Feb. 18-26. Think full-length features, shorts and documentaries. Also animated, foreign and student films.

I’m told that Kevin Clash, the puppeteer featured in the documentary “Being Elmo” (which is narrated by Whoopi Goldberg) will be making an appearance at the 18th annual festival. “Being Elmo” won the special jury prize for documentary at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

The Sedona International Film Festival is partnering with Arizona Musicfest to present a jazz concert featuring the Brubeck Brothers, and the screening of a new film about Marian McPartland, at the Sedona High School Performing Arts Center.

Advance-sale passes for the 18th annual Sedona International Film Festival are now available through www.sedonafilmfestival.com. Full-time students can purchase a 10 ticket package for just $80 by calling the festival box office at (928) 282-1177.

The 2012 Arizona International Film Festival takes place April 13-29 in Tucson and other southern Arizona communities. They’re currently seeking works by filmmakers age 18 and under to be featured in their “Indie Youth” program.

Submissions are welcome in several categories — dramatic, comedy, documentary, experimental and animation short. Information about opportunities for youth and adult filmmakers is available at www.filmfestivalarizona.com.

The 2012 Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival, featuring works that honor Jewish tradition and heritage, takes place Feb. 12-26 at three Harkins Theatres in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

The festival includes numerous Arizona and “area” premieres, and several guest speaker presentations. I’m especially pleased to see “The People v. Leo Frank” and “Hidden Children” in the festival line-up.

If you’re eager to sample a bit of independent film fare before 2012 festivals open, check out FilmBar in Phoenix (which has a nifty “Arizona Storytellers Project” event taking place Mon, Dec. 5 to benefit Republic Charities), The Loft Cinema in Tucson (which is doing a fun Eames chair giveaway on Thurs, Dec. 8) and Reel Arts 6 in Tucson (which is just wrapping up this year’s “Native Eyes Film Showcase“).

Or head to Harkins Camelview 5 in Scottsdale, Harkins Valley Art in Tempe, or the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts — which is featuring an especially controversial mature content movie for this month’s “Talk Cinema” selection.

– Lynn

Coming up: More film festival news, Family fun in Prescott

From Tevye to Tintin

My daughter Lizabeth discovered, after heading to Times Square in New York to see the movie “Paranormal Activity 3” the night it opened, that there were no more tickets to be had.

It’s just as well from a mother’s perspective since there are plenty of other good films these days that won’t scare the bejeebers out of you — including the Julianne Hough dancefest called “Footloose,” a remake of the 1984 film that many of today’s parents enjoyed during their teens.

Also “Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness” — an intriguing documentary with special appeal for folks interested in the lives of writers, immigration history, modern Jewish identity or a work of musical theater called “Fiddler on the Roof.” 

Seems Aleihem is the writer behind the character we all know as “Tevye,” a man with several daughters who faced countless challenges to his fervent love of tradition.

Fans of Sesame Street should take note — next month’s Loft Film Fest in Tucson includes a screening of the film “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey” — which offers a behind-the-scenes look at Sesame Street, the Jim Henson Workshop, and the work of puppeteer and father Kevin Clash.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part I” also opens next month, though it’ll be a bit easier to find — coming to not one Arizona theater but to nearly all of them. Fans of the “Twilight” series have long had the date Nov. 18 circled, in red, on their calendars.

Legendary storyteller and filmmaker Steven Spielberg, once a student at Arcadia High School in Phoenix, has two films being released this fall — the “The Adventures of Tintin” (coming Dec. 21) and “War Horse” (coming Dec. 25). Both promise to be visual feasts that bring some of the world’s best storytelling to life.

As we all gear up for the holiday season we allow so often to become all too hectic, we should remember the power of movies to deliver us from everyday worries, to create cherished memories with family and friends, and to inspire both dreams and wonder.

– Lynn

Note: Always consult movie websites to check film ratings and age recommendations before talking children to the movies.

Coming up: Spielberg tales

Film finds

!Women Art Revolution is one of several current offerings at FilmBar in Phoenix

You can find much more than film fare at plenty of movie theaters these days. Even Shakespeare in Cinema works that seem to transport you straight to the Globe Theatre in London.

And film offerings seem to be finding their way to lots of places other than traditional cinemas. Think bookstores, museums, performing arts venues and more. Even stores like Hoodlums Music and Movies and Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, which presents “In Transition” during their next community movie night, scheduled for Fri, Aug 26.

When you have a hankering for films or movie venues that are just a bit out of the ordinary, consider making an afternoon or evening of it with one of these Valley options…

Finding film at a joint called FilmBar Phoenix is hardly a shocker, but their offerings are certainly out of the ordinary. In August alone featured works deal with martial arts, the culture of war, feminist art and changes wrought on nature by increasing industrialization.

The 2011-12 Talk Cinema series at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts opens in October. You can enjoy the surprise of not knowing what to expect or check the center’s website the day before each screening to explore the month’s offering. Each “Talk Cinema” screening is introduced and followed by “moderated conversations hosted by distinguished guest speakers.”

Performing arts venues like Tempe Center for the Arts and Mesa Arts Center sometimes present special movie screenings, so film buffs should watch the calendars of these venues to see what pops up throughout the season.

Several community colleges offer film series or festivals with diverse themes. Scottsdale Community College has partnered for many years with the Anti-Defamation League to present a film series with an anti-hate theme.

Paradise Valley Community College is focusing on “women in film” this season. The first film of the season is “Amelie” — a French film they’ll present on Wed, Sept 7. Other fall films in the series hail from Spain, China and the U.S. Offerings next year include films from Germany, Lebanon, India and Columbia.

Several Valley museums, including the Heard Museum in Phoenix and the Phoenix Art Museum, present intriguing film works — including some it’s hard to find anywhere else.

Several films being shown this month and next at the Phoenix Art Museum are Spanish-language films with English subtitles — including works about circus life, women matadors, immigration and more. My favorite is a one-hour film called “Biblioburro” about a one-of-a-kind library and librarian in a violence-ridden region of Colombia.

Cultural Centers like the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center in downtown Phoenix sometimes offer screenings of independent works, as do other cultural resources like libraries.

The Arizona Humanities Council website offers event listings by region so its always easy to find film and other offerings in your area. Film screenings and discussions of “Johnny Guitar” take place later this month in Florence and Glendale — and they’ve got several “Borderlands” films listed for the coming months.

Films don’t need to include talking animals or non-stop explosions to be fun. You’ll even learn to love them without salty popcorn or sugary drinks. Leave the kids behind once and a while to expore a world where films foster adult conversations on fascinating topics other than organic baby food and homework wars.

– Lynn

Coming up: Film festivals in the Valley — and beyond, Lynn & Liz review “Glee: The 3D Concert Movie”