Logo for the Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival, celebrating 20 years

Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival

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This week’s episode of The Art in the 48 podcast follows Arizona’s film festivals and explores the 2022 Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival.

Arizona’s first leap into the film industry is thanks to three Phoenix photographers, who created the Arizona Motion Picture Company (AMPC). Films from the AMPC were hardly blockbuster hits, but they were in fact the first films to focus and document Arizona as a location.

Arizona’s film identity has been heavily influenced by Wild West scenes, but film festivals delve into countless other lenses of the state. Every film festival is unique, focusing on a particular film producer, topic or theme. Today, there are about a dozen film festivals around the state each year.

One particular hidden gem can be found in Flagstaff. The Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival was founded by a pair of friends who wanted to expand film festivals from the mountains of Canada to those of Flagstaff. This particular festival is as educational as it is entertaining.

“A core element of this festival is its commitment to education through the student program,” said host Craig Bohmler. “The student program started in 2004, serving Flagstaff middle and high school students by introducing them to educational films with an accompanying curriculum.”

The program grew in demand, expanding into a second, Student Film-makers program, providing Flagstaff highschoolers with the education and resources to create their very own films.

These programs continue today, with the goal of entertaining, educating and inspiring.

The festival highlights important social, cultural, political and environmental issues, also following through with action on these issues while emphasizing marginalized voices. The festival is plastic-free for the third year in a row, presenting over 80 documentaries this year. The Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival can be seen at the Flagstaff Orpheum Theatre this spring.

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