Arizona ArtBeat: Scottsdale Arts Collaboration

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The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and the Scottsdale International Film Festival are joining forces to share resources and offer expanded film programs. The alliance will officially start in January, and will provide operational and promotional support to grow the annual festival and expand year-round film programming at the center. Scottsdale International Film Festival Founder and Executive Director Amy Ettinger will join the staff of the Center as a film curator, and will talk about the collaboration.

Ted Simons: Tonight's edition of "Arizona artbeat" looks at an arts collaboration in Scottsdale. The Scottsdale center for the performing arts and the Scottsdale international film festival are teaming up to share resources and offer expanded film programs. Scottsdale international film festival founder and executive director Amy Ettinger is here to talk about the new collaboration. Welcome to "Arizona Horizon."

Amy Ettinger: Thank you.

Ted Simons: This must be pretty exciting. Talk to us about this.

Amy Ettinger: It's thrilling. I'm ecstatic about it. I think the Scottsdale center for the arts -- I have been working and nurturing the Scottsdale film festival for 14 years. Infrastructure and getting it tweaked to the point where I felt like we had this well-oiled machine is culminated, and I thought, you know, now is the time to approach the center for the arts and cultural council and ask them if they would like to partner. We had worked together informally on a project here and there over the years, and they were very receptive to the idea.

Ted Simons: How does that partnership help you?

Amy Ettinger: Well, I've been working sort of with a team of 130 volunteers over the years, and that's good, but volunteers are, you know -- have a resource base, people who are tasked to do things, PR, fundraising, run a box office. There will be people, not just myself and volunteers now, but people who are actually paid to do those things and they do them well.

Ted Simons: And this will give you an opportunity to grow the festival, in what ways?

Amy Ettinger: Scottsdale deserves to have a very high-profile film festival, and this is to a degree within the marketplace -- I would like to see it expand beyond the realm of the city proper. Film makers outside of the market, international and global areas know the name Scottsdale. I would like to get more star power here. I would like to see more people from outside of the market come as a destination event. It started out as a little local homegrown thing for people to do in their back yard, but I think the city and festival deserve to grow.

Ted Simons: Festival starts October 9th this year.

Amy Ettinger: Correct.

Ted Simons: Five-day festival.

Amy Ettinger: Yes.

Ted Simons: Partnership started next year?

Amy Ettinger: The partnership starts January 1st. We are holding our opening night at the center for the arts, Thursday, October 9th. All day the 9th. And then the opening night film is also there. That's one whole day of programming at the center for the arts and then --

Ted Simons: When it comes to -- you curate the festivals, what makes an international film that you think fits in Scottsdale?

Amy Ettinger: That's an excellent question. It is not so much about whether or not it fits in Scottsdale, it's looking for a balance, and always has been between ethnicities, religions, genres. I want somebody to sit there and say I would like to travel to that place. It took me a long time to break outside of the bounds of a smaller film -- I finally started to bookend the festival with Hollywood studio releases to bring in new audiences because it was a way to lure them there to see the smaller films.

Ted Simons: Yeah.

Amy Ettinger: That's what I'm always looking for. With a five-day festival and 50, 55 films, and 70 screenings, you can't do everything but I certainly try.

Ted Simons: Are there films you look at and you go -- they're just going to love this one and it bombs. And there are films, I guess we will put it on there and it explodes. Can you gauge audiences that well --

Amy Ettinger: No, I think I've at least the audience that comes to this festival, I think I have them pegged pretty well and I usually know what is going to do very well and I usually try not to put in anything that I think is going to bomb. There is always a film that underperforms, but I know that I put it in there mostly because if five, 10 people see it, it will be rewarding to me that somebody will have seen something new and kind of eye opening. But for the most part, what I'm trying to do is to keep the people coming back. So, I think to serve up a lot of films that are accessible to different core groups of people. Blocks programming, for instance.

Ted Simons: Basically, it is not -- and you don't want to run the same kind of film over and over and over again.

Amy Ettinger: No, not at all.

Ted Simons: Harkins theater still working with them?

Amy Ettinger: Yes

Ted Simons: And that will continue after the collaboration?

Amy Ettinger: Yes, it will, they can't do it without the harkens theater because they only have one screen over at the center for performing arts right now and we hope to change that. I hope to do a film series that will ask throughout the course of the year at the center for the arts, too. That is part of the plan.

Ted Simons: For a year-round event, changes for you and the festival, what happens, more programming? More festivals, what is going to happen?

Amy Ettinger: I have been doing a discovery film series for them the last several seasons. That's sort of like a seedling for what I would like to see happen, which would be to have a series of films that run all year long that are maybe retrospective. Maybe -- CSI, that is what they call themselves at ASU, center for science and imagination, working on something that has to do with Frankenstein. Frankenstein 100-year celebration is coming up. That is the sort of thing I think people can look forward to is us tapping into the popular culture -- for an ongoing period of time plus center for the arts celebrates its 40th anniversary next year. We should do something around that. And it will be our 15th --

Ted Simons: Congratulations on this. Good luck. We look forward to seeing the Scottsdale film festival expanding.

Amy Ettinger: Thank you.

Ted Simons: Very good, thank you.

Ted Simons: Thursday on "Arizona Horizon," a debate on proposition 304, which calls for state lawmakers to receive a pay raise. And we'll visit with a couple of local chefs to discuss Arizona restaurant week. That's Thursday evening at 5:30 and 11:00, after the "Roosevelts," on "Arizona Horizon." That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us.

Amy Ettinger:Founder and Executive Director, Scottsdale International Film Festival;

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