This central Arizona fest, now in its 14th year, has a roster of 130 films and includes appearances by Helen Hunt, who makes her directorial debut with "Then She Found Me"; actor Diane Ladd; director Roger Donaldson and his film "The Bank Job"; and Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne introducing classic films. Among changes for this year's fest is a series of small, free workshops in the Festival Pavilion, giving the public a chance to interact with filmmakers.
When, where: Thursday to March 2, mostly at Harkins Sedona 6 Luxury Cinema, 2081 W. Highway 89A, and the auditorium of Sedona Red Rock High School, 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road.
Cost: From $10 for a single-film ticket to $500 for a pass to all films, activities and parties, plus priority seating.
Info: (928) 282-1177 or click here for the website.
SXSW Film Conference and Festival
This is just a slice of the big SXSW (South by Southwest) Week 2008 that includes a Music and Media Conference and an Interactive Festival. The film portion, which started in 1994, this year will premiere 150 to 200 films -- including a short directed by Josh Brolin called "X," (he'll be at the March 8 screening). And hey, where else can you go to a conference panel on "Race, Politics, and Drugs: a Harold & Kumar Panel" with all sorts of "Harold & Kumar" luminaries (including "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" co-writer Jon Hurwitz)? There's also a Four-Day Film School, part of the panel programs.
When, where: March 7 to 15. Film screenings are held at seven Austin-area theaters and the Austin Convention Center. The conference and trade show take place at the convention center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St.
Cost: $10 per screening at the door; $70 for Film Fest week pass and $400 for a Film Badge that gets you in to all film conference and festival events.
Info: (512) 467-7979 or click here for the website.
Mountainfilm in Telluride
No this isn't that Telluride film festival held every September, it's a May 30 annual fest that features films about global hot spots, little-known international cultures and unheard of locations. This year's festival will honor the late Sir Edmund Hillary, who at age 33 with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers to conquer Everest in 1953. He died in January. Mountaineer and high-altitude filmmaker David Breashears will moderate the event, which includes rarely seen film clips of the New Zealand climber. Other highlights of the 2008 festival: "Drilling Down: Water and the Southwest," about water issues in the Southwest; "Hot Spots Around the World, A Foreign Policy Roundtable" looks at what's happening in places such as Pakistan, Myanmar and others; "Contemporary Slavery" on modern slavery.
When, where: May 23-26. Venues are in the town of Telluride, Colo.
Cost: Passes run $50 (for students), $120 (for a six-pack) and on up to $1,000.
Info:Click here for details.
Banff Mountain Festivals
This is the grandaddy of mountain festivals guaranteed to preview inspiring mountain stories. It's scheduled this year for Nov. 1-9. Films shown at Banff include a great mix of gorgeous landscapes, extreme sports, unusual travels -- all of which contribute to a superb fix for outdoor adventure junkies. The best part: A scaled-down version becomes the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, which comes to little venues in Southern California. The Banff Mountain Festivals also include a Book Festival and a roundup of "Mountain Idols," to recognize those who exemplify active lifestyles. And really, there's plenty to see here year-round; check out the calendar of events at the website.
When, where: The Banff Center, 107 Tunnel Mountain Drive, Banff, Alberta, Canada T1L 1H5
Cost: Varies by event.
Info: Call (403) 762-6180 or (800) 565-9989 toll free or click on the website.