The 23rd annual Sedona International Film Festival begins Saturday and runs through Feb. 26. Featuring more than 160 independent films with celebrity appearances, concerts and special events, it’s a great way to spend nine days in one of the most beautiful areas on the planet. This year’s festival includes an evening with film and TV legend Cloris Leachman (see our interview on page 11) and a performance by Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers.

All four Flag Live critics had a chance to preview a selection of this year’s films; here are our mini-reviews.


Halfway to Zen

Unrated; Directed by John Adams & Toby Poser

Reviewed by Erin Shelley

The fun in film festivals is seeing movies that may never make it to a local theater. Halfway to Zen is one of those low-budget films that may not get any attention, so what a pleasure it is seeing this interesting movie. Made by and starring members of the Adams family, Halfway to Zen (2016) examines one family and its chance to reconnect.

Ex-con Nick (John Adams) lives with his Alzheimer-ridden father, Pop (Robert Lund). Getting by as a cook at a diner, Nick is surprised one day when his ex-wife’s fiancé shows up asking that Nick take care of his daughter Edie (Zelda Adams). Not only is Nick shocked at the opportunity to reconnect with his daughter, he is also surprised that Edie insists she’s a boy and her name is Eddie.

The movie is a nice blend of drama and humor. Watching Nick and Eddie build a relationship along with Vick (Toby Poser), Nick’s ex-wife, keeps things interesting. Zelda Adams is a delight as Eddie, and she really shines in this role. Halfway to Zen is one of those low-key films that make going to a film festival so fun. You get something different, and often better, than all of those big-budget films.