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4/16/2012 8:05:00 AM
ZGI draws film fans with VIP reception
Photo by Katie LoveLinda Goldenstein, Goldenstein Gallery, and Patrick Schweiss, Sedona International Film Festival, encourage attendees of the VIP Reception at the Zaki Gordon Institute for Independent Filmmaking to “get the word out.”
Photo by Katie Love

Linda Goldenstein, Goldenstein Gallery, and Patrick Schweiss, Sedona International Film Festival, encourage attendees of the VIP Reception at the Zaki Gordon Institute for Independent Filmmaking to “get the word out.”

On Sunday, April 1, a VIP Reception was held at the Zaki Gordon Institute for Independent Filmmaking (ZGI). The reception was designed to open up the film school to the community, reconnect and focus on growth.

"It was amazing to see the diversity of people who are interested in the vitality of ZGI. Just about every organization and genre was represented at the event," said Linda Goldenstein, owner of Goldenstein Gallery and ZGI Advisory Board member.

Bill Lacy, former CEO, and Linda Goldenstein, chose to host the event at ZGI to allow attendees to tour the school and see all the great equipment available to potential film students. Lacy commented that the school's training would have potential uses outside of filmmaking, "It is a great opportunity for young people to acquire a skill that can be used in a multitude of ways, including corporate settings."

ZGI staff, Advisory Board members and volunteers welcomed the VIP guests. Singer/songwriter Adam Smith entertained the guests as they mingled and enjoyed the delicious spread from Tastebuds Culinary Studio. A short presentation and two films followed tours of the school.

"We don't want to be the best kept secret in Arizona, anymore," said Rue, ZGI program director. Rue encouraged the audience to support the school by spreading the word. In fact, ZGI Advisory Board member Patrick Schweiss, executive director of the Sedona International Film Festival, declared that all in attendance were official ambassadors for the film program.

Schweiss added, "Film schools are where creativity and freedom of expression are born! To have a film school as prestigious as ZGI in our own city is really a coup for the filmmaking community and Sedona itself. Students get hands-on training from the moment they arrive on campus - and then they are on the fast track to learning guided by people who are in the field DOING it, not just teaching it, but DOING it! No where can you get an experience or an education like that in a short, affordable and award-winning program like the one here at Zaki Gordon."

As Sedona looks toward the future, and continues to grow as an art and culture destination, ZGI intends to be an integral part of that vision. Goldenstein emphasized, "Film is an ever growing and important part of Sedona for entertainment, quality of life and economics. ZGI is an essential element of growing film in Sedona."

Many alumni attended, including Karen and Abby Kwiatkowski, who are working on the feature film The Stopwatch Gang with Peter and Lora Carlson. "Thanks to Linda Goldenstein, Rue, Jeremy Hawkes, Bryan Reinhart, Patrick Schweiss, and Sagan Lewis for a great VIP event at Zaki Gordon-Institute Sunday afternoon. It made me proud to be an alumna!" said Karin.

Rue is looking forward to working with the community to find even more opportunities to expand the offerings at ZGI. "Mentorship by industry professionals is a key component in our curriculum. I look forward to increased support from the film community as our school continues to grow."

As a result of a new partnership, Northern Arizona University (NAU) is now offering a minor in Independent Filmmaking, through coursework at ZGI. Conversely, students whom attend ZGI directly will now be able to transfer their credits seamlessly into a bachelors program at NAU.

ZGI is located in the Yavapai College Sedona Center for Arts and Technology, 4215 Arts Village Drive, Sedona, Arizona. Call Rue at (928) 649-4257 for more information on Monday's class. The film school is now accepting applications for Fall 2012. To learn more about Sedona's film school, please visit

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