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Art & Dissidence in Cuba

The Sedona International Film Festival is proud to present a sneak preview audience test screening of “Activismo: Art & Dissidence in Cuba” Nov. 24-25 at the Alice Gill-Sheldon Theatre.

Filmmakers Carole Elchert and Philip Sugden will both be in Sedona to host the screenings and conduct Q&A discussions after both shows.

This special event will also include a screening of the short documentary “Anastasia” with special guests Anastasia Shevchenko, the subject of the film, and Pavel Khodorkovsky, whose father, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, produced the film, in attendance. Anastasia and Pavel, as well as Bruce Misamore of Sedona — the former CFO and Deputy Chairman of Russia’s largest oil company — will lead a Q&A after both shows.

“Activismo: Art & Dissidence in Cuba” explores how Cuban artists use “Art as Activism” to transform and improve the human condition.

With a passion for human rights and a commitment to art as it functions to transform societies, co-directors Philip Sugden and Carole Elchert initiated this project with five prominent Cuban activist artists.

The project began in 2015 with a trip to Havana, Cuba. They interviewed prominent Cuban artists to reveal how Cuban artists specifically engage through public performances that promote social-political change through risk-taking art activism and dissent.

With more than four decades of national exhibits and public presentations, both are inspired by the Cuban artists who struggled during Castro’s rule. Still, today, the artists work under repressive policies to secure their freedom of expression, the lifeblood of all artistic pursuits.

“Activismo” has received Best Film of the Year at the New York Hudson International Filmfest; Best Feature Documentary at the London International Art Film Festival; two nominations for Best Documentary Short in Berlin and Austin; and Official Selection nominations in eight Film Festivals.

“Anastasia” — which was shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short — tells the story of the “Open Russia” activist Anastasia Shevchenko, the first activist to be prosecuted under Russia’s 2015 law against “undesirable organizations,” a single mother of three, who was arrested and detained under house arrest for two years for speaking out against Kremlin. During her imprisonment, she had to deal with something no parent should have to face, her daughter Alina dying alone. “Why my daughter? Why children? This is “Putin’s irrational cruelty” Shevchenko said during her interview with CNN anchor Isa Soares. As Anastasia travels across Russia by train, she comes to grips with her loss and realizes that the only way she can continue fighting for freedom is to leave her homeland forever.

Pavel Khodorkovsky, the son of Mikhail Khodorkovsky who joined the Sedona International Film Festival in 2019 for a memorable screening of “Nemtsov”, is a prominent promoter of democracy for Russia in his own right. He is the founder of the Khodorkovsky Foundation US, and the Executive Director of Sunrise, which is distributing medical supplies, food and hygiene items in Ukraine. Pavel was also a founder of Enertiv, an energy management company, and served as President of the Institute of Modern Russia, an organization promoting civil society in Russia.

“Activismo: Art & Dissidence in Cuba” and “Anastasia” will be shown at the Alice Gill-Sheldon Theatre Nov. 24 and 25. Showtimes will be Friday, Nov. 24 at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 25 at 3:30 p.m.

Tickets are $12, or $9 for Film Festival members. For tickets and more information, please call 928-282-1177. Both the theatre and film festival office are located at 2030 W. Hwy. 89A, in West Sedona.



Alice Gill-Sheldon Theatre
2030 W. S.R. 89A
Sedona, AZ 86336 United States
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(928) 282-1177