Photos courtesy of Scottsdale International Film Festival
In The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest – the final installment of Stieg Larsson’s “Millenium-trilogy” – Lisbeth Salander fights for her life in more ways than one. In intensive care and charged with three murders, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce the very same corrupt government institutions that nearly destroyed her life.

Photos courtesy of Scottsdale International Film Festival
Backyard, by Carlos Carrera, is a fictional account of the atrocities that continue to occur in Ciudad Juárez. The audience follow police officer Blanca Bravo who is sent to Ciudad Juárez from Mexico City to investigate a series of murders of young women. Most of the victims are low-paid laborers who have been drawn to Ciudad Juárez by the possibility of work at American-owned factories. Blanca discovers an incompetent and complicit police force and an indifferent local population, embodied by
entrepreneur, Mickey Santos, played by Jimmy Smits.

Photos courtesy of Scottsdale International Film Festival
In the film Chameleon Gábor, who was orphaned as a child has established no real identity in his adult life. However, he has become a master of fooling women into believing the false identities he has created. His rules are simple, make them feel how they want to feel and he will take everything. Gábor is a textbook sociopath until the latest object of his desire, and the chance at his most lucrative con ever, affect him like never before.

Photos courtesy of Scottsdale International Film Festival

Protektor is a psycho-thriller about a Prague journalist and his part-Jewish wife whose lives are ravaged by the outbreak of World War II. Radio reporter Emil (Marek Daniel) is married to actress Hana (Jana Plodková), a famous film star who is initially oblivious to the Nazi threat. Hana's Jewish heritage precipitates her fall from the height of her career to the bottom of the social ladder. In order to protect her, Emil compromises himself, collaborating with the new Nazi-controlled state radio station. Conditions worsen as restrictions on Jews are systematically increased. The assassination of the Third Reich Deputy Protector, and a chance encounter on a bicycle, bring their malingering marriage to a crisis.

Scottsdale Film Festival brings world’s best to Valley


The Scottsdale International Film Festival is coming up and you should make plans to attend (yes, you!). Don’t feel like you’re the film festival type? How do you know until you give it a chance?

“Just come and see one film. Don’t commit to the entire festival experience,” urges Festival Director and Founder Amy Ettinger.

She explains that she’s used that line year after year, and time after time been told by attendees that they fell in love with the experience, many of them returning with VIP passes the next year. Ettinger’s passion for these films is infectious, as I learned after speaking with her for only 30 minutes this week.

I also learned that Ettinger is a self-described film enthusiast, but does not label herself a critic by any means. While travelling to Paris years ago, she realized that so many wonderful movies are never seen by Arizonans, and it was with that realization that the festival was born. She works year-round to secure the films that she feels strongly about, sometimes going to great lengths to get them here.

One such film is this year’s Time of the Comet from Albania. After viewing the film, Ettinger knew she wanted it for the festival, but was unable to reach the director. She reached out to other festival directors, but it wasn’t until she tracked down an Albanian Facebook fan of the film that she finally reached the director, only to discover that his hotmail account had been shut down. I’m happy to report she was able to get the film, and knowing how hard she worked to get it here, I’ve added it as a must-see for my festival list.

Easily the most recognizable title this year is Sweden’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, the third film based on the best-selling Millennium Trilogy books by Stieg Larsson, which will kick-off the festival on Friday night. All three of the films from Sweden have already been released, and are currently in production to be remade in English, starring current James Bond lead Daniel Craig.

The personal touch that Ettinger puts into her festival should be reason enough for film lovers of all levels to come on out and enjoy the experience this year. “I really handpick the films; it’s like a boutique experience,” she told me. “You’re going to say, ‘I had no idea they could make films this good.’”

The Scottsdale International Film Festival runs from Oct. 1-5 at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts (Virginia G. Piper Theater, 7380 E. Second Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, Friday night only) and continues at Harkins Camelview 5 (7001 E. Highland Ave., Scottsdale, AZ 85251). This is not a family-centric event, and bringing children is discouraged. Single tickets are $10-$25, passes range from $35-$165.

For information visit or call 602-410-1074.