The Economic Impact Reports Are Here!

The Sedona International Film Festival contributed nearly $4 million to the local economy in 2017, according to a report prepared by the Northern Arizona University W.A. Franke College of Business, Alliance Bank Business Outreach Center.

The survey was sent to 758 individuals who purchased tickets for the 2017 Festival and generated a robust 65 percent response.

The survey showed that 3,589 visitors stayed overnight in Sedona with total overnight expenditures, including lodging, restaurant and bars, transportation (including gas), general retail shopping and other expenses, of $2.7 million for a total economic impact of $3.7 million.

Of the estimated 10,000 patrons attending the 10-day Festival, more than 41 percent were from outside Sedona, “spending new money in Sedona,” according to the report.  More than 90 percent of the non-locals indicated that the Festival was “a somewhat important reason” (23.4 percent) or “the most important reason” (69.3 percent) for being in Sedona.

Locals responding to the survey indicated in their responses that “they would not have spent as much if they were not attending the Sedona International Film Festival,” according to the report.

Direct expenditures accounted for $299,000 in direct state and local taxes and $316,000 in federal taxes.  Nearly 70 percent of respondents also participated in shopping and visiting galleries, 56 percent went hiking, biking or spent time in the outdoors and almost 22 percent took advantage of alternative medicine and healing activities.

“The Sedona International Film Festival generates not only significant revenue to the city but unmeasureable goodwill for the community,” said Sedona International Film Festival Creative and Development Director Pat Schweiss.  “So many patrons have told us that the experience at the Festival is incredibly positive.”

The Festival board, in an effort to offset increasing costs and reduce debt incurred because income and revenue – both earned and contributed – haven’t been enough to cover expenses, has launched a $250,000 matching challenge grant campaign.  Underwritten by several generous donors, every new or renewed membership as well as any additional financial contributions over and above membership fees will be matched up to $250,000.  The matching-challenge campaign and membership drive will run through June 30.

Sedona Film Festival Board Chair Beverly Hurff explained that the campaign was initiated because of the “struggle to keep up with annual operating expenses and control our debt, particularly since expanding the festival to ten days and adding the concerts.  We are engaged in a process to rethink our business model, redesign our operating structure and consider every option and opportunity available to us. That may include changes to the Festival itself. The process will involve feedback from our members and is ongoing, fluid and very aggressive.”

Membership levels for the Mary D. Fisher Theatre and Sedona International Film Festival are:

  • Single membership: $75
  • Family membership: $150
  • Cinematographer: $300
  • Screenwriter: $625
  • Producer: $1,400

To make a donation and to renew or start a membership, visit

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