Dead Man image

Johnny Depp as William Blake and Gary Farmer as Nobody in "Dead Man," the 1995 film by Jim Jarmusch. Farmer will open AMFM: Flagstaff Aug. 27. Courtesy photo.

When expansive minds involved in art, film and music collaborate and share their insight the world can invariably change, says Emmy-nominated screenwriter Rich Henrich.

Always a storyteller, the Santa Fe University of Art and Design professor’s talents and drive catalyzed Film 4 Change, his organization dedicated to bridging the gap between business and creativity. The Art, Music, Film and More (AMFM) Festival is the direct fruit of this labor.

In Flagstaff for the first time, the festival — packed with workshops, film screenings and art exhibitions — will spread across multiple venues. Cline Library, the Orpheum Theater, Heritage Square, Firecreek Coffee Co. and festival hub, the Green Room — to name a few — will host events for all ages, career artists and the creatively curious.

AMFM: Flagstaff takes place Aug. 27 through 30. Weekend passes are $19.95 and provide access to all events. Individual event passes will be available at the door of each venue and online at www.amfmfest.com/flagstaff beginning Aug. 27 if space allows.

Twenty years have passed since Gary Farmer as Nobody and Johnny Depp as William Blake wrapped in northern Arizona. And Farmer will be on-hand to lend insight and introduce AMFM to Flagstaff.

Later, Farmer and the Troublemakers will tear up Flagstaff Brewing Co. More music from locals and the legendary Cedric Burnside Project continues through the weekend, what Henrich calls a “particle collider for the arts.”

Before film, Henrich worked in politics but became frustrated with the lack of bipartisan communication. He employed this unique idea and ties to the industry to stage the Albuquerque Film Festival in 2009. He noted one filmmaker once explained if it weren’t for that festival and the workshops and connections made, he wouldn’t be working in film.

“I think that’s pretty powerful. Every year I don’t know what’s going to happen, so every year I want to bring resources together,” Henrich said.

AMFM: Palm Springs from 2012-14 was the second stop. When it came selecting another city, he noted Austin and Denver were in the mix, too. But Austin’s “too easy,” he said, and Denver, while a quick riser in the Southwest, just missed a certain mark.

“I felt like Flagstaff is this special place that lies between all of that, where there’s a really strong community,” he said, noting the appealing combination of creatives, nonprofit organizations, natural beauty, walkability and progressive college culture. “Ultimately it came down to my relationship with Flagstaff in years of coming back and forth from L.A. to Santa Fe. It’s played this interesting intersection in my own life.”

Realizing Flagstaff’s unique qualities, AMFM is setting up a local “test” year. Locally-made short films and other locally-relevant films will discuss the reservations and fair treatment, water issues, and politics.

Resident and visiting artists will set up, while the “more” in AMFM includes workshops giving artists the opportunity to bolster entrepreneurial skills through SEO for Artists with Phil Hudson, casting with renowned casting director Faith Hibbs-Clark and screenwriting with Henrich and NAU film professor Bob Reynolds.

The ultimate goal behind AMFM, Henrich said, is to inspire artists to come together, and for business-minded folks to look to artists for help.

“When you put this many creative people in the same place for four days, wonderful things are going to happen,” he added. “They’re an incredible resource of thought and entrepreneurship, leadership and good civic mindedness. Artists know they have to depend on the resources in their community. They are resources we’re not recognizing. If we don’t come together, then we can’t grow.”

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