Originally published Monday, November 27, 2017 at 12:12p.m.

The Sedona International Film Festival presents the Northern Arizona premiere of the critically-acclaimed new film “Novitiate” showing Dec. 1-7 at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre.

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Spanning over a decade from the early 1950s through to the mid-60s, “Novitiate” is about a young girl’s first initiation with love, in this case with God. The film stars Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo and Julianne Nicholson and was written and directed by Margaret Betts.

“Novitiate” stars Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo and Julianne Nicholson and was written and directed by Margaret Betts (winner of the Breakthrough Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival). The film was a major it at the Sundance and Toronto Film Festivals.

Spanning over a decade from the early 1950s through to the mid-60s, “Novitiate” is about a young girl’s first initiation with love, in this case with God. Raised by a non-religious, single mother in rural Tennessee, a scholarship to Catholic school soon finds Cathleen drawn into the mystery and romanticism of a life devoted to the worship and servitude of God.

With the dawn of the Vatican II era, radical changes in the Church are threating the course of nuns’ lives. As she progresses from the postulant to the novitiate stage of training, she finds her faith repeatedly confronted and challenged by the harsh, often inhumane realities of being a servant of God. Cathleen finds herself struggling with issues of faith, sexuality, and recent changes in life of the Church.

Critics and audiences are raving about “Novitiate”.

“Melissa Leo gives the kind of bravura performance that not only sparks Oscar talk but richly deserves it. Margaret Qualley is a star in the making. She rivets our attention. A potent provocation that’ll get you good.” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“Novitiate” will be shown at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre Dec. 1-7. Showtimes will be 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Thursday, Dec. 1, 2 and 7; and 4 and 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3.

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.

For more information, visit: www.SedonaFilmFestival.org.

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