The Arizona International Film Festival, the longest running film celebration in Arizona, will open its 30th Festival (April 20-30, 2022) with the world premiere of Canyon Del Muerto, at the historic Fox Theatre,17 West Congress, Tucson on Wednesday, April 20 at 7:30pmadmission $15. Covid safety protocols will be observed. 

Set against the extraordinary backdrop of the Southwest and Navajo cultural heritage sites, Canyon Del Muerto portrays the epic true story of North America’s first female archaeologist, Ann Axtell Morris. Ann worked side by side with the Navajo in the 1920’s in Canyon De Chelly, Arizona to uncover North America’s earliest civilization, the Anasazi Basketmakers.

The film stars BAFTA winner Abigail Lawrie from Amazon’s award winning series Tin Star, Tom Felton (of the Harry Potter franchise), Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting), Tatanka Means (The Son), Finn Jones (Game of Thrones), Jacob Fortune-Lloyd (Queens Gambit), Academy Award Nominee Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) and Academy Honorary Award Winner Wes Studi.

“We are excited to tell the story of Ann Axtell Morris and her collaboration with the Navajo to preserve the history, culture, and language of the Navajo people. Film, much like archaeology, is a catalyst to bridge cultures and bring people together to be entertained, educated, and enlightened by lost stories.” – Coerte Voorhees, writer/director/producer of Canyon Del Muerto.

Canyon Del Muerto was produced by First Line Films and the Navajo Nation during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021 with the support of multiple local Navajo chapters, businesses, and land users based in and around the two central locations of the film; Canyon De Chelly, Arizona and Red Rock National Monument, New Mexico. Most importantly the Navajo Nation provided exclusive and unprecedented access to the cultural heritage archaeological sites within Canyon De Chelly, many of which have never been filmed before.

The Opening Night event will recognize the history, culture, and language of the Navajo people by welcoming Jonathan Nez, President of the Navajo Nation, as an honored guest and host.


Opening Night sponsors include the Navajo Nation, Arizona Office of Tourism, Pima County Attractions & Tourism, Visit Tucson, Downtown Tucson Partnership, Film Tucson and the Fox Theatre Foundation. Opening Night tickets can now be purchased at


Since 1990, the Festival has shown more than 3000 films from 100 countries around the world to more than 168,000 film lovers of all ages, receiving high international praise and receiving numerous recognitions and awards.


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The Arizona International Film Festival is a project of the Arizona Media Arts Center,  a non-profit organization that champions independent filmmaking.