Lights! Camera! Action! The City of Maricopa is getting ready to welcome movie buffs from around the world at its second annual Copa Shorts Film Fest, which takes place Friday, Feb. 16 to Sunday, Feb. 18 at the Ak-Chin UltraStar Multi-tainment Center (16000 N. Maricopa Road, Maricopa, AZ 85139). This year’s film fest will showcase more than 65 short films, which range in length from two minutes to 20 minutes.

“Copa Shorts Film Fest is honored to showcase creative masterpieces from budding screenwriters, actors and filmmakers around the world,” said Shelley Gillespie, Executive Director of Copa Shorts Film Fest. “Guests at this year’s film fest are definitely in for a treat, as the level of talent and creativity is guaranteed to tease, intrigue, scare and delight attendees. We’re also celebrating the best emerging short filmmakers and screenwriters from around the world, with films and screenplays from the U.S., the Netherlands, Australia, Sweden, Canada, Greece, France, the UK, Spain, and the Philippines.” 

The films and screenplays span a wide range of genres, including comedy, animation, drama, documentary, sci-fi, horror and foreign categories. This year’s fest also includes four showcased film blocks:

• A new Military Veteran Short Film category that spotlights work from a filmmaker who serves (or has served) in the U.S. Military and who has played a key role in production. Films in this category demonstrate the excellence of film craft and the stories told, and feature the struggles, sacrifices, challenges, or humor of Military Veterans. (Films in this category will be shown on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 2 p.m.);

A Native American Short Film category that highlights the work of a Native American-produced short film that features a Native American theme, and/or includes Native American actors (Films in this category will be shown on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m.);

A College Student Short Film category that showcases the work of filmmakers who are currently enrolled as undergraduate or graduate students, whose projects were completed after January 1, 2016. (Films in this category will be shown on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 8 p.m.); and

High School & Middle School Student Short Film category that features filmmakers currently enrolled in grades 10-12, along with additional young filmmakers from local middle schools. (Films in this category will be shown on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 1 p.m.).

In addition to the variety of short films to take in at the fest, guests will have the chance to participate in three FREE educational filmmaking workshops on Saturday, Feb. 17. These workshops include:

• Film Funding: Show Me the Money: Entertainment attorney Stephen Wade Nebgen will offer strategies to aspiring filmmakers for finding funding sources. (9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.)

• Drones, Moviemaking and the FAA. Rules. Rules. Rules: Award-winning cinematographer Steve Wargo will share rules and regulations of drone use, and provide an outdoor demonstration of the newest tool in a filmmaker’s toolbox. (9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.)

• Filming in Arizona; What Arizona Can Do for You: Matthew Earl Jones, Director of the Arizona Office of Film and Digital Media, will share the tools and support available to filmmakers in Arizona, including wonderful scenery. (10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.)

Attendees can register online for these free workshops at:

Beginning at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18, screenplay table reads will offer laughs, provide suspense, document a legend, and present a rip-roaring horror theme. A special $6 ticket allows guests to be entertained by these original screenplays, which are presented by local actors. 

From 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, the film fest will distribute awards to screenwriters and filmmakers, while the award-winning Arvel Bird performs with his violin, fiddle, Native flutes, and Irish whistles, delivering music with Native American heart and Scottish soul.

Ticket information can be found at:

Guests can purchase single-screening tickets for $12 each. Students and those age 65 and better, and Military Veterans can purchase single-screening tickets for $10 each. Saturday-only passes are $70 each, and Sunday-only passes are $75 each. VIP All-Access Passes are $140 each, and give priority seating, access to filmmakers, entry to the Film Fest’s VIP Party (Friday, Feb.16) and Wrap Party/Awards Ceremony (Sunday, Feb.18), and a swag bag.