Lovers of film, festivities, or both: it’s a good time to be in Arizona! The Phoenix Film Festival — an eight-day extravaganza that boasts over 175 movies and a smorgasbord of events for filmmakers and lovers of movies alike — is starting this week.
It’s the largest film festival in the state, taking place at the Harkins Scottsdale 101 from April 6 to 13.
Executive Director of the festival Jason Carney was kind enough to answer some questions about Arizona’s biggest cinematic celebration, in case any Arizonans didn’t know about this event taking place on their doorstep.
Ryan Bordow: In your words, what is the Phoenix Film Festival?
Jason Carney: It’s a big celebration of film! We have 177 screenings here in Phoenix; we have four different parties, there’s workshops and seminars — it’s a great celebration of film with like-minded film lovers.
RB: How can people secure tickets to the festival?
JC: You can do that online through our website at www.phoenixfilmfestival.com. Click on ‘Festival’, check out the film schedule to find out what you’re interested in seeing, and then jump down to “Tickets” and purchase tickets for whatever you want to see. You can do it a few different ways: you can buy one single ticket to one screening, you can buy the Flex Pass which is four movies for the price of three, you can do the full festival pass which lets you see unlimited films, or you could do the VIP pass which gets you front of line access and all kinds of cool stuff. There are a lot of options based on your budget and your time.
RB: What kinds of movies can people except to see?
JC: We have a nice mix of films. We’ve got some really good narrative features, documentaries, and a really wide variety of short films — animated shorts, documentary shorts, shorts directed by college students, live-action — every short film category you can dream of. We’ve got some films that are going to be coming out in theaters that we’re screening a little early: you can see them before anybody else does. It’s a nice little mix of indie films and studio films too.
RB: What about the seminars and other events?
JC: Over the weekend in our Party Pavilion — which is free to get in Friday through Sunday — we have four different panel discussions each day on various topics. We have a panel on acting, one on screenwriting; we have one on horror and sci-fi films. We bring in filmmakers from around the world to populate these panels. It’s great to get an interesting perspective on different topics from filmmakers who aren’t local and bring a different perspective.
RB: Why should people who aren’t deeply interested in film go too?
JC: It’s a really great experience with a great energy and vibe. We’ve had people come in saying that they’re only going to see one film — and they then get hooked. It’s a tired cliché, but we have a little something for everybody. There are such a wide variety of films: comedy, action-adventure, family films, horror and sci-fi, drama, documentaries — there’s going to be something that you would like.