Another year, another Phoenix Film Festival! The biggest event for AZ movie lovers is back, and it runs from April 4th to April 14th at the Harkins Scottsdale 101. I caught up with festival director Jason Carney to find out what’s exciting this year:

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Ryan Bordow: What are some of the movies people can look forward to this year?

Jason Carney: Obviously our opening night movie Sing Sing. Opening night is always a big movie, but this year, Sing Sing starring Colman Domingo—oh boy, it’s amazing. I think it’s [Domingo’s] best performance yet. He’s just so great in it, and the rest of the cast is really up to the task. It’s heartwarming, heartbreaking, and inspirational all in one. And then Babes starring Ilana Glazer is probably the most I’ve laughed at a movie in a few years; it’s just so funny—it’s like Bridesmaids with pregnancy, but the comedy is dirtier. [Glazer] is great, the supporting cast is great, and the concept is solid; [Glazer] wrote the script, and it’s funny as hell. And I can’t not mention our closing movie Thelma, which was at Sundance this year. June Squibb is hilarious in it; she’s playing an older woman who got scammed, and she’s trying to fight to get her money back. She and Richard Roundtree are moving around on her scooter trying to find out who scammed her. It’s really great.

Anything with June Squibb is gonna be a good time.

Yeah, she’s hilarious!

What do horror fans have to look forward to this year?

It’s an interesting batch this year! It actually leans a bit more international than normal, which is very cool. One international title worth a look is Handling the Undead, which comes to us from NEON. There’s also a hilarious competition feature called Mysterious Ways: it’s about a couple of youth pastors trying to save their church, and they do a TikTok dance to go viral, and instead [the dance] possesses the pastor’s daughter. It’s really funny—I love a good horror comedy. There’s also a really great, powerful film called Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person. It’s so good.

What other events can attendees enjoy?

We’ve got a couple of new things going. Of course our Film Prom party on Saturday night is always a big hit—this year it’s Barbie themed. And we’ve done this thing called More Than Movies, which has a few things outside what we normally do: one night is called “Comedy On- and Off-Screen,” which is a mix of four stand-up comics and three short films that we’ll rotate between. We’re also doing a staged reading of Raising Arizona with some really good names in the local acting community participating. It’s funny as hell, and these folks who are doing it—I’m really excited for their take on it.

What else will be going on in the area around the theater?

We’ll have the big tent out there opening weekend with all the parties and special events. During the second weekend, we’ll do our parties over at Duelies Bar & Grill, which is a piano bar just outside the theater. With all the restaurants around here, it makes it super easy to stay in the area: watch a movie, eat, go to a party, check out a panel discussion; it’s so great because you don’t have to really leave. And all the filmmakers being so accessible makes it that much sweeter.

Where can people go to find ticket prices, dates, and schedules?

Good ol’ It’s got the schedule and the films; you can watch the trailers; you can get tickets and look into special events and parties and all that. It’s chock full of information.