The 2014 Phoenix Film Festival is having its opening night premiere on April 3 at Harkins Scottsdale 101. In addition to screening films, the festival will include Geek Day, Kid’s Day and numerous other events.
This seven-day festival is being helmed by Jason Carney, executive director of the Phoenix Film Foundation. Carney recently spoke with GetOut to discuss the significance of this annual celebration embracing the art of film.
Q: What distinguishes the Phoenix Film Festival from other film fests?
JC: There’s no other festival our size that takes place in one location. Everything happens on site at the Harkins Scottsdale 101 center. That’s a really nice benefit that creates a community feel for the festival.
Q: Will there be any big names attending the festival?
JC: We’re still working on that. So far we got Dee Wallace, a.k.a. the mom from ‘E.T.,’ and Leah Thompson from ‘Back to the Future.’
Q: What can you tell me about Kid’s Day?
JC: It’s a really cool, free event geared at kids from 3 to 12. We have all these different film-related activity stations, like a green screen station and a red carpet where they get their picture taken.
Q: What can you tell us about the seminars and middle/high school programs offered?
JC: Those are really great. It’s on four different days. On the first day, it’s all about the filmmakers we’ve brought in from around the world, talking in panels. The second day is when we start the production process. There’s a screenwriting day, where students break out into groups, and they have a mentor who works with them to create a short script. The next day, they start preproduction of the winning script. Then on the last day, they actually shoot that short film.
Q: And what can you tell us about Geek Day?
JC: That’s going to happen on Sunday, and we got some really cool folks coming out like the Arizona Ghostbusters, the Phoenix Cupcake Company, local video game developers and various other comic-related people.
Q: How many of the films being screened at the festival have you seen?
JC: I have seen probably about 40 percent of them. We have over 150 films, and to watch all of them in such a short amount of time is impossible. That’s why we have different program directors for each of the categories.
Q: Which films is your personal favorite?
JC: There’s a really cool documentary called ‘Misfire: The Rise and Fall of the Shooting Gallery.’ It’s about this group of folks that turned into a movie company that made ‘Sling Blade’ and several other independent films. It’s just a great story that I never heard before.
• Nick Spake is a graduate of Arizona State University. He has been working as a film critic for the past nine years, reviewing movies on his website, NickPicksFlicks.com.