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Phoenix Film Festival returns for 13th annual celebration

MONTE YAZZIE ~ SPECIAL FOR THE FOOTHILLS FOCUS~ 4/2/2013

The Phoenix Film Festival is planning a jam-packed schedule for the 13th annual Arizona mainstay aimed to delight film fanatics during the weeklong event set for Thursday – April 11 at The Scottsdale Harkins 101 Theaters. The festival has developed since its’ inception in 2000, garnering accolades as one of the nation’s “coolest” film festivals. With a continued dedication to filmmakers and the independent film spirit, the PFF offers something for nearly every film fan. Along with the Phoenix Film Festival, the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival occurs at the same time, in the same location. Annually, the two festivals combine to showcase more than 100 films, hold numerous discussion panels with filmmakers and other film talent, offer educational seminars for the young budding filmmaker in the family, and celebrate nightly in the designated party pavilion. This is an event in a constant state of activity.
This year’s festival boasts a notable display of films in numerous genre categories. The opening night film is The Spectacular Now directed by James Ponsoldt and starring Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Smashed). The film centers on a hard partying high school senior who meets a girl the exact opposite of everything that inspires his current life. The promising high school football drama Underdogs, starring D.B. Sweeney (The Cutting Edge) and Natalie Imbruglia (Neighbours) who will both be in attendance at the festival, screens Saturday night and surrounds a small town team with aspirations of playing in the state championship against the cross-town rival.
The unique late night programming, helmed by IHSFF director Andrea Beesley, displays some genre treats for the horror and science fiction fan in all of us. Kiss of the Damned directed by Xan Cassavetes (daughter of John Cassavetes) and The Ghastly Love of Johnny X directed Paul Bunnell is just two of many films in the diverse programming selections on display this year.  Along with the feature length films there is an abundance of short films from an impressive and talented group of filmmakers of all levels and ages; some of the most unique and personal encounters with the filmmaking process can be had during the short film program.
The Phoenix Film Festival, along with the IHSFF, is an important event for the Arizona film community. Beesley sums the festival essence up best, “The festival brings independent shorts and features to a passionate audience, while fostering the creative filmmaking spirit within the community by giving a yearly avenue for these films to be showcased on the big screen.” See you at the movies.
Scottsdale Harkins 101 is located at 7000 E. Mayo Blvd. in Scottsdale. For schedules and ticketing go to phoenixfilmfestival.com.