The 2019 Phoenix Film Festival 2019 opens in less than 24 hours with the Netflix film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, Alice Cooper and Edward James Olmos for its opening weekend. We’re less than 24 hours from the official start of the PFF 2019 and the hot news just keeps on rolling in about the amazing films they have on hand.
Over 30o of them, actually.
That’s a lot for you to try and catch in a 10 day window, but Electric Bento is here to help you maximize the fun, relieve you of the stress and help you Find Your Favorite Movie.
How might you ask? Well, we sat down with Jason Carney, the executive director of PFF2019 and had this to say.
EB: 2018 was a transition year for the festival as you expanded the roster. What have you tweaked this year to continue to build on the ongoing success?
JC: We pushed a little harder to screen more films [more frequently]. With so many things for audiences to see we want to give them multiple opportunities for films.
EB: There were such terrific films as Won’t You Be My Neighbor, RBG, First Reformed and the amazing closing night film, Eighth Grade last year. What surprises await filmgoers this year?
JC: On the narrative side, The Farewell really jumps out at me as a potential for breakout success. On the documentary side, The Biggest Little Far is really fantastic.
EB: As audience tastes evolve, are there any films directed by women that audiences should be on the lookout for?
JC: For sure. Our closer, The Farewell is directed by Lulu Wang. A film in our LGBTQ slate, Heart, Baby comes from Angela Shelton and, Little Woods is directed by Nia DeCosta. That’s a really small sampling of the films directed by women this year. It’s a great batch and it came organically. We didn’t plan to have films from women directors. We just had awesome titles that happened to be directed by women.
EB: Word has it that the director of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile, Joe Berlinger will be here to introduce his film as the Phoenix Film Festival’s opening night film?
JC: Absolutely. This is a really big film and Joe has directed some really big award-winning films over the years on the documentary side. I think this will end up being his highest profile narrative film. This screening sold out super fast.
EB: As festival goers build out their schedules, are there films that you’re especially looking forward to audiences being able to experience?
JC: I think The That Follow should be on radars for sure. Wild Rose is another sneaky one that will be worth a look. There are a few bigger films like Brian Banks, Tomorrow Man and, Teen Spirit that are worth a look.
EB: What tips or tricks do you have to make the festival experience go smoothly for audiences?
JC: Plan ahead for your screening schedule as early as you can. Be sure to build in some time to stick around and be part of the filmmaker Q&A. They’re really fascinating as well as entertaining. Also, be sure to try films that you might not otherwise see. It just may surprise you.
Our thanks again to festival director, Jason Carney for his insight.
And, just as we were about to wrap this up, we’ve learned that Edward James Olmos will be on hand at PFF2019 for the Friday, April 5, screening of Windows on the World directed by his son, Michael D. Olmos. The film, which recently won several awards at the LA Method Fest Film Festival including Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor will screen at 7:10 pm on Friday, April 5.
Here’s a description of the story:
The story begins on the morning of September 11, 2001, where Fernando and his family in Mexico watch the news in horror as the Twin Tows collapse, His father, Balthazar, is an undocumented busboy on the top floor in the Windows on the World restaurant. Three weeks pass, and there is no word from Balthazar. No telephone calls, money orders, or hope that he is alive. As the family grieves, feeling the emotional and financial toll of their absent patriarch, Fernando’s distraught mother swears she sees her husband on news footage – escaping from the building ALIVE. Heroic Fernando decides to take the epic journey from Mexico to New York City to find his father and save his family. Along the way, he finds love and befriends an eclectic group of international characters that help him restore his faith in humanity, as Fernando discovers the hard truths about his father, the melting pot of America, and the immigrant experience.
PFF2019 is also host to the World Premiere of Alice Cooper: Live from the Astroturf where Alice Cooper and his bandmates, as well as director Steven Gaddis, will be in attendance. The screening will also take place on Friday, April 5, at 7:50 p.m.
“To unleash the movie of the historic event, we’re going back to where it all started: Phoenix, Arizona, birthplace of the original Alice Cooper group, will be the first city you’ll be able to witness this concert film documentary.”
The 2019 Phoenix Film Festival is held under one roof at the Harkins Scottsdale 101. Tickets to these screenings and festival passes can be purchased by visiting www.phoenixfilmfestival.com.