Peoria Film Fest is just a few short hours away from kickoff!
We at Electric Bento, love this time of the year. The crème de la crème of cinema descends upon audiences around the world, bringing us stories of joy or stories that move us to tears. They should excite us and energize us.
It certainly energized the City of Peoria and Phoenix Film Foundation executive director, Jason Carney, everyone’s favorite emcee and all-around-swell guy, who brings together the greatest in global independent cinema.
As of this writing, we’re just a few short hours from the start of the Foundation’s latest adventure, the Peoria Film Fest with an evening reception followed by the family drama, “What They Had” (look for our review next week Friday when it opens in Phoenix; and bring some tissues!)
In the meantime, we had a chance to sit down with Jason, talk about the inspiration for this early fall film festival and what the Foundation’s plans are for the upcoming Phoenix Film Festival, which will be here before you know it.
[EB] The Phoenix Film Festival expanded this year and now the new Peoria Film Fest is upon us. What drove the decision to add a late year festival?
[JC] We’ve been looking to add more year programming and at the same time produce events in other parts of The Valley. The City of Peoria contacted us in March as we were deep in execution of the Phoenix Film Festival. In June, we were energized by some things going on in the Northwest Valley and reached out to the City of Peoria. We had a lunch meeting with them and the next [thing] the Peoria Film Fest was born. Plus having the Harkins Arrowhead Fountains as our host theatre made it a no-brainer. Over about three months or so we’ve put together a fantastic festival.
[EB] Is the intent to make this a permanent addition to the Phoenix Film Foundation’s annual activities?
[JC] We would love to make this an annual event. It lines up exactly six months in between events and helps balance our year. We have some goals to achieve this year, but it’s our intention to make this an annual event for the folks in the Northwest Valley. It’s been a blast making it happen so far.
[EB] Speaking of the Film Foundation, we just saw the completion of the Cine Latino film series, the PCC has put on “The Best Scene I’ve Seen” and the latest “How I Made It” series focusing on local film talent and their journeys to the silver screen. What other events are on the horizon for Phoenicians?
[JC] That’s all we have locked in for the immediate future. The goal with any expansion of programs is to do it [in] a way that gives you the most chance for success. These special quarterly events combined with the Peoria Film Fest have put a lot on our plate but we’re also confident in the quality of all of them. We’ll take a look next May to see what we come up. You never know what we’ll do next.
[EB] Are there any movies that you are especially excited about?
[JC] I’m particularly proud of the line-up that our team has put together. There’s our Opening Night Film, “What They Had” starring Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon, Robert Forster and Blythe Danner. Plus we have the World Premiere of “Point Defiance”. A great South African thriller, “Number 37”. Finally, “To Dust” is our Closing Night Film and stars Matthew Broderick. I could go on and on but I’ll leave you with those four.
[EB] Where can pass holders get their tickets?
[JC] Just go to PeoriaFilmFest.com for advance tickets or starting Friday, October 19th, we’ll be set up in the Harkins Arrowhead Fountains lobby for ticket purchases.
[EB] I know we’re on the cusp of this new adventure, but when can we start talking about the 2019 Phoenix Film Festival?
[JC] We’ve already started accepting entries and are working our way through them. We have our Art of Film fundraiser on November 30th where we’ll reveal the posters for the 2019 Phoenix Film Festival. It’ll be here before you know it.
[EB] We’re looking forward to an exciting weekend of film going. Thank you for your time, Jason.
In addition to our discussion with Jason, here is a brief overview of the happenings going on this weekend.
- Friday, October 19th at 5:30pm, the “Taste of Peoria” opening night cocktail party will kick off the festivities at the Arizona Republic Party Pavilion (just SE of Harkins Arrowhead Fountains) followed by the opening night film, What they Had.
- Saturday, October 20, the festival will screen Tyrel starring Jason Mitchell (Get Out) and Michael Cera (Juno) – an official selection of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival
- Sunday October 21st will feature two events, the World Premiere of Point Defiance with producer Mark Sayre in attendance and the Closing Night film, To Dust, the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award Winner starring Matthew Broderick.
Tickets are still available on www.peoriafilmfest.com or at the door. We’ll see you at the movies!