Festival Highlights will be provided throughout the 2018 Phoenix Film Festival, as Jason Carney and Monte Yazzie dish their favorite 2018 festival titles. Read on to see what awaits festival goers.

Now in its 18th year, the newly expanded Phoenix Film Festival has increased the festival from eight to 11 days and the number of films being offered from 250 to 300. There’s a wide variety of films to suit every taste from the low-key drama, to the action-filled spectacular; from sci-fi and horror, to a low brow comedy from Sweden, classics and new, mainstream films yet to be released to the public.

This year’s line-up exemplifies the fest’s tagline, “Find Your New Favorite Movie.”

Electric Bento had a chance to sit down with the leadership team, Jason Carney, executive director and Monte Yazzie, International Horror and Sci-fi Film Festival director to get their favorite films from the upcoming fest. Before, I delve into their favorites for this year’s festival, I want to share with you my journey to this point, because the last year would not have been possible without the generosity of the hard-working staff at the Phoenix Film Festival and the Phoenix Film Foundation.

I was actually writing my own blog called The Movie Revue, building a small audience, still finding my voice. I penned my ‘Top Ten Films of 2017” in July and featured several titles that played at the Phoenix Film Festival, including Julian Fort’s The Midnighters which won the festival’s Best Screenplay award, Bill Watterson’s Dave Made a Maze, James Gray’s The Lost City of Z one of the mainstream releases featured at the festival, and Yaniv Berman’s stinging and stunning Land of the Little People, which won the Phoenix Film Festival’s World Cinema Best Picture.

What’s in store for Festival goers in 2018?

Phoenix Film Festival
Photo courtesy of Lunabear Studios.

Jason Carney is the executive director of the Phoenix Film Festival and the Phoenix Film Foundation, the non-profit organization which supports the festival as well as a number of sub-organizations including the Phoenix Film Society, the Phoenix Critics Circle, the Phoenix chapter of the IFP. He’s an all-around swell guy and is also responsible for the entire festival. He took a few minutes to offer his five favorite films from this year’s festival:

Searching – “I love the concept of this film and heard so many good things about it from Sundance and South by Southwest.”

Measure of a Man – “I love a good coming of age film and this cast is great.” [Editor’s note: The Phoenix Film Festival’s screening on Sunday, April 15, at 4:30 p.m., is the U.S. premiere of this film.]

A Shot in the Dark – “An awesome, inspiring documentary.”

Leave No Trace – “Ben Foster is just so great.”

The Long Dumb Road – “Jason Mantzoukas is one of my favorite comedic actors.”

Phoenix Film Festival
Monte Yazzie, director of the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival.

Monte has the exciting task of programming the horror and science fiction films and from what we can tell, there are some real winners out there. Here are his five favorite films from this year’s upcoming festival.

The Ranger – “’Punk rock slasher mashup’ is just a fun phrase to say. I think director Jenn Wexler is an up and coming talent and I’m glad we have her film at the festival this year.”

All The Creatures Were Stirring – “Holiday horror anthology films are always a fun experience. This one has a little bit of the sinister but also a little bit of the sweet. It’s a fun combination of genres, Rebekah and David McKendry are talented directors.”

Imitation Girl – “Strange and completely satisfying, this film is a science fiction film that showcases an amazing lead performance from Lauren Ashley Carter playing a dual role of alien and human. It touches on aspects of human interaction on a unique level.”

Wilding – “Held in captivity her entire life, a young girl escapes into the real world where sensations and emotions collide with something supernatural happening inside her. It’s a fascinating coming of age film.”

Revenge – “Films about women in peril, especially ones that handle brutal subject matter, are typically hit or miss. Revenge, directed by Coralie Fargaet, provides a female perspective on the typical male dominated horror sub-genre.”

Monte speaks to the diverse offerings on display saying, “Our festival program is diverse and we are proud of being able to provide that perspective. The fact that four of these five films are directed by women and four of these five films have female lead actors is amazing.”

“There is so much more to watch. We hope you can make it to the 14th Annual International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival,” concludes Monte. The International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival, entering its 14th year, runs concurrently with the Phoenix Film Festival.

While tickets are already sold out to the opening event, there are plenty of films to satiate your filmic sweet tooth. What will your new, favorite film be?