The 17th Annual Phoenix Film Festival (PFF) is one of the biggest celebrations of film in Arizona, attracting high profile celebrities, movies from all over the world and more than 25,000 participants. This 8-day festival, taking place April 6-13, screens more than 175 films under one roof—the Harkins Scottsdale 101 Theater in Phoenix. This easily navigable festival welcomes the public and is known as a home for independent filmmakers.
PFF has a unique personality, always striving to improve year after year. Festival director Jason Carney said, “We want to be the best version of our festival we can be. That means being better than the year before…” Carney has his pulse on the film industry, recognizing the changes needed and this year, he and his team have created a new program called Unified by Film. Carney stated, “We wanted to get unique perspectives from filmmakers from different communities [so] this year we have categories for Native American, African American, and Latino American directors. This will give our audiences an opportunity to see some stories from other perspectives. Additionally, we had programmers with similar backgrounds select those films to make sure it was personal.”
Carney and his 200 volunteers seem to run like a well-oiled machine, coordinating every detail to make this a premier festival. The line-up has diverse topics by diverse filmmakers, creating films to appeal to every palate. From documentaries and dramas to comedies, horror, and short films, PFF has just the film for you.
Finding just the right film can be daunting, but I have several recommendations to get you started. PFF’s opening and closing night films are not to be missed—”The Hero” and “Tommy’s Honour.” Sam Elliott and Nick Offerman star in “The Hero,” a story about life’s regrets and living life to its fullest. Elliott’s compelling performance is spell-binding and Offerman’s off-beat verbal cadence and unique perspective reminds us to laugh. THE HERO Trailer “Tommy’s Honour” is a father-son story and a love story within the roots of the game of golf. You’ll have a new perspective on this once raucous game. TOMMY’S HONOUR Trailer
Sandwiched in the middle of these two exceptional films are more entertaining gems you won’t want to miss.
DAVE MADE A MAZE builds on a child-like concept of getting lost in a box in your living room, making you laugh and gasp while you are in awe of the amazing set design.
KILLING GROUND is an Australian psychological horror film that will make you think twice about that camping trip in the wilderness. It’s gruesome yet brings you to question your own psyche.
GRADUATION is another moralistic conundrum by the famed Darden Brothers as a father attempts to protect and “help” his daughter after being physically attacked near her school. To what lengths will a parent go to remedy his guilt and make things right again?
IN LOCO PARENTIS is yet another heartfelt journey into parenthood, but these teachers are much more than their title indicates.
NORMAN is written and directed by Joseph Cedar and stars Richard Gere as the hapless New Yorker who tries with all his heart to make connections. It’s beautifully eloquent and meaningful yet whimsical as it portrays this one man’s life and direction.
“Quaker Oaths,” “The Midnighters,” “Fallen,” and “Secondhand Hearts,” are all recommended, but check out the festival schedule and description for even more great films. PFF Schedule Don’t miss out on one of the best festivals in the country.
Tickets can be purchased individually or in a package. For more information, go to PFF Tickets