Phoenix Film Fest heats up in the desert

This past Thursday the Phoenix Film Festival kicked off their 10th Anniversary at the Harkins Scottsdale 101 in Phoenix, Arizona. Over the past ten years the Phoenix Film Festival has given many Phoenicians the chance to see great independent films such as (500) Days of Summer, Do It For Uncle Manny, Bronson, and American Teen to name a few. This year things will be no different as festival goers will get the opportunity to screen films like Cryus starring John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill as well as Middle Men with Luke Wilson and Giovanni Ribisi.

The Opening Night Gala for the festival this year honored Dan Harkins as the first-ever recipient of the Phoenix Film Festival Visionary Award. Dan Harkins is a name well known in the Phoenix area, as Harkins is the owner and CEO of Harkins Theatres, the largest independent exhibition company in the Southwest. Harkins was presented the award by Tara Hitchcock, anchor of Good Morning Arizona.

On Friday attendees were able to begin participating in the silent auction, which ran through Sunday. In addition to the auction, film fans were able to view many great films such as Mother and Child and the documentary Best Worst Movie. Friday was also when the festival partying began as movie-goers were able to take a break from screening films to dance in the mingle in the Party Pavilion, located just outside the theater, to live music capped by a performance from Rock Lobster.

Saturday things just got bigger. Cinema buffs were given the chance to participate in a Q & A session with first time writer/director Brooks Branch after the premiere of his debut film, Multiple Sarcasms starring Timothy Hutton, Mira Sorvino, and Mario Van Peebles. Throughout the day free seminars were available in the pavilion for aspiring filmmakers. The evening came to a close with 70’s cover band Boogie Nights rocking the stage for the Saturday Night Bash.

Sunday the free seminars continued during the day. At night the awards party took place in the pavilion. Winners included The Rivals for Best Picture and 9000 Needles for the Cox Audience Award and Best Documentary.

If you missed the weekend festivities never fear. With the Phoenix Film Festival running until Thursday, April 15th, there’s still plenty left film lovers to see. Many of the award winning films from the weekend will be screening again on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday along with a few other select titles including the documentary about reuniting the Kinks, Do It Again and the aforementioned Cyrus.

On Thursday the festival will come to a close with Middle Men from director George Gallo as the closing film. The film will be followed by the Closing Nigh Party to be held at the Compound Grill. Gallo, as well as film stars Luke Wilson and Giovanni Ribisi will be guests at the Phoenix Film Festival.

For more info and screening schedules please visit

Photos courtesy of Brett Walker

Chris Coffel

My name is Chris Coffel from Phoenix, Arizona. I love film and the Phoenix Suns. I write movie reviews for Trashwire and write about the Phoenix Suns for Downtown Phoenix Journal. I'm also the co-host of a movie podcast focusing on fringe cinema, the Dark of the Matinee. Please subscribe to my show on iTunes. I write about the Suns here: I make movies here: I talk about movies here:

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