Phoenix Film Festival

Lenah Lankhaar, Cactus Writer

The Phoenix Film Festival was held from April 6-13th this year at the Scottsdale Harkins 101. It is the largest film festival held in Arizona and continues to grow each year. There were numerous feature films screened for audiences to choose from, as well as shorts from all over the world. The festival also had a category for student filmmakers as well as categories for Arizona filmmakers. Many were being screened for the first time but some came from Sundance and other festivals. Within this festival there is also The International Horror and Sci-fi Film Festival which brings films from all over the world to appeal to all of the Horror and Sci-fi fanatics.

The International Horror and Sci-fi was something special. Films like Hounds of Love and Lake Bodom were two of the features shown. Both films suspenseful and unsettling. Hounds of Love follows an Australian couple that together kidnaps and kills younger girls. Although unsettling at most points the cinematography is beautifully done keeping your eyes on the screen. The story is horrific and keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat. There are some scenes that are truly disturbing but in a twisted way it was a beautiful film and said a lot about relationships and independence.

Lake Bodom, originally released as Bodom was a Finnish film that was full of twists and turns. I am not usually a Horror fan but this piqued my interest. It was about a group of friends that went to a lake where a murder had happened several years before. It was nothing like I had ever seen before and not being a Horror fan it was one of the best films I saw all weekend.

There was something really special about the international films shown at this festival. They were very powerful and beautiful.

The films that were submitted nationally were also something to talk about. People were buzzing about films like Brave New Jersey, Secondhand Hearts and Waking David. There were a lot of filmmakers interacting with other filmmakers or fans of their films which is something that is distinctive with an independent film festival. It was exciting to be there.

There are many ways to get involved with the festival, if you want to do more than just watch films. There was a pavilion open to people with festival passes where the festival invited local shops, podcasts and different organizations revolving around the sci-fi and horror genre. There was also a silent auction that took place that had one of a kind film memorabilia. Everything about this festival was well put together and if there was a problem it was resolved right away. It was nice to attend a festival and be able to enjoy the films and the atmosphere. I am excited to return next year knowing that I will have an even better time.