Most folks, whether film buffs or film know-nothings (I’m the latter), have heard of the Cannes International Film Festival in France, the Aspen Filmfest in Colorado and the Sundance Film Festival in Utah (and yes, Sundance fans, there is “an app for that”). But did you know there are quite a few film festivals that take place right here in Arizona?
One of these festivals, the Arizona Student Film Festival, is right around the corner. I’ve never been to a film festival, but I’d like to make this my first. You’ve got to admire youth who can create works in one of the three featured categories—30 second public service announcement (on water conservation), microshort (1-5 minutes) and short (5-12 minutes). It would take me that long to figure out how to turn on the video camera.
The festival comes to Harkins Valley Art Theatre on Mill Ave. in Tempe Saturday, Jan. 16th. I adore this theater venue—as does my youngest daughter Lizabeth—because it leaves me feeling transported to any earlier time when movie theaters felt at once both more quaint and more spectacular. The movies they show, one at a time because there’s just a single screen, are always edgy and endearing. I expect nothing less from the young filmmakers whose works will be shown during the festival.
The 16th Annual Sedona International Film Festival takes place Feb. 21st-28th and features “independent film programming in all genres” as well as various series or tracks including family, classics and green/sustainable. While it’s too late to submit work for consideration for this year’s event, the call for submissions for the 2011 festival will open this May.
Submissions are also closed for the 2010 Phoenix Film Festival, the event’s 10th anniversary, taking place April 8th to 15th at Harkins Scottsdale 101 Theatre. The festival will feature “independent films from around the world, celebrities, filmmaking seminars, student filmmaking seminars and parties all week long.” (I wonder whether a clever filmmaker might film the weeklong parties for consideration at the 2011 festival.)
There’s still time to submit works—“in the categories of narrative and documentary features, documentary, dramatic, comedy, experimental and animation shorts”—for the 2010 Arizona International Film Festival’s THEREEL FRON TIER Film & Video Competition. The AIFF’s “19th edition” of showcasing films takes place April 15th to 25th. They’ve issued a special call for works by young filmmakers (18 and under) for their Indie Youth program. Submissions will be accepted through Feb. 12th “in the categories of dramatic, comedy, documentary, experimental and animation shorts.”
The deadline is also fast approaching for submissions to the Annual Short Film and Video Festival presented by the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts in Tempe. The festival “is open to all film and video makers worldwide” and reviews entries submitted by students of all ages. Projects should be “no longer than ten minutes in length” and must be submitted by Feb. 5th. The festival takes place in April.
The Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival takes place Feb. 20th to March 24th at the Harkins Scottsdale Camelview Theatre and the Harkins Chandler Crossroads Theatre. The festival “brings a terrific slate of new feature films to the Valley.” Organizers note that “you definitely don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy!”
Later this year, you can enjoy the 10th Annual Scottsdale International Film Festival, scheduled for Oct. 1st to 5th at the Harkins Camelview 5 Theatre (another venue that routinely shows movies you won’t find elsewhere but really ought not to miss).
If your New Year’s resolutions include trying new experiences, meeting new people or upping your C.Q. (culture quotient), film festivals may well be the way to go. Life’s too short to live on reruns and beer commercials.
Update: Get the scoop on another Arizona film festival in the comment section below. You’ll find further details at http://www.thea3f.net/
Note: Local, national and international creators of experimental and adventurous live theater are invited to submit work for consideration to the Phoenix Fringe Festival. Deadline is Tuesday, Jan. 5th. Festival is scheduled for April 2nd to 11th. Visit www.phxfringe.org for details.