Recap: Phoenix Film Festival Weekend

Well, the biggest part of the Phoenix Film Festival is officially over. The entire festival isn’t over yet, as there are still movies to be shown throughout this week. But the weekend is by far the biggest event, and most of the filmmakers tend to go home after the awards on Sunday night. The rest of the week features a few new films, but most are award winners or festival choice that are repeat showings from the weekend.

As expected, it was a big weekend. Friday night I managed to catch three films: SOS: Save Our SkinsTeddy Bears, and God’s Pocket. Even though it had some problems, I think Teddy Bears was my favorite of the evening. It had some talented (and well-known) actors and featured interesting interaction among the characters. I also enjoyed God’s Pocket, one of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last films. You can check out my review of it here.

Saturday was a full day of movies. I made it to the theater in time to catch The ShowerLittle Hope Was ArsonThe Joe Show, and The Sacrament. I was glad to have a gap of free time after The Shower and stayed for the Q&A session. (I missed all of these on Friday because my showtimes were so close together!) Not only was The Shower a fun movie, but I got the opportunity to talk to the director and cast for quite a while this weekend. They were such a fun crew, and it was interesting to hear all of their stories of filmmaking (including how they used a $1200 DSLR to shoot the film and how the director’s wife went into labor while in the makeup chair!). I enjoyed spending some time with them over the weekend. Check out my review of The Shower and go see this movie if you get the opportunity. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with it in the future. Here’s a photo of me with the guys from the film:

Somehow I managed to make it out of bed on Sunday morning to head back to the theater for Jake Squared. Honestly, this was the only movie so far out of the festival that I didn’t really like. I think the lead actor did a great job, seeing as he had some challenging roles in the film. But ultimately, what seemed meant to be existential just played out as kind of a narcissistic mess, in my opinion. The title character wasn’t all that likable, and the movie seemed almost pointless and hard to understand at first. It got better, but still didn’t quite make me care enough by the end.

Sunday afternoon I headed over to the party pavilion to check out Geek Day. I enjoyed networking there, talking to people from GangplankPhoenix Comicon, and The Transporter Room. The latter is a really cool idea that I’d actually heard about previously on reddit. The plan is to have a geek-themed bar, in short. And since I’m a geek that loves craft beer, of course I love this concept. These guys have great ideas, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with them.

I finished out my movie watching on Sunday with Billy Club and then Dom HemingwayBilly Club was a great horror flick with a baseball setting. You can read my full review of it here. By the time I got to Dom Hemingway (with an expectedly great performance by Jude Law), I was starting to crash from such a busy weekend of movies and networking, but I made it through and even stuck around for the Copper Wing awards ceremony. Once again, I ran into the guys from The Shower and grabbed a beer with them. We watched the awards ceremony and by the time it was over, I was ready to crash.

Thank you, Phoenix Film Festival, for a wonderful weekend of networking and great films! I’m looking forward to checking out a few more this week, and then I can’t wait to see what is in store for next year.