Written by Kyley Warren
Now that we’ve all had a moment to breathe, recuperate on some lost sleep time – with no regrets though of course, because let’s be honest, those weekend after-parties were poppin’ – and finally return to a diet that isn’t just comprised of movie theater popcorn and candy, it’s only right that we set some time aside to reflect on what a remarkable experience this year’s Phoenix Film Festival truly was. Whether you’re a festival aficionado or a first-timer to our beloved event, all of our attendees were sure to find fun, fascinating films and special comraderies that simply can’t be replicated anywhere else. With that, for the final “The Five” post of this series, we’re highlighting the five best things about this year’s 2019 Phoenix Film Festival.
5.) The Filmmakers
This year’s filmmakers were very introspective and there was a unique level of emotional simplicity that allowed the audience members to truly relate to and resonate with these well-developed characters in a special capacity. The wide array of films, documentaries and shorts that comprised this year’s lineup is a testament to the exciting future that is ahead for the entertainment industry, so as long as we have creative innovators – like those featured in this year’s lineup – at the helm of change within the film industry.
4.) Geek Day
Comic-Con in the comforts of a friendly, festival environment? We’ll take it. Geek Day delivered that and so much more at this year’s festival. With awesome auction prizes, energetic cosplayers, a photography station, a Bingo raffle and a handful of the geekiest vendors in the state, this year’s Geek Day was truly one for the books.
Whether you just wanted the chance to channel your inner-nerd or you got to bond with some fellow geeks over your favorite comics, films and franchises, Geek Day served as a space to allow you to be free and have fun with your greatest passions.
3.) Opening & Closing Night Films
We’ll admit, our opening and closing night films are great every single years, but our two films this year were truly something special. The festival opened with the highly-talked-about and critically acclaimed “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” a film by Academy Award-nominated director Joe Berlinger – who was in attendance, by the way – that, chronicled the mysterious and highly-complicated life of Ted Bundy, through the eyes of his longtime girlfriend. The film, which was historically picked up by Netflix, has garnered attention for its vivid storytelling and captivating performances.
“The Farewell,” which was our darling, closing night film told the endearing tale of a family that disguises their grandmother’s diagnosis that she only has a short time to live, so they throw a wedding to gather the family together one last time to honor her. The movie is a glimpse into authentic family dynamics – as complicated as they may be – and how much we would do to comfort and take care of the people we love.
2.) Our Volunteers
Maybe we’re biased, but we’re convinced that we have the best volunteers in the world. And if you had the privilege of attending this year’s festival, we’re pretty sure you probably feel the exact same way. Every day, there were dozens of helpful folk perusing the festival grounds and working behind the scenes to ensure that each and every little detail was addressed for the sake of a seamless and fun movie-going experience for all of our attendees. Some arrived early in the morning to meet our guests with a smile, while others worked late into the night to cover our lively after-party scene.
The best part about our volunteer staff is that all of them are here for the same reason: an undeniable love for the art of a film and an inherent desire to dedicate their time to ensure that others get the opportunity to enjoy the craft just as much as they do. Our festival is arguably one of the most hospitable and friendly in the nation, and that’s all thanks to our incredible volunteers and festival staff.
1.) The Festival Attendees
While the list of great things about this year’s festival is a rather long one, we can’t conclude this list without mentioning our incredible festival attendees and their unparalleled passion for quality filmmaking – no matter who made these films, where these stories originate from or what language they are in. Our festival team is able to achieve new goals and raise the bar even higher year by year because of the people who buy tickets, sport our sleek merch and indulge in our eclectic lineup of movies. Thank you for all of your support and passion. We can’t wait to bring you an even better festival next April!