It's time to learn more about the people who help make the festival happen. Meet Deb Hildebrandt, our Director of Student Programming!
Who are you?
What do you do (for the festival)?
I’m the Director of Student Programming. I put together the programs for College Shorts and Grade/High School Shorts. I’m also responsible for programming the Arizona Student Film Festival.
How did you end up doing that?
8 years ago I attended a Phoenix Film Society screening and decided I wanted to be involved in the organization. I’d previously volunteered for Cinequest in San Jose and The New Orleans Film Festival. I started working with the Volunteer Coordinator in that department, eventually becoming the Volunteer Director. I was excited to explore other areas of the festival so I spent a few years as a Short Film Programming Director. Over the years I’ve also enjoyed volunteering with IFP Phoenix and working with the International Horror and Sci-Fi Festival as the Filmmaker Relations Director.
What do you love most about your role?
I really love movies! All kinds. I get to screen a lot of them. Every year there seems to be a common theme or mood to the films submitted based on what’s happening in the world. I enjoy the different points of view and it’s exciting to see such original work from talented, new filmmakers.
What's the biggest challenge?
Putting the programs together can be challenging. Sometimes we’re spoiled for choice and I’m unable to program a film I’ve really, really enjoyed. It’s difficult to decline a submission from a talented filmmaker. I also find it’s crucial to keep very specific notes on the films I see. The movies may make a strong impression when I see them, but after going through so many submissions, it’s difficult to supply the feedback a filmmaker deserves without strong notes to refer to.
What's the movie you're most excited for this year?
I’m looking forward to “Paranoia”. We’re very lucky to have so many talented filmmakers in Phoenix. Bivas Biswas has been made quite a few short films I’ve really enjoyed. He was the Arizona Filmmaker of the Year in 2008. He has a lot of talent and I’ve been looking forward to a feature film. I’m excited to see it screen at the festival!
What are your three favorite movies featuring a primate in a leading role?
King Kong (1933), King Kong (1976), King Kong (2005)