Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is the Phoenix Film Festival's Saturday Night Event!

The Phoenix Film Festival is proud to present 2015 Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Audience Awards winning Me and Earl and the Dying Girl as our Saturday night Event!


Me and Earl and the Dying GirlMe and Earl (1024x683)

Directed by: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Run Time: 105 Minutes

Cast: Connie Britton, Nick Offerman, Jon Bernthal, Thomas Mann and Olivia Cooke

Synopsis: Winner of the 2015 Sundance Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award, ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL is the story of Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann), an awkward high school senior whose mom forces him to spend time with Rachel - a girl in his class (Olivia Cooke) whom he hasn't spoken to since kindergarten - who was just diagnosed with cancer.


We are very excited to have Me and Earl and the Dying Girl as our Saturday Night event! Please get your tickets early  because this one will sell out!

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The Phoenix Film Festival is proud to announce Danny Collins as our Opening Night Film!

20130725_Imagined_0254.CR2The Phoenix Film Festival is proud to announce that our Opening Night Film is Danny Collins. Inspired by a true story, Al Pacino stars as aging 1970s rocker Danny Collins, who can't give up his hard-living ways. But when his manager (Christopher Plummer) uncovers a 40 year-old undelivered letter written to him by John Lennon, he decides to change course and embarks on a heartfelt journey to rediscover his family, find true love and begin a second act. Danny Collins also stars Annette Bening, Christopher Plummer, Jennifer Garner and Bobby Cannavale.

Once again, our opening night film will be shown in conjunction with our Opening night Kickoff Party on March 26, a full night of food and celebration, beginning at the Party Pavilion with tastes from some of the best restaurants in town, great entertainment and some special silent auction items.

Then it's over to the theatre where the Phoenix Film Festival will present its 2015 Visionary Award. Past Visionary Award recipients include Dan Harkins, Bob Oldfather from Bookmans and Dr. Sydney Shapiro.

Following the presentation of the Visionary Award, we will begin our Opening Night Film, Danny Collins.

Tickets for this Opening Night Event are $60 with all proceeds going to the Phoenix Film Foundation's education programs.

Please note that the Opening Night Event is not included in Single Tickets, Flex, Festival and VIP Passes.

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Growing Up Baumbach: A Tribute to Noah Baumbach's 20 Years in Film

As part of the Phoenix Film Festival this year we'll be presenting "Growing Up Baumbach: A Tribute to Noah Baumbach's 20 Years in Film". We will be celebrating Noah's 20 years in film highlighting his work from The High School Years (Squid and the Whale), End of College (Kicking and Screaming), Late 20's, Confusion and Finding Yourself (Frances Ha), and lastly finally becoming an Adult (While We're Young). On Monday, March 30 at 7pm, the Phoenix Film Festival presents The The Squid and the Whale imageSquid and the Whale.  Starring Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney and Owen Kline, and based on the true childhood experiences of Noah Baumbach and his brother, The Squid and the Whale tells the touching story of two young boys dealing with their parents' divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

Kicking and Screaming imageOn Tuesday, March 31 at 7pm, we will be showing Kicking and Screaming starring Josh Hamilton, Eric Stoltz and Samuel Gould. After college graduation, Grover's girlfriend Jane tells him she's moving to Prague to study writing. Grover declines to accompany her, deciding instead to move in with several friends, all of whom can't quite work up the inertia to escape their university's pull. Nobody wants to make any big decisions that would radically alter his life, yet none of them wants to end up like Chet, the professional student who tends bar and is in his tenth year of university studies. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

Frances Ha ImageOn Wednesday, April 1 at 7pm we have the critically acclaimed Frances Ha starring Greta Gerwig Mickey Sumner and Adam Driver. Frances lives in New York, but she doesn't really have an apartment. Frances is an apprentice for a dance company, but she's not really a dancer. Frances has a best friend named Sophie, but they aren't really speaking anymore. Frances throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possible reality dwindles. Frances wants so much more than she has but lives her life with unaccountable joy and lightness. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

While Were Young 1Finally, our closing night film on Thursday, April 2 at 7pm is Baumbach's latest film While We're Young. Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts are Josh and Cornelia Srebnick, happily married middle-aged members of New York's creative class.  They tried to start a family and were unable to  and have decided they're okay with that. But as Josh labors over the umpteenth edit of his cerebral new film, it's plain that he has hit a dry patch and that something is still missing. Enter Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried), a free-spirited young couple, who are spontaneous and un-tethered, ready to drop everything in pursuit of their next passion  retro board games one day, acquiring a pet chicken the next. For Josh, it's as if a door has opened back to his youth  or a youth he wishes he once had. It's not long before the restless forty-somethings, Josh and Cornelia, throw aside friends their own age  including Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz in a sly supporting role  to trail after these young hipsters who seem so plugged in, so uninhibited, so Brooklyn cool. "Before we met," Josh admits to Jamie, "the only two feelings I had left were wistful and disdainful." But is this new inspiration enough to sustain collaboration and friendship with a couple twenty years their junior? While We're Young is an openly funny cross-generational comedy of manners about aging, ambition and success, as well as a moving portrait of a marriage tested by the invading forces of youth. No film has better captured the weird, upended logic of urban sophisticates: the older ones embracing their iPads and Netflix, the young ones craving vinyl records and vintage VHS tapes.  CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

FREE Concert by Duran Duran tribute band Rio -- Saturday night at the 2015 PFF

duran-duran-small Saturday Night, March 29, 2015 at 9:30PM, it's all happening!

Please, Please tell me now!

Is There Something I Should Know?


This may be Planet Earth (ba ba ba bu ba ba ba ba), but Saturday night March 28 at the 2015 Phoenix Film Festival will be no Ordinary World with the addition of Rio, the Duran Duran tribute band!

Festival pros know the place to be (when you're not at a film, of course) is the Notorious Party Pavilion, but we're going bigger than ever this year with the addition of The Wild Boys of Rio.

So when you're not watching Girls on Film, you need to be at Phoenix's Big Thing: Rio at the 2015 Phoenix Film Festival.

Union of the Snake. (pretty much impossible to fit in to a sentence, but a totally necessary reference for this post)


AARP Presents Movies for Grownups at the 2015 Phoenix Film Festival

AARP Movies for Grownups recognizes films and performances that resonate with the 50+ movie-going audience. Movies for Grownups appears in each issue of AARP The Magazine, online at with weekly reviews and special features, and offer in- person opportunities to see films through regional film festivals and individual movie screenings. For more information, CLICK HERE or email

Here is the lineup of AARP Movies for Grownups at the 2015 Phoenix Film Festival:

Manglehorn Screening Date: Friday, March 27th at 7:00pm Our Friday Night Event film stars Al Pacino and Holly Hunter and for good measure we bring in David Gordon Green for this special event. Join us for the film and a post- screening Q&A with director David Gordon Green and hosted by AARP’s Meg Grant.

While We Were Young Screening Date: Thursday, April 2nd at 7:30pm The latest film from director, Noah Baumbach stars Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried. Join us for a post-screening Q&A with actor, Ryan Serhant at the Closing Night Film. Find out all about this and other Noah Baumbach films playing on page 37.

Desert Dancer Screening Date: Wednesday, April 1st at 7:20pm This anticipated film tells the true story of a group of dancers in Tehran who risk their lives and form an underground dance company. Inspired by these newfound heroes like Michael Jackson, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev, they stage their own performances and uncover a passion for dance and one another.

Danny Collins Screening Date: Thursday, March 26th at 6pm Danny Collins will be screening as part of our Opening Night Premiere Event. The film stars Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale and Chrisopher Plummer. Attending the film will be director, Dan Fogelman who will participate in a conversation at the screening. More details about this event are available by clicking HERE.

Slow West Screening Date: Tuesday, March 26th at 7:20pm Fresh off its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival is the latest film starring Michael Fassbender. A film set at the end of the nineteenth century about a 16 year-old who journeys across the American frontier in search of the woman he loves.

 Best of Enemies Screening Dates: Tuesday, March 31st at 9:10pm and Thursday, April 2nd at 5:00pm A riveting documentary about the 1968 televised debates of Gore Vidal and William F Buckley Jr. The film recently premiered at Sundance at features the voices of Kelsey Grammar and John Lithgow.

Your Favorite Movies - Liz Manashil

What are Your Favorite Films?

For the 2015 Phoenix Film Festival we encourage you to Find YOUR New Favorite Movie! We have asked filmmakers who will be screening their films at this year’s festival about some of their favorite movies.


Liz Manashil headshotLiz Manashil, writer/director of PFF Feature Competition film BREAD AND BUTTER, will be in attendance for all three PFF screenings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Check the schedule here. And, if that weren’t enough, she has shared a few of her fave films with us!


  • Favorite Comedy

BROADCAST NEWS is my favorite movie of all time and it also happens to be a comedy. I think Jane Craig is one of the best female characters ever written and there are scenes in this movie that I actually have based life decisions off of because I feel so in sync with what it's trying to say. Plus, it's absolutely hilarious. Also, best casting ever. "I think we have the kind of friendship where if I were the devil, you'd be the only one I would tell."


  • Favorite Drama

THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO. It's more of a comedy drama and it's by one of my favorite directors, Whit Stillman. I love how subtle and unpredictable each of the characters are. I also love the overarching theme of not wanting time to move on, not wanting to get older, not wanting to move past "disco." It's a great, underappreciated movie. Also ROCKY has to be on the list as well, because... it's Rocky!


  • Favorite Documentary

THE CRUISE. Bennett Miller has recently transitioned to fiction, as of late, and there are scads and scads of documentaries that I love, but this one gives me a little bit of doc street cred because it's not as well known as the host of others I could mention. A fantastic movie about a New York bus tour guide that allows you to see the beauty in things you might pass over upon first viewing.


  • What film(s) are you looking forward to seeing at PFF 2015 (besides your own of course!!)?

A good friend of mine is screening his short VALIANT at PFF, and I haven't seen it yet!


  • What is a favorite film that you think most people have never seen, but should?

TUSK and FRIGHT NIGHT (both versions). It's a little bit of a joke with me, but I bring up these movies all the time. I think they are really well done and capture a great medium ground between camp, horror and comedy, that isn't often depicted. Also, they're just fun. Sometimes you need a ridiculous movie to get you out of a mood slump.


  • Do you have a favorite film poster?Stolen Kisses

One of my favorite movies of all time is STOLEN KISSES by Francois Truffaut. The poster is hanging in my hallway and I love it. BREAD AND BUTTER is about thirty year-old AMELIA KARINSKY – who obsessed with her virginity, struggles to take control of her life when two emotionally arrested men fall for her. BREAD AND BUTTER chronicles how Amelia learns that independence is more important than a mismatched romance.


Among many accolades, The Valley Star declares that, “Bread and Butter” charms as it effectively demonstrates the flaws and instability in romance, assuring viewers that they are not alone in their weirdness or intricate love affairs.”


Liz tells us that Bread and Butter world-premiered at Woodstock Film festival, won Best Feature at Big Apple Film Festival and has been traveling around the country for the past few months ~ and will continue to do so until the film’s release in July 2015. “Stay tuned for details, and sign up for our mailing list on our website!”

  • Laurie Smith



Your Favorite Movies - Khalil Sullins

Khalil_Sullins_Director_01colorWhat are Your Favorite Films?

For the 2015 Phoenix Film Festival we encourage you to Find YOUR New Favorite Movie! This week, we shift gears as we get dangerously close to PFF 2015, and transmogrify (OK, that word doesn’t necessarily work here, but it’s a cool word nevertheless) from our esteemed alumni to ask filmmakers who will be screening their films at this year’s festival about some of their favorite movies.


Khalil Sullins, is the writer/director of LISTENING – a Feature Competition film at PFF 2015. LISTENING screens Friday, Saturday and Sunday (see PFF 2015 schedule for details). Khalil and/or producer Pardis Sullins (Khalil’s wife, producer, and partner in crime), and one of the film’s lead actors, Artie Ahr will be in attendance for a Q&A after each screening.


Khalil offers his favorite films here …


  • Favorite Comedy

I love THE BIG LEBOWSKI. I'm a big Coen Brothers fan in general, but I've probably seen THE BIG LEBOWSKI more than any of their other films because it's so hilarious. I also love Jeff Bridges and the great Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler novels and radio plays, and throwing The Dude into that scenario is just genius.


  • Favorite Drama

My friends make fun of me because I like everything. I like to think I know what a miracle it is to get a film made, so I tend to over-appreciate movies, and it makes it hard for me to ever pick an all time favorite. So, I'll say one of my favorite recent dramas was PRISONERS by Denis Villeneuve. The way the tension carries and the moral dilemmas play out is fantastic, and Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, and all the actors are just incredible.


  • Favorite Documentary

I think we've been in a golden age of docs for some time now. There are so many good ones in just the past fifteen years. I've always been inspired by Errol Morris' interview techniques. He lets his subjects fill the awkward silences rather than shoot off more questions, and his "Interrotron" invention produces such a heightened intimacy. THE FOG OF WAR is maybe my favorite film of his.


  • What film(s) are you looking forward to seeing at PFF 2015 (besides your own of course!!)?

ANGEL OF NANJING looks really interesting. I overcame some fairly severe depression as a child, and often credit my dad with saving my life. He's my "angel" in that way, and the story of this man in China saving people on a bridge looks very compelling.


  • What is a favorite film that you think most people have never seen, but should?

I'm a big David Fincher fan, and ZODIAC doesn't get enough love. That movie is intense, and hilarious, and he combines those two things like no one else.


  • Do you have a favorite film poster?

I love the fan-made poster trend. The screen-saver on my Apple TV right now is a collection of various Star Wars fan posters. This is a great set:trilogy LISTENING is a sci-fi thriller about penniless grad students who invent mind-reading technology that destroys their lives and threatens the future of free will itself. It's really about communication, relationships, and technology, and is told as a domestic drama where the stakes keep rising until it's a full-blown thriller and the world hangs in the balance.

It's chock full of great new talent and shot in over thirty locations around the globe.


Khalil tells us that LISTENING has a bunch of festivals lined up after Phoenix and they plan to release the film later this year.

– Laurie Smith

My Favorite Phoenix Film Festival Discoveries by Michael Clawson

  by Michael Clawson of Terminal Volume


The best part about film, filmmaking or this grander idea that is the capital-C Cinema, is discovery. Finding something — be it a hidden joke buried in dialogue, your new favorite actor, or a whole bloody film buried in a hidden corner of the world — has always been part of the fun. Because when you discover something, you get to own it for a brief window of time before the rest of the world piles on.


I’ve had a number of moments of discovery at the Phoenix Film Festival over the years. Here are a couple that stood out for me:


Layout 1A Town Called Panic — I saw A Town Called Panic at what must have been a 10 or 11 p.m. showing at the 2010 festival. The theater was maybe half full, and I don’t think anyone was quite ready for this quirky stop-motion film about characters named Cowboy, Indian and Horse. The premise is zany: it’s Horse’s birthday, so his roommates go online to order 50 bricks, but due to a keyboard snafu they accidentally order 50 million bricks. The bricks start coming in a huge caravan of delivery trucks, which is only the beginning of this ridiculously fun French film. It’s after movies like this you realize how important film festival are, because without one how else would anyone have seen A Town Called Panic?


Dom Hemingway — Richard Shepard’s impishly vile Dom Hemingway exploded off the screen at last year’s festival. Nothing can really prepare you for it; it just smacks you in the face from the first scene onward. And Jude Law, as the bad-boy ex-con who attempts his imperial swagger outside of prison, is perfect. I named it one of my favorite films of last year, and yet when I mentioned it to people they shrugged their shoulders, “What’s that?” It opened wide later, but largely disappeared, which meant that everyone who saw it at the festival was in on a big, wonderful secret.

3514-The House That Jack Built-1

The House That Jack Built — Here’s another one from the 2014 festival that blew me away. Henry Barrial’s crime drama was pitch perfect with an exquisite cast, fantastic dialogue and a fully realized script. About a man who’s trying to control a criminal empire at the same time as his family, The House That Jack Built was an awesome find during a really strong year at the festival.


Terri and Cyrus — John C. Reilly is one of the greats, both in drama and comedy. In both of these films, both of which premiered at the Phoenix Film Festival, he toes a dangerous line between comedy and tragedy, playful humor and dark. In Terri, he befriends an outcast at a high school. And in Cyrus, he falls in love with a woman with a grown child who clings a little too close to home. Both pictures are magnificent, and awkward and weirdly serious.


The Movie HeroThe Movie Hero — In 2003, during one of my first festivals, I happened to catch The Movie Hero, Brad T. Gottfred’s meta-comedy about a man who is convinced he’s starring in his own movie. The man, and Movie Hero, is played by Clueless co-star Jeremy Sisto, who spends much of the movie dialoging with the audience. It’s all bonkers, with lots of citing of movie cliches and tropes, but it works and works well. It was a fun find.


The Joe Show — Every Arizonan has an opinion of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, which is what made Randy Murray’s eviscerating documentary so much fun. Audience members seemed to be nodding or shaking their heads as the film played out with Joe riling his pink-underwear-wearing prisoners, baiting the local and national media and singing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” It’s always fun to watch the Arizona-themed shows in Arizona because the audience always has a stake in what’s happening.

Son of Rambow

Son of Rambow — I still smile when talking about Son of Rambow, about a precocious kid who treks off into the woods to remake his own version of Rambo: First Blood. Movies about movie are always great, but so are movies about movies with kids.


Best Worst Movie — The documentary features are always worth checking out, because the subject matter goes to and fro, and you never know what you’ll end up with. In Best Worst Movie, director Michael Stephensen examines the awfulness and ultimate legacy of Troll 2, a film many people call the worst film ever made. I think there’s an art to bad movies, so the movie works on two levels: it’s a great movie about a bad one.