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Phoenix Film Festival
Cued Up For Sweet 16

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The 16th Annual Phoenix Film Festival Lineup Includes Indie and Sci-Fi Darlings Like Midnight Special, High Rise, Welcome To Happiness And More


By Ryan Scott
Modern Times Magazine

March 17, 2016 Sure, Park CIty, Utah has the internationally renowned Sundance Film Festival, but it’s not the only U.S. city that knows how to highlight quality films.

The time has come once again for Arizonans to get ready for their state’s premier showcase of motion pictures April 7 to 14 as the Phoenix Film Festival is gearing up for its 16th year, which will once again take place at the Harkins Scottsdale 101, 7000 E. Mayo Blvd., Scottsdale.

Last year, the festival saw more than 20,000 people attend the festival over eight days, making it easily the largest film festival in the state of Arizona. It also may be the coolest considering that it was named one of “The 25 Coolest Film Festivals” by MovieMaker Magazine. And that’s not just lip service as the festival definitely provides something for literally everyone over the course of its run.

Between “kids day,” “industry night,” “geek day,” local competitions, the International Horror and Sci-Fi Festival and loads more, there are plenty of attractions for film fans of any stripe to enjoy. Last year, offerings ranged from a world premiere screening of the Disney Nature documentary Monkey Kingdom to the Sundance darling Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.

The festival also offers what may be a very welcomed temporary departure from the typical Hollywood offerings for the given time of year. The blockbuster movie season kicked off around March and doesn’t end until August, so getting to take in some films that aren’t so “big city destruction” focused or comic book super fight centric is a breath of fresh air for many film buffs. Not to mention fans can mingle with many of the filmmakers and people involved at Q&A’s, handshake sessions, selfie opportunities and things of that sort.

Though the entire lineup of films hasn’t been announced yet, the current slate is definitely as enticing and diverse as ever. A couple of the bigger titles that stand out are the Jeff Nichols sci-fi offering Midnight Special, which stars Michael Shannon and Adam Driver as men who both have a vested interest in a young boy with mysterious and special powers. Also, the Tom Hiddleston-headlined High Rise will be on the schedule. The film boasts a lot of buzz and has a couple of very memorable trailers to boot.

Beyond that, this year’s competition features category includes Beyond Glory, Coming Through The Rye, Dating Daisy, A Light Beneath Their Feet, Jessica, No Greater Love, Operator, Rwanda & Juliet, Since: The Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and Welcome to Happiness. The International Sci-Fi and Horror Festival Features include The Dark Tapes, Dead Body, Displacement, Night of Something Strange, Parallel and Teleios.

Many more films will be announced as the schedule firms up and festival approaches.

Passes and tickets to the festival are currently on sale with prices ranging from $13 for a single-screening ticket to $300 for an all-access platinum pass and everything in between. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the website at
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