Phoenix Film Festival 2024: An Interview with Jason Carney

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail 0

The Phoenix Film Festival is back, meaning another interview with Jason Carney! We chatted about Thelma, Sing Sing, and more!

Q: The festival is kicking off its Opening Night with Sing Sing, starring Oscar nominee Colman Domingo. What can you tell me about that film?

A: I can tell you that I bet Colman is going to get another Oscar nomination. I keep hearing that he’s just better in this than he is in Rustin, and he was so electrifying in Rustin. If you’ve seen this trailer for Sing Sing, he just looks so amazing. I’m so excited for this movie.

Q: You have another high-profile closing film in Thelma starring Oscar nominee June Squibb, who recently turned 94. What can you tell us about that film?

A: It was on my feed when Sundance was going on. It was the most mentioned movie. Everybody kept saying how much they love Thelma. People are like, “June’s going to get another Oscar nomination.” People loved it. It’s funny. It’s also heartwarming and it’s just a great movie to end the festival with. And June Squibb, she’s so great and to see her and Richard Roundtree together. I think it’s really cool and it’s Roundtree’s last movie. It just feels like a perfect closer.

Q: The festival has a lot of great narrative films, but you’re also known for your documentary choices. What are some of the standouts this year?

A: We have this really cool documentary called, The Home Game, which is about a soccer team. Well, it’s about a soccer field in Iceland. This man, about 30 years ago, built a perfect grass field in Iceland, trying to find the right mix to go on the volcanic rock and all these things. He wanted to build a soccer field so they could host a big game, a big match, the FIFA Cup. And so, they put together a team and they entered, but the home team is decided by a coin flip the first round and they did not win the coin flip. So the field never got used for the big event and then from there, 30 years later, his son is trying to do the same thing that his dad did. They’re fixing the field. He’s trying to put a team together. A mix of older guys around 30, 40, and some high school kids mixed in. It’s just a really, heartwarming and fun and exciting film. I feel like it’s a great documentary when you’re rooting for a game that’s already been decided.

Q: People come to the festival for the films, but it offers so much more than that. This year, you’re doing Hip-Hop Throwbacks, playing films like 8 Mile. How did that come about?

A: We were talking to the local station. We knew some folks over there. Eric Valdez, he’s a fellow critic, about doing something like this. I worked with Monty and our team and found three different hip-hop films from three different eras. You have Beat Street in the eighties, then you go into House Party in the nineties, and then 8 Mile wraps it up on Sunday. It’s just really cool because you know hip-hop has been around so long. It’s had such a great effect on film and vice versa. To be able to put that on during the festival is really cool.

Q: What other events do you have lined up for this year’s festival?

A: We’re working on this concept called, More Than Movies. There’s so many things that film is integrated with. One of those things is stand-up comedy. So, we’re gonna have four different stand-up comics and in between each standup comic, we’re gonna have a short film that we’ve played at the festival.

Of course, we have our Saturday night Film Peom party running with a theme of Barbie. So, it’ll be pink all over.

Q: You think anyone’s gonna show up wearing black ala Oppenheimer?

A: Just to mess around. Maybe have somebody wearing black and somebody wearing pink. so, they’re a Barbenheimer couple.

Q: Obviously, you can’t talk about every movie that’s playing at the festival, but what are some others that you’re excited to share?

A: We have this movie called Babes, with Ilana Glazer, that premiered at South by Southwest. It’s very funny. Think Bridesmaids, but with pregnancy and also probably a little dirtier but also a tighter edit. It’s very funny, very, very funny. And, and she’s great. She’s been a Comedy Central star for years. This film is just right in her wheelhouse.

Another really great film that I’m excited for is Tuesday, which plays on our second Friday. That’s the the twelfth, but it’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus as you’ve never seen her before. This is another A24 movie and if you watch the trailer, you might want to throw out that trailer because this movie is a lot different, super unusual. There’s a lot of really interesting surprises. The first-time director really swung for the fences in this film. It’s probably the film that we’ve talked about the most here in the office leading up to the festival. So if that tells you anything, there’s that.

Then we have this other movie that we added not too long ago, The Idea of You. It’s the new Anne Hathaway movie coming out from Amazon. That movie is just really. There are some great dramatic moments and really tender ones. I think the trailers may be a little fluffier than the film is, but it’s really good. Great writing and a couple of great performances of course, including Anne Hathaway, who’s playing a mom of a teenager, which is crazy to me. But there you go. That’s part of the twist, I guess.

Q: It’s the festival’s 24th year. Just another year and the festival will be a quarter of a century old. How do you think the festival has evolved since you guys first started?

A: We were three days back in the day. Now we’re eleven days. I think we’re pushing 200 and we’re getting close to 290 screening events this year. So many different films to choose from. I think we have 97 features and 160 short films. I think that size is a big difference. We’ve evolved in terms of the quality of films we’ve played over the years. We were scrambling for films early on and now we’re at the point where, you know, couple years ago we had CODA, and this year having Sing Sing and Thelma. I think that really speaks to our growth as a festival.

The Phoenix Film Festival takes place from April 4 to April 14, 2024. For tickets and more details, venture here.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail 0
This entry was posted in Features, News, Previews and tagged , , on by .

About Nick Spake

Nick Spake has been working as an entertainment writer for the past ten years, but he's been a lover of film ever since seeing the opening sequence of The Lion King. Movies are more than just escapism to Nick, they're a crucial part of our society that shape who we are. He now serves as the Features Editor at Flickreel and author of its regular column, 'Nick Flicks'.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.