Flickreel recently had a chance to catch up with our friend Jason Carney, the director of the 2017 Phoenix Film Festival.
Q: What film playing at this year’s festival are you most excited about?
A: We have a really cool opening night movie called The Hero, which stars Sam Elliott and Nick Offerman. We picked up this film called Step, a documentary about a step dance team in their senior year at a Baltimore high school. Our closing night film is called Tommy’s Honour. It’s basically about the start of professional golf in Scotland. I’m really happy about our bookends this year.
Q: Phoenix Film Festival has been called the most filmmaker-friendly festival out there. Why do you think that is?
A: We don’t take our filmmakers for granted. That’s a big thing for us. When they come out, they’re really well taken care of. Whether they have the smallest film or the biggest film, they’re gonna get a lot of care and appreciation from our staff and our audience. It’s that bond that we create and I think that really helps our reputation. There are so many reasons!
Q: Is there anything that makes this year in particular significant for the Phoenix Film Festival?
A: There’s one big thing I think we have going on that really makes it significant. Our Friday night of the festival has six different films that are having their world premiere and we’re doing them all kind of in that seven to eight o‘clock block. That’s definitely not something we’ve done before, especially at the same time.
Q: What can you tell us about this year’s Geek Day?
A: We didn’t do it last year. Scheduling-wise it just didn’t quite pan out. So we’re really excited to bring it back. Cassandra Nicholson, who’s spent a lot of time in the geek world, is leading charge on that. We’re doing a panel or two in the party pavilion that day, focused on the geek genres out there. We’ll have a panel on horror, sci-fi, and superhero films.
Q: Are there any big names attending this year?
A: You know, I do not know yet. My goal, first and foremost, is to get the best films I can and then from there we try to work with the studio to bring out the director of talent from the film.
Q: Phoenix Film Festival offers many programs for aspiring filmmakers. What can you tell us about that?
A: When I was growing up I was involved in theater. That really motivated me not only for theater stuff, but for the rest of my days in high school. I learned so many things coming out of that art program that I still use today. You learn about teamwork, you learn about leadership, and you really create bonds with people you work with. My best friends are guys I met in high school theater 30 years ago. So if we can give students that feel, that element, just a little bit of that where they’re learning about leadership, responsibility, and teamwork. So many of those things happen when you make a film. We really want the film community in Phoenix to be strong and that starts with kids.
The 2017 Phoenix Film Festival runs from April 6-13. You can learn more about the event right here.