The 4th Annual Peoria Film Fest arrives at Harkins Theatres Arrowhead Fountains 18 in Peoria, Ariz. from Thursday, Oct. 13 to Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, as it brings independent movies to Phoenix’s West Valley. The Phoenix Film Foundation is proud to bring this cinematic event to Peoria, and ArtHouseFilmWire conversed over email with Fest Executive Director Jason Carney.
Jason spoke about the Fest’s connection with Peoria and the West Valley, four movies in the busy lineup, Opening Night’s cocktail party, and much more!
You can check out the Fest’s schedule, ways to buy tickets, and more at https://www.peoriafilmfest.com. We’ll see you there!
(Note, a new addition, “Raymond & Ray”, starring two half-brothers reconnecting at the dad’s funeral, starring Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke, screens on Friday, Oct. 14 at 7:15pm.)
AHFW: The Peoria Film Fest is enjoying its 4th year in 2022. What do you love about this festival?
JC: I really love the festival’s connection with the City of Peoria. A big part of this festival is that it’s connected with the nearby communities, particularly Peoria as well as the neighboring cities. The city has been a great partner with this event, and I’m excited that we’re able to give Peoria residents a nice discount as well as provide a free family screening of “How to Train Your Dragon”.
AHFW: What are some movies that you are excited to screen this year?
JC: It’s a really strong lineup with so many films about people we can relate to. It’s a nice common theme throughout the festival.
I’m excited for Opening Night with “The Same Storm” which is directed by Peter Hedges (“Dan in Real Life” (2007), “Pieces of April” (2003)), who weaves together a story shot during COVID with a magnificent ensemble cast, including Sandra Oh, Mary-Louise Parker, and Ron Livingston. There are many elements that we can all connect with, and (it) also gives a sense of hope.
Closing Night is great with “The Return of Tanya Tucker: Featuring Brandi Carlile”. This documentary is framed fantastically by telling the story of Tanya Tucker’s life while making a new album with singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile whom Tucker was a great influence. From a personal perspective, I think about how cool it would be to work with a role model or mentor and help them make a return or to get to collaborate with them. We get to see Brandi Carlile live that out.
“Four Samosas” is such a fun film. It’s filled with a young, dynamic charming Indian cast in a movie that is stylistically “Clerks” meets “Napoleon Dynamite” meets Wes Anderson meets “Reservoir Dogs”.
One more. “Bad Axe” is a powerful documentary about an Asian-American family who owns a restaurant in rural Michigan (while) living through 2020. From the mental and economic events of COVID through racial overtones of the Black Lives Matter Movement and then onto the 2020 election. All of those things bring up so many emotions for all of us (who) lived through that year and how it brought this family together.
AHFW: Is the Peoria Film Fest one of the few opportunities for West Valley Phoenix residents to attend a film festival in their backyard? Is there a reason why it’s a fall festival?
JC: Yes. That’s one of the reasons (that we started) this event. There aren’t as many cultural opportunities for folks in the growing Northwest Valley, so we wanted to give them an opportunity to experience great independent films. We chose fall because it balances out our year as an organization: Phoenix Film Festival in the spring and Peoria Film Festival in the fall. It’s a nice couple of bookends on the film calendar.
AHFW: The Harkins Theatres Arrowhead Fountains 18 hosts the event. Are all the movies shown in this one location? Is it a far drive from the East Valley?
JC: Everything is all in location. Of course, Harkins Arrowhead is a gorgeous theatre and having all the films in one location makes it easy to go from film to film during the festival. You can spend the weekend cramming in as many (movies) as (possible) and sustain yourself with Harkins concessions. I can’t think of too many better ways to spend a weekend. Not too far at all; I’ve timed it. It’s only 20 minutes from our Phoenix Film Festival home at the Harkins Scottsdale 101 over to Harkins Arrowhead Theatres. Easy peasy and well worth the short commute.
AHFW: Is it better to purchase a festival pass or individual tickets?
JC: The Festival Pass is a great value. You can see nine films for just $40. And if you’re a student, senior, or Peoria resident, discounts are available that make it an even bigger steal.
AHFW: Does the festival show movies only, or is there a social event?
JC: Not only do we have films but the Opening Night Event, which features a cocktail party at Abuelo’s before the Opening Night film. But there’s also the special part of having filmmakers in attendance which leads me to your next question.
AHFW: Will some filmmakers attend the festival, as well?
JC: Yes! It’s very exciting. We anticipate having four feature films represented along with ten short films whose filmmakers will be attending. It’s always great to listen to the Q&As with the filmmakers. It’s what separates a film festival from just going to the movies. It’s a great part of the experience.
Image credits: Peoria Film Fest, Harkins Theatres, Jason Carney, Sony Pictures Classics, IFC Films