The 2015 Phoenix Comicon is over and the cosplayers have all gone home. The color and vibrancy that energized the Phoenix Convention Center is no more and the building has returned to its ugly, smelly former state. I can say without hesitation that this has been the best Phoenix Comicon I have attended and I haven’t missed one since I first attended in 2010. This year wasn’t completely without its problems of course, but the Comicon Film Festival volunteers did a great job of putting together a very diverse selection of films. I want to take this opportunity to recognize the volunteers that make the film festival happen every year at Comicon. This was the first year the Phoenix Comicon Film Festival charged an entry fee, and that was a tough decision. Surprisingly, film programming is way down on the list of Comicon priorities and the film fest volunteers are mostly left to fend for themselves. The equipment they have to use is ancient, outdated and clunky. The film programmers and volunteers do the best they can with what they have, and keeping filmmakers happy is a very difficult job. Things don’t always go perfectly but I have yet to attend a festival that did. All of the films that were in a file format and played through VLC looked and sounded great to me.

It may not be very long before the necessity of including the film festival portion of Comicon is determined strictly by its economic viability. I see it happening elsewhere regarding film festivals and it is unfortunate. The Phoenix Comicon Film Festival is a very vital venue for all of us, to experience indie filmmaking and to view and sample filmmaking trends and styles from around the globe. I spend almost every hour of every day that Comicon takes place in the screening room watching every film; the good and the bad. I am looking forward to what next year has in store. Here are the winners of the 2015 Phoenix Comicon Film Festival and The Phoenix Comicon Film Challenge. The 2015 Phoenix Comicon Film Festival films received the following awards:

First place and 200.00 – Batgirl Rises directed by Vincent Tran, Riyaana Hartley
Second place and 100.00 – The Looking Planet directed by Thom Southerland
Third place and 50.00 – Grape Soda directed by Justin Robinson
Best Documentary – By Spoon! The Jay Meisel Story directed by Anthony Desiato
Best Horror – Mr. Dentonn directed by Ivan Villamel (Spain)
Best Science Fiction – Focus directed by Matt Chesin
Best Fan Film – Halloween Night Terror directed by Dave Hastings (UK)
Best Music Video – Ardoyne directed by Philip Clayton-Thompson (UK)
Best International Film – Alekto directed by Thomas Kaufmann
Best Comedy – Dad In Mum directed by Fabrice Bracq (France)
Best Drama – Narcissist directed by Eric Casaccio
Best Action/Suspense – A Way Out directed by Jason Tostevin
Best Animated Film – Sumer directed by Alvaro Garcia
Best Web Series – The Peacekeepers directed by Charlie Reeves
Best Young Artisan – Mr. McBob and The Sad Snowman directed by Pierre Schantz

44 teams entered the 2015 Phoenix Comicon Film Challenge, 20 films were submitted and 10 films were selected for screening. The challenge requirements were simple but quite unique in that they required the filmmakers to utilize one of four different classical music scores for their soundtrack and the film had to include an obscure piece of Star Wars® merchandise in some way. At a later date, the winning film will be screened with the La Forza Chamber Orchestra performing the films soundtrack live. The 2015 Phoenix Comicon Film Challenge films received the following awards:

First place: “Spur” directed by James Alire – Running Wild Films
Second place: “Rogue Animal” directed by Adolopho Navarro – N’raged Media
Third place: “I, Super Hero” directed by Sean Oliver – Third Productions
Best use of music went to: “Between The Trees” directed by Winter Kane – Eventually Films