The first Arizona Filmmaker Showcase of 2017 took place the last Sunday of January with five films screening at Filmbar Phoenix. If there was any underlying theme tying these films together it was too subtle for anyone to notice. Some films never die while others find new life at the Arizona Filmmaker Showcase. Be sure to mark your calendars for the next Arizona Filmmaker Showcase taking place Sunday, February 19 at 6 PM.

Shave –  Sean David Christensen
One of the first short films I ever reviewed way back in 2010, ‘Shave’ is a mini doc of sorts about the young filmmakers reaction to seeing his father without his mustache for the first time. From my 2010 review: “While portraying the need for identity and association, the film is oddly disturbing and darkly morose. A story of death without death. Of murky color and suburban nightmares. Blue clear pools glistening in the Arizona sun that turn dark and dead in an instant. Dreams of life and future expired as the video tape ends and the slide projector fades. By far his darkest montage to date, “Shave” is Christensen’s tribute to his father. “Shave” is a rare gem that manages to joyfully uplift and deeply sadden at the same time.” Final Take – Cuts clean and smooth on a razor’s edge. (Watch it here)

Shade (Jokers and Aces) – jAy aLexander
A philandering hubby returns home after getting it on with his mistress. He text’s her his satisfaction like he was completing an Uber approval survey and jumps into bed with his wife. She wakes up and pounces on the cad and they get it on AZ indie style. This isn’t your typical Arizona indie garment grind either, it goes down something this: (In Barry White voice) Oh baby, I’m your percolator of love. My dark roast is heating to aromatic perfection and I’m Chock Full ‘O Nuts. I’m the cream in your caffeinated coffee baby, I’m going to be up alllllllll night…and so are you. A couple of dudes in white jumpsuits hogtie the horrible hubby, toss him in the trunk of his car and before shutting the trunk, wifey dumps a box of live mice on him (!?!?!?!). There’s drinking, there’s (lots of) driving, investment portfolios and some sultry and stylish vogueing at the Arizona Center before all the cards are dealt and hubby holds the losing hand. This is one of those fun, freaky films that constantly bounces back and forth between craptacular camerawork and stunning cinematography. Terrific start/stop/start again soundtrack and excellent locations make this wordless hip hop whodunit worth the watch. Final Take – Stacked deck. (Watch it here)

Alone – Doug Proce
A woman (Chelsea Claire) pouts while everyone around her enjoys the glitzy, vibrant nightlife of Scottsdale. Final Take – Swipe right. Nite nite. (Watch it here)

Let The Lion Bleed – Ember Crowley
A young girl submerges herself in a bathtub, and in the twilight of unconsciousness she dreams of a girl in a blue dress with her face painted as a feline. Against a brick wall, the girl licks an ice cream when another girl suddenly appears. The two girls sensuously enjoy the frozen treat; their tongues touching for a time as the dessert dribbles while they orally inosculate. Now in the post office, she shares the mystery of the universe with a boy who appears beside her, and bestows upon him her own facial features. Upbeat and endearing homoerotic romp from youthful Flagstaff filmmaker Ember Crowley with light hearted à l’âge adulte undertones. Final Take – Dripping kitty.

Innocence of Seduction – David Miller
A wild, rapid paced collage of obscure comic book characters, old radio shows and bizarre sound effects propel this trippy annimated tale of romance, war and monsters into psychedelic proportions. Although director Miller has assembled the pas de deux into a drunkenly linear story, don’t let that get in the way of just enjoying this bizarrely playful pastiche. Final Take – Dionysian delight.