With the Phoenix Film Festival and International Horror & Sci-Fi Festival kicking off in a few days, we reached out to the respective program directors, Jason Carney and Monte Yazzie to ask what people can expect from this annual cinephiles feast!

What would you say to someone who is interested but hasn’t been to a film festival before?

Jason Carney: A film festival is a great way to see a huge variety of films all in one place. From shorts to features, to documentaries, to comedies, to musicals, to dramas, to horror films, etc, etc. There is legitimately something for everyone.

Monte Yazzie: I always tell people that if you like movies, you are going to love the film festival. It’s a place for movie fans. You will watch movies with people who love movies like you do, and who understand the love film fans have for storytelling. On The International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival side of the festival, we work very hard to program something for everyone, for every taste in genre. Whether you like horror or science fiction, or a combination of both, we will have something that will suit your taste. 

How many different movies and shorts are there to choose from this year?

Jason Carney: 99 feature films and 115 short films. That adds up to 288 screenings over the 11 days.

Monte Yazzie: We have such sights to show you. We have 6 total competition films on both the horror and sci-fi side of things. Two programs each, with a total of 25 films for both horror and sci-fi short film tracks. And 13 feature showcase films that are programmed in the evenings every day of the festival. 

With so many great films to choose from, are there any that you are particularly excited about?

Jason Carney: I’m fired up for “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie”, “Give or Take”, “Definition Please” and “A Shot Through the Wall”. I’ll leave “The Night House” for Monte to pick.

Monte Yazzie: IHSFF was fortunate to work with PFF to program a new category of programming with the festival, the Centerpiece Film. We have David Bruckner’s (The Ritual and The Signal) new horror/thriller crossover THE NIGHT HOUSE. It’s a great film for both horror and non-horror fans. A few in our showcase section that will provide a diverse festival experience would be the 1990s themed paranoia thriller BROADCAST SIGNAL INTRUSION harkens 1970s and 1980s cinema. The dinner party-themed horror mood piece THE FEAST offers some great drama and some unexpected turns. Our opening night film, KEEPING COMPANY, is a humorous captivity film featuring two great lead performances. DANNI AND THE VAMPIRE wears its dark comedy on its sleeve, it’s a blast from start to finish. And the LAST MATINEE will have Giallo fans loving the color palette and movie theater vibes.

What are some of the extra events that are scheduled during the festival?

Monte Yazzie: We will have conversations with filmmakers, Industry Night for filmmaker networking, an 80’s party night, and Film Prom!!! There is so much fun to do, make sure you build time into your schedule to experience everything. 

Jason Carney: We’ve got four parties set but “Film Prom” stands out as the opportunity for the most ridiculous fun.  Plus on both Saturday mornings, bright and early at 8 am, we’ve got Coffee with Mitch where you can talk about what films you’ve seen or are interested in seeing.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Jason Carney: From top to bottom this is a great batch of films. And it’s so gratifying to have filmmakers back at the festival with us. I’ve really missed that piece of the festival.

Monte Yazzie:  Have fun, ask questions, and try something new. There is so much film to watch, so many opportunities to find your new favorite movie.

You can find the full festival schedule and ticket info HERE, or if you are feeling lucky, enter to win a flex pass HERE!