The first weekend of the 2023 Phoenix Film Festival featured filmmakers from across the country collaborating under Phoenix’s brightest lights. Big names included Anna Camp, Olga Merediz, Michael J. Fox, and Ben Proudfoot.
The Festival, located at Harkins Theaters Scottsdale 101, is the 23rd celebration of the annual event. This weekend’s events included an Opening Night event with a Party Pavilion bar, the “Industry Night” meet-and-greet event, a kids’ day, and a Silent Auction to benefit the nonprofit Festival.
There was also Saturday’s classic “Film Prom” event, where filmmakers and actors wore their finest attire to meet fans, ate chocolate coconut bars, and danced the night away.
There’s still time to catch a movie or event at the Festival, which runs through April 2.
Here’s a list of the biggest upcoming releases and events, including appearances from Stephen Curry, Molly Ringwald, Judy Blume, Nicholas Hoult, and Nicolas Cage.
Synopses are drawn from the Phoenix Film Festival website phoenixfilmfestival.com.
The Last Movie Ever Made
With the world about to end, Marshall convinces a group of friends and strangers to help finish the sci-fi movie he abandoned in high school. Directed by Nathan Blackwell, this film features actors Adam Rini, Megan Hughes Rini, and Craig Curtis.
Screening Times: Monday, March 27 at 7:10pm; Saturday, April 1 at 11:25am
“Kindling” follows a group of young men who return to their home town in order to turn their friend's final days into a celebration of life and friendship. Directed by Connor O'Hara, this film features actors George Somner, Conrad Khan, and Wilson Mbomio.
Screening Times: Monday, March 27 at 7:00pm; Tuesday, March 28 at 12:20pm
It Ain’t Over
Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra is one of baseball’s greatest. He amassed ten World Series rings, 3 MVP awards and 18 All-Star Game appearances. He caught the only perfect game in World Series history. Yet for many his deserved stature was overshadowed by his simply being himself and being more recognized more for his unique personality, TV commercial appearances and unforgettable “Yogi-isms,” initially head-scratching philosophical nuggets that make a lot more sense the more you think about them. In telling the whole story, It Ain’t Over gives Berra his due in following the life of a savvy, commanding, bad-ball hitting catcher with a squat frame but also a D-Day veteran, loving husband and father and, yes, product endorser and originator (mostly) of his own brand of proverbs now ingrained into everyday life. “It Ain’t Over” is directed by Sean Mullin.
Screening Time: Tuesday, March 28 at 7:00pm
Inspired by the incredible true story of composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. The illegitimate son of an African slave and a French plantation owner, Bologne rises to improbable heights in French society as a celebrated violinist-composer and fencer, complete with an ill-fated love affair and a falling out with Marie Antoinette and her court. Directed by Stephen William, this feature film stars Kelvin Harrison Jr., Samara Weaving, Lucy Boynton, and Minnie Driver.
Screening Time: Wednesday, March 29 at 7:00pm
A single father dedicates the last few months of his life to finding a new family for his four-year-old son. Directed by Uberto Pasolini, this film stars James Norton, Daniel Lamont, Eileen O’Higgins, Valerie O’Connor, and Stella McCusker.
Screening Times: Tuesday, March 28 at 10:00am; Thursday, March 30 at 7:10pm
“Johnny Z” is a horror-action feature film about a half human, half zombie named Johnny who, under the guidance of a martial arts master seeks vengeance on the evil corporation that created him. Directed by Jonathan Straiton, this film stars Micheal Merchant, Felix Cortes, David E McMahon, Jason Delgado, Ellie Church, Trey Harrison, Wayne W. Johnson, Billy Garberina, and Ron Bonk.
Screening Times: Friday, March 31 at 9:15am; Saturday, April 1 at 12:45pm
Stephen Curry: Underrated
The remarkable coming-of-age story of one of the most influential, dynamic and unexpected players in the history of basketball: Stephen Curry. This feature documentary – blending intimate cinema verité, archival footage and on camera interviews – documents Curry’s rise from an undersized college player at a tiny backwater Division I college to a four-time NBA champion, building one of the most dominant sports dynasties in the world. Directed by Peter Nicks, this film is a documentary starring Stephen Curry.
Screening Time: Friday, March 31 at 7:00pm
When a downtrodden young waitress buys a stolen cell phone and discovers a snuff film on it, she soon finds herself on the run from a maniacal madman with a hunting knife who is hellbent on getting it back, and willing to slaughter anyone who stands in his way. Directed by Jake Helgren, the cast includes Dana Davis, Chris Gann, Deon Richmond, and Tiffany Shepis.
Screening Times: Friday, March 31 8:40pm; Saturday, April 1 at 9:15am
Judy Blume Forever
Generations of readers have found themselves in a Judy Blume book. Her name alone launches a flood of memories for anyone who’s gripped one of her many paperbacks. For decades, Blume’s radical honesty has comforted and captivated readers – and landed her at the center of controversy for her frankness about puberty and sex. Now the beloved American author candidly shares her own coming-of-age story. This movie is directed by Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok, and stars Judy Blume, Molly Ringwald, and Samantha Bee.
Screening Time: Saturday, April 1 at 7:00pm
Evil doesn’t span eternity without a little help. In this modern monster tale of Dracula’s loyal servant, Nicholas Hoult stars as Renfield, the tortured aide to history’s most narcissistic boss, Dracula (Nicolas Cage). Renfield is forced to procure his master’s prey and do his every bidding, no matter how debased. But now, after centuries of servitude, Renfield is ready to see if there’s a life outside the shadow of The Prince of Darkness. If only he can figure out how to end his codependency. This film directed by Chris McKay is the final movie of the Festival and will surely be a sellout.
Screening Time: Sunday, April 2 at 7:15pm