The Arizona International Film Festival is now in its 25th year of bringing the work of independent filmmakers to the people of Tucson. Now through May 1, moviegoers will be treated to work from independent filmmakers hailing from 25 countries.
The festival kicked off April 14 with a docket of 88 shorts, animated films, documentaries, and feature-length films. You can find them at 9 locations around Tucson (full list available on the film festival website).
This year, there are a few things to look for:
The Selection Committee for the festival praised the quality and diversity of the submissions this year, and you can see what they were talking about in the films that made the cut.
Documentaries represent about a third of the showings, with 27 films. War stories bring us into the world of Japanese-American internment camps in A Bitter Legacy, post-war communities in Sierra Leone turning to music for solidarity and strength in Guns to Mics, lifelong struggles to heal from PTSD in Return to Dak To, and horrifying daily realities of Afghan violence in Kandahar Journals. You’ll also find tales of overcoming adversity, as in Good Business, the story of a Cape Town entrepreneur gave people of color good-paying jobs in retail and management — long before it was legal in apartheid South Africa.
There are also plenty of offerings in drama, comedy, sci-fi, action, and horror. A coming-of-age story from Saudi Arabia pits a young girl’s love for dance — a forbidden activity — against her duty to family in Arabian Swan. A Swiss dystopian short, Don’t Mess With the Sharkies, imagines a world where humans are stamped out by a superior species. And in West Coast, 4 French teenagers decide to make the most of their last year in Brittany together by getting into as many shenanigans as possible.
And we’re not just talking about the Star Wars dogfight-in-the-cosmos variety. Special effects are now both more prevalent and subtler than ever. They’re frequently used to enhance actors’ faces and bodies in post-production. To give you an idea of what post-production is now capable of, Tucson plastic surgeon Dr. Jerold Olson lists 9 ways rhinoplasty can alter the nose — and visual effects can now achieve most of them on screen.
The bigger the budget, the more comprehensive the effects. Of course, unlike the real thing, visual effects won’t offer lasting benefits to an actor’s appearance.
At any showing, you can now purchase tickets for just that screening ($8), a bundle of 5 for $25, or an all-access pass, which costs $100. Some films are shown for free at community screenings with film panels; they’ve also grouped short films by genre or by country of origin. In many cases, the filmmaker will also be present. If you’re particularly interested in a certain film and want to make sure to get a seat, you can also head to BrownPaperTickets.com to snag your tickets in advance for most screenings.
For all the latest updates on the film festival, follow them on Twitter @AZFilmFest.
Thank you to Foothills Dermatology & Facial Plastic Surgery for sponsoring this post.