PFFF 2008

Chandler Cinemas
2140 N. Arizona Ave, Chandler
Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Thanks to everyone who came out for the festival on Saturday. We hope you had as much of a blast as we did. In particular, thanks also to the Chandler Cinemas for hosting the event and being so gracious, to our guests: R.A. Mihailoff (Leatherface), Count Smokula, Strange Family Circus, Brain Damage Films, and all the film makers – without whom this festival would not even be possible.


  • Best Feature: Sick Girl (Dir: Eben McGarr)
  • Best Short: Cheerbleeders (Dir: Peter Podgursky)
  • Audience Favorite: Genital Genocide (Dir: Doug Gehl)

A week has passed, and we can finally smell popcorn without wanting to throw up. 🙂 But looking back, we had a blast and certainly hope everyone that was there – guests, film-makers and attendees – enjoyed the event as much as we did. Make no mistake, there is a lot of work that goes into putting on a festival, but when we see the audience engrossed in the flicker from the magic lantern, it’s all worthwhile.

Ready for action: wanna buy a T-shirt?

Mad props, first and foremost, to Chandler Cinemas, who were a perfect venue for the event – much as we loved the Paper Heart, taping garbage bags to the window there for two hours, to try and make it dark enough for movie-watching, is not something we miss. Andrea and Matt were perfect hosts, tirelessly responding to our every need: our vendors and guests set up in the foyer, while we occupied Screen 4 – what we called The JFK Theater, because it’s “Back and to the left… Back and to the left…”

Thanks next, to all the film-makers who showed up: it was great to meet them all, and we were honored that so many had made the effort to attend. The Sick Girl crew signed up as soon as they heard we have Cracker Barrel here in Arizona, while the makers of Raising Cleveland drove all the way from San Diego to see their short movie on a big screen. The Genital Genocide crew were present in force, and we were also graced by the director, producer and a good number of the cast for Brain Damage: Bloodletting, for the world premiere of their feature.

All the way from San Diego for Raising Cleveland

Outside the movies being screened, we had some other guests. The fabulous Count Smokula entertained the crowd between sessions; the Strange Family Circus came on before Bloodletting with their carnival freakshow. Meanwhile, Studio Hadra and Scooter Harris set up their graphic novels and artwork in the lobby, alongside RA Mihailoff, who played Leatherface in the third Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie. They were kept busy, not just with film festival attendees, but those in the complex to see the Rocky Horror and Lobster Man From Mars shows, going on the same night. It all helped add to the spirit of fun.

L-to-R: Mihailoff, Harris, Steven Strange (bottom)
Count Smokula and Mother Fakir

We didn’t get to see many of the films on the day – well, not from inside the theater. Jim spent most of the day in the projection booth, swapping out movies and dealing with various technical issues, while Chris was out front, being the public face of the festival. However, we did sneak in occasionally, to see what the reaction to the films were – happy to report that almost all of them provoked the same response in viewers, that we had when we screened them as submissions. This time round, we had allowed a bit more time between screenings, so that gave everyone a chance to stretch their legs, and refuel with cinema edibles and caffeinated beverages.

Congratulations in particular to the winners of the festival prizes. Sick Girl was a deserving recipient for Best Feature – it now goes on to other festivals around the world, from London to Melbourne. Best Short went to Cheerbleeders, though an Honorable Mention is due to Prime-Age, which was very well received too. And the prize for Audience Favorite went to Genital Genocide, beating out Sick Girl and Prime-Age in the balloting. All three receive our famous sharp, pointy trophies, which they can keep on the mantelpiece, or alternatively, use in the preparation of salsa.

The McGarr brothers accept the Best Feature weapon trophy

We finally rolled out of the venue a little after 2 am; fortunately, we had the foresight to get a room at the Best Western, so didn’t have far to go before hitting the sack. And it didn’t take long for consciousness to fade away from there. However, we are already looking forward to next year’s event, and thinking of ways to make it bigger, better and even more fun. All comments and feedback are welcome: and we’ll shortly be opening submissions for film-makers too! Please stay tuned to the website for more information on Phoenix Fear Film Festival 3 – coming to a cinema in 2009 2010.

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