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Worlds (and festivals) collide at Sunday’s Phoenix Film Fest

Posted by on April 8, 2013 – 6:48 pm
Beat the Geek - Sci-Fi Round

Beat the Geek (L to R) Dr. Diabolic, Nadia Neuroleptic, (Winner – Sci-Fi Round) Steve Mandel, Jim Miller and Chris La Mont

The Phoenix Film Festival (PFF) and the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival (IHSFFF) have already combined forces to produce an annual multi-level movie marathon, but on Sunday the Phoenix Comicon was added to the mix creating a geeky genre gathering of galactic proportions.

My first film of the day was the multi-dimensional mind-mucking time-travel flick, Found in Time, by writer director Arthur Vincie. It’s a sci-fi story about “psychics” who are able to travel between time periods and who “collect” everyday items that they find (lost buttons for example.) As street corner vendors the Collectors then sell the items – and are harassed by the “psychological police.”

Found in Time

Found in Time

The film centers on collector Chris (MacLeod Andrews) who has fallen in love with a psychologist who is secretly studying him, but he is also smitten by a rebellious collector, Ayana (Mina Vesper Gokal), who helps him work his way through a complex maze of alternate realities.

Found in Time was at times beautifully poetic and thought-provoking, and then sometimes just confounding and confusing. It’s probably the most ambitious time-travel film I’ve seen in terms of mixing up multiple layers of cause & effect, and I applaud Mr. Vincie for pushing the edge of the envelope. The film also takes a look at mental illness and the effects that time-travel could potentially have on one’s mind. A very good film, but bring along your thinking cap.

Next stop on Sunday was the Sci-Fi Shorts “B” collection which focused on the “human” side of science-fiction. The set touched on post-apocalyptic visions (Sol), mind transfers (All I Think of is You and The Phoenix) and suicide experiments (Quantum). Standouts from this group included White Room: 02B3, about alien overlords manipulating our existence, and Sunset Day, which has its hero altering everyday events in order to avert the inevitable apocalypse.

Dawna Davis of Steamcrow

Dawna Davis of Steamcrow

While the afternoon’s films were rolling, the PFF Party Pavilion was showcasing a preview of the 2013 Phoenix Comicon. Several artists were in attendance, including the dynamic duo of Daniel & Dawna Davis (better known as Steamcrow) who were showing off their Phoenix Comicon exclusive print for this year. The Phoenix Comicon runs Memorial Day weekend, from May 23 – 26, 2013 – be sure to follow our coverage.

My last film of the festival weekend was one I was very excited about and it was a real treat. I loved reading the Thor Heyerdal book, Kon-Tiki, when I was a kid, and its true adventure tale of Heyerdal’s experimental 5000-mile raft journey from Peru to Polynesia, using only the ocean’s currents to carry them, fascinated me. This new dramatic Kon-Tiki film, as directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, is a thrilling look at the expedition’s odyssey and the obsessed man behind it. Stay tuned for the complete NERDVANA review of this film, opening in the United States on April 26, 2013.

Sunday evening was wrapped up at the Party Pavilion with the Bookmans sponsored “Beat the Geek” competition where contestants squared off with their knowledge of Sci-Fi and Horror films. Dr. Diabolic and his sultry assistant, Nadia Neuroleptic, hosted the event and teased the competitor’s brains with questions not meant for the nerdy faint of heart. Steve Mandel picked up the “Sci-Fi Geek” title and Jason Alofs retained his crown as “Horror Geek.”

Film awards were handed out on Sunday evening and you can see the list of winners at the Phoenix Film Festival website. Both the International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival and the Phoenix Film Festival run through April 11, so it’s not too late to try to make it to some of these great films. Check the schedule for the joint events at phoenixfilmfestival.com.