Chandler International Film Festival highlights diversity

Chandler International Film Festival hosted its third iteration in Downtown Chandler from January 17-21st at locations around Chandler.

The festival was presented in conjunction with the Chandler Multicultural Festival held over the MLK holiday weekend.

Attendance for the festival is up to approximately 2000, based on early estimates, without taking into account online sales.

When asked if the festival helped attendance officials responded, “It’s hard to tell who came from what but it doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day if the saw some of these movies it counts.”

Elizabeth Vaughn, Festival Coordinator, discussed the circumstances under which the festival came together and described it as, “one big handshake.”

Hundreds of international, local, independent, and even Maricopa Community College filmmakers entered their films into the festival.

Screenings were held across several locations in Chandler primarily in Flix Brewhouse, a newly opened modern dinner theater.

Flix Brewhouse handled the event with only minor hiccups during a few screenings of films. A few films featured faulty audio or files would be stuttered and corrupted.

Among the notable films screened at the festival included the North American premier of “Mia and the White Lion” and The southwest premier of several movies including “Shadows” and “Under the Eiffel Tower”.

The festival also featured countless local films in several categories across the festival. The was no shortage of international offerings at the festival either.

Foreign film productions like “Shadow” and “Mia and the White Lion” diversified the offerings at the festival this year.

Among other films included smaller budget independent offerings like, “Ism”, whose director took home the Best Director award for his film.

In solidarity with the festival Chandler Men of Action provided a free screening of the Arizona documentary, “Rare Breed”.

“Rare Breed” documents the life of Yuma cattle rancher Alex Dees and the discrimination he faced.

Other screenings for Charity included “Mia and the White Lion” which was screened by Phoenix Children’s Hospital for fundraising.

Other local films included the horror short film, “Alluring Frontier” which was made in conjunction with Chandler Gilbert Community College Students.

The “Acting on Camera” classes offered at CGCC provided students with the opportunity to produce a film alongside other filmmakers.

One of these filmmakers aiding students in the production is Adolpho Novarro whose media company, N’Raged Media, produces films for the community.

Novarro’s background is in independent filmmaking and contest based in time-restrictions like a 24 or 48-hour contest.

Novarro spoke on how his background in these contests helped him, “It’s the same passion where I love to bring stories to life quickly with people who go all out.”

When asked about how those constraints affect his filmmaking Novarro said, “I found out over time how to accomplish something with the resources you have and the after that you just keep upping the game until eventually you realize a method and a solution for everything.”

Novarro won an award for Best Experimental Short for his film titled “The Evolved Spectrum” while at the Chandler International Film Festival.

Other offerings at the festival included conferences, question and answers sessions, workshops and socials.

The weekend culminated in an awards show and red carpet honoring the applicants.

Vaughn summed up the festival when she said, “We all want to be part of cinema. We all want to be a movie star in some way in our lives, right? This gives us that chance, to get close to it.”

Chandler International Film Festival is accepting submissions for the 2020 festival through October.

A full list of winners from the festival can be found online on the Chandler International Film Festival’s website.

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I've lived in Arizona my whole life and love calling this dust bowl home. As a journalist I will strive to engage with the community and Involve myself in the campus. As a creative writing student I venture to represent repressed voices as honestly as possible. As your features editor I endeavor to give you nothing less than my best.