Arizona International Film Festival

April 10, 2013 |

El efecto K. El Montador de Stalin

Where can you see over 130 different films, from 32 different countries, over a period of just 17 days? No, it’s not the Sundance Film Festival, or even the Toronto International Film Festival, which would require travel to some cold locales. The answer, for the 22nd year in a row, is the Arizona International Film Festival.

The festival features narrative features, documentary features, narrative and documentary shorts and student films throughout its run, which takes place at both the Grand Cinema on East Grant Road, (the old Crossroads Theatres) and downtown at the Screening Room, on East Congress Street.

Guilio Scallinger, the founder and long time leader of the AZIFF, has a lot to be proud of this year as the festival has truly become an international “discovery festival” with the potential for viewers to find the “next generation of emerging filmmakers“ without leaving home. While many fests feature cinema from around the world, the AZIFF has quietly built up a reputation as one of the places to get your work seen, for non-US filmmakers and word of mouth has led to this year’s bonanza of foreign titles. A whopping 18 films of the 40 narrative titles are from far-away lands, which is a new record.

Scallinger is proud of the fact that the festival is truly a “filmmaker’s festival” where all filmmakers are treated equally. Whether their films is a short, or feature length work, the AZIFF levels the playing field for those who show their first film or latest opus. Scallinger admits that he is also proud of the fest’s alumni who in many cases have gone on to stardom. Directors like Bryan Singer, who had his first film in the AZIFF prior to making big budget and critically acclaimed fare like “The Usual Suspects,” and the first two “X-Men” films. Often times the AZIFF is the first place you can see future award-winning titles like this year’s Academy Award winning short “Inocente,” which debuted at the fest last year prior to winning the top prize in February.

One film that Scalinger is excited about is the experimental Spanish film “El efecto K. El Montador de Stalin” (The K Effect, Stalin’s Editor) that blends reality and fantasy with archival footage and imagined drama. The film will be a US premiere, and will also be the focus of a panel discussion, one of six panels during the festival. Also of note are the 11 youth film short films that are curated from submissions by student filmmakers. Other highlights include the documentaries “Bat City” and “Glacial Balance”.

Once again this year the festival will kick-off with a special opening night extravaganza at the Grand Cinemas. A special themed “Cinema Hop” will pay homage to the sock-hop of old, and will feature films on multiple screens along with an opening night party. The closing night screenings and party will also take place at the Grand, with most other screenings at the Screening room.

Another new development this year is a new website for the festival which now is much more robust and allows users to search by theme and to build a schedule for their specific interests, both shorts and feature length. Scallinger boasts this functionality is even more advanced than what the Sundance Film Fest offers to its attendees. For more information and a full schedule of films and screening times visit

Category: Arts, Film