The International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival kicks off on August 13th at Harkins Scottsdale 101. The festival, which caters to genre fans, runs alongside the Phoenix Film Festival. I was lucky enough to sit down with Festival Director Monte Yazzie to talk about the festival highlights and running a festival in the middle of a pandemic. His passion is real and the safety of his audiences is a priority.
What do you want people to know about the safety precautions in place for this year's event?
Our festival is so fortunate to partner with Harkins Theater. They have established exceptional protocols for safety and we are working with them to make sure that our guests and staff remain safe while enjoying the wealth of movies we have to show. Safety is our priority and we are happy to have the guidance of Harkins Theaters to assist with that.
Horror and sci-fans love midnight movies but this year is a little different in terms of programming. What do you want fans to know about the scheduling this year for their favorite genres?
IHSFF works diligently to program a diverse blend of genre films for every taste. We are so pleased to have very strong competition films on both the horror and science fiction sides of programming, not to mention a little bit of everything in our shorts programming. Every evening of the festival, for all 12 days, we have horror and science fiction films playing each night. If this is your first time at the festival, go to our website and start making your schedule. We plan extensively so that our guests have numerous opportunities to catch all of our programmings.
What are five films you are excited for people to see this year at the festival?
This is the hardest question I get asked every single year. With so many films to choose from, here are a few that I think will provide you a diverse festival experience.
THE NIGHT HOUSE - We had the wonderful opportunity to team up with the Phoenix Film Festival to bring director David Bruckner’s (The Ritual and The Signal) new horror/thriller crossover THE NIGHT HOUSE as a Centerpiece Screening for the festival. This one stars Rebecca Hall (Christine and The Gift) and centers on a widow who begins to discover dark secrets from her recently deceased husband. It’s the perfect blend of genres to fit horror fans and non-horror fans.
THE STRINGS - Director Ryan Glover directs an impressive music-driven scary movie. This one features original music from artist Teagan Johnston who also stars in the lead role. In the dead of winter, a musician travels to a remote cottage to record new material. However, something dark begins to torment her in the mysterious house. This is our closing night film.
PARALLEL MINDS - In the near future, a contact lens with the power to record and recreate memories leads the head programmer of artificial intelligence and a police detective to investigate a murder surrounding this new technology. Director Benjamin Ross Hayden brings an interesting dose of “Indigenous Futurism” to our festival this year.
BAD GIRLS - Speaking of midnight movies, Christopher Bickel directs this bonkers exploitation film about a group of girls who rob a strip club and go on a cross country romp towards escape. This is the kind of film you want to catch as late as possible, with a group of friends. Laugh, yell, and have a good time with this one.
HORROR and SCI-FI SHORTS - We have two programs for both our horror and sci-fi short programs. Each are a mix of different themes and offers a wonderful introduction to the festival atmosphere.