What to expect at the 31st Arizona International Film Festival

Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 10:44 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Moviegoers it’s time to grab your popcorn because the 31st Annual Arizona International Film Festival is officially underway.

According to Mia Schnaible with the Arizona International Film Festival, it’s the oldest film celebration in the state and is even considered one of the best in the world.

She said the festival ranks in the top 100 out of 12,000 which happen around the world.

Schnaible tells 13 News movie fanatics can expect a full lineup of films this year. She adds the next 12 days will be filled with laughter, adventure, a little fear, and a whole lot of joy.

With over 100 directors, actors, and producers making their way to Tucson, Schnailble promises this year’s film festival will be its best yet.

“The economic impact of them visiting and going to the festival is incredible,” Schnaible said.

With more than one hundred films on the schedule, visitors are expected to spend big bringing in $1.5 million.

Tucson native Jon Proudstar is in the movie, “The Year of the Dog.” He said taking on this specific role was especially meaningful to him for many reasons. The main one is he was able to be himself.

“It was such an honor to play roles like this. Very human roles,” Proudstar said. “That didn’t have much to do with our culture. It was just we were humans interacting and that is a rare quality to find in films that allow Native Americans just to be.”

Rob Grabow, who is also in the movie, said the film takes on addiction and gives people a first-hand look at the struggles some face.

“There is a greater awareness that people may be struggling and a greater inclination of people being vulnerable and humanizing people who are struggling in general,” Grabow.

Proudstar has this message for Tucsonans:

“Like this movie, anything you are trying to achieve is difficult and everything comes with a price that we want in life,” Proudstar said. “Seeing the end of the road and where that road goes is difficult.”

Cari Kawa is an actress from Los Angeles. She is the main actress in the film “The Warm Season,” which was the festival’s opening night film. Kawa said the movie is based in the southwest and tells a story that’s out of this world.

“It’s not an alien versus predator world at all,” Kawa said. “It has a much more heartwarming point of view and I think there is a nostalgia there that everybody will respond to.”

According to Kawa, everyone working on the film had a special connection to the message of the movie. She said she really wants people to be open-minded about the storyline.

“This is a really beautiful heartwarming film,” Kawa said. “It’s about a woman who is on a healing journey. She is an artist. She had an encounter with an alien as a young person. This is about how she reconciles her own personal journey through this relationship with this alien.”

Schnaible said there will be about 100 other films you’ll be able to catch, all with different plots and messages. This why organizers guarantee you’ll find at least one movie you’ll love.