Six Must-See Films from the Phoenix Film Festival's Arizona Category

The selection of short films made by local filmmakers in this year's Arizona category at The Phoenix Film Festival represented a variety of genres and styles. There were action films, comedies, a musical, and a horror/suspense film. Here are a few of our favorites and the winner of this year's local category, announced over the weekend: 

1. Ball in the Family and Suicide: The Musical by Chris Nash of Storybird Films
ASU Science and Psychology major Chris Nash and his production company, Storybird Films, submitted Ball in the Family, is a 5-minute comedy about a family dinner turned awkward, and Suicide: The Musical, a comedic musical sung by three characters who want to, well, off themselves.

"I look at my story in sort of a behavioral way," Nash said during the festival. "I look at my characters and wonder if what they're doing matches up to my story and whether or not it makes sense, whether or not it is realistic."

Suicide! The Musical from Storybird Films on Vimeo.

Nash is currently raising funds to finish his next project, Daddy Warblocksa film featuring Legos. He graduates from ASU next month.

2. Xtraction by Marco Santiago and Katrina Matusek of SunCast Entertainment

Full-time filmmaker Marco Santiago wrote and directed Xtraction, a thrilling action-packed film produced by and starring local actress, Katrina Matusek. The story, shot in Guadalupe, follows a badass former combat specialist working to free herself and daughter from the grips of black market organ traffickers.

3. Small Happys by Lee Quarrie

Lee Quarrie was the only female director in the group with her film, Small Happys, which portrays a reunion of four high school friends who meet again after many years. Quarrie is working to complete a MFA in Interdisciplinary Media Arts at ASU and  learned to make films at Scottsdale Community College's Filmmaking Bootcamp. She's a founding member of the group Arizona Women in Film.

4. Face Fear by Angel Ruiz

Horror/suspense thriller Face Fear kept the audience on the edge of their chairs as they watched this Angel Ruiz flick about a detective and a psychic he has brought in to help him catch the serial murderer he has been pursuing for over three years. 

5. Family 2.0 by Chris Redish
Sedona resident Chris Redish presented Family 2.0, a comic look at a man who decides to find out if the grass is truly greener on the other side of the fence, when he decides to upgrade families and walks in to greet his "new wife" one day.

The film is adapted from the stage play of the same name written by Walter Wykes and stars popular 80's actor, Christopher Atkins (The Blue Lagoon).

6. The winner of the Arizona Shorts category, Fallout by Paul DeNigris

Paul DeNigris, a professor at the University of Advancing Technology wrote and directed Fallout, which also features fellow Arizona filmmakers Katrina Matusek and Angel Ruiz.

DeNigris credited his crew, mostly former and current students at UAT, with the post-production wizardry that makes up this visually impressive, video-game like sci-fi thriller of an investigation into a failed mission to stop terrorist in a post-apocalyptic Phoenix.

For information on the rest of the films in the Arizona Shorts category at The Phoenix Film Festival, click here.

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