Beast meets Fest: Interspecies film fun at the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival

International Horror & Sci-Fi Film FestivalThe Valley’s 8th annual International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival will be running from March 29 – April 5, 2012 at the Harkins Scottsdale 101 theaters and the show is shaping up to be one of their best events yet, mixing genre flicks focused on hardcore horror & science fiction with geek-gratifiers like With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story, a retrospective on the life of Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee.

Among the spectacular surprises at this year’s show will be a special appearance by Terminator and Alien protagonist (actor/director) Michael Biehn, who will be a special guest promoting The Victim, a film in which he wrote, directed and stars as a recluse living in the woods who finds himself defending a young woman from corrupt cops.

Werewolves will mix with more standard film fare as the IHSFF will be happening at the same time and place as the 12th annual Phoenix Film Festival. The combined festival will offer over 140 screenings during its eight-day run, along with a plethora of vendors, parties and workshops. IHSFF Director Andrea Beesley-Brown (AKA the Midnite Movie Mamacita) promises that 2012 is going to be the biggest & best festival to date and I got a chance to ask this valley cinematic icon a few questions about the event and her involvement with the show.

This is the 8th annual International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival, what is your history with this event?

I started with the organization in 2006 as a promotions volunteer, I handed out fliers and delivered them all over town. I had so much fun that first year being a volunteer and since I had started programming film events on my own at the Paper Heart Arts Venue, it made sense to do an event with the festival the following year, 2007. With the help of Brian Pulido and the festival staff, plus Danny and Brandon from, we worked on bringing out Ken Foree to the festival for a screening of Dawn of the Dead. When Brian Pulido left his position as the Festival Director, I was honored to assume the position in 2008 and I’ve been doing it ever since.

As curator of the IHSFF, what will your role be during the festival? Will you also be vending at the event?

As the Festival Director my position focuses on programming the Showcase Features. The Film Festival is made up of 2 components. We have the Competition Features and Shorts, which are submitted by filmmakers from all over the globe. Our Horror & Sci Fi programmers then carefully select which Features and Shorts will make it in to the competition. The other component are the Showcase Features, which I program. My focus is to select new and classic Horror and Sci Fi Features to highlight and exhibit at the festival. We also bring in a special guest associated with a Showcase feature. As far as vending, I’m usually pretty busy taking care of our special guests and making sure things run smoothly, so I won’t have a chance.

How & why did the mixing of the IHSFF and the Phoenix Film Festival come about?

This is the second year that the Festival has run in conjunction with the Phoenix Film Festival. Running a Film Festival as a non-profit (as the Phoenix Film Foundation is) can be very challenging. Financial costs of venue rental, guest expenses, licensing etc. made it difficult to keep the Festival on its own, so it made sense to run it in conjunction with the larger Festival where it could benefit from the expanded advertising and media coverage.

How do you think the sometimes outrageous genre enthusiasts that show up for the IHSFF will mix with the standard PFF crowd?

Last year the crowds seemed to mix pretty seamlessly, which was awesome. The common thread is that people who attend the festivals, love movies. And I think that common interest of loving movies and the event makes for a good combination!

There appears to be a fun and eclectic mix of IHSFF films lined up this year, which one(s) are you most excited about?

Every year the Competition Features and Shorts seem to get even better. We have 37 films (Shorts and Features) so it’s hard to choose. I’m excited for Pig (Sci Fi Competition Feature), Below Zero (Horror Competition Feature) which stars Edward Furlong and FDR: American Badass (Showcase Feature) FDR (Barry Bostwick) as you’ve never seen him before, as a Werewolf killer!

The VictimWhat can you tell us about the film stars and special happenings at this year’s show? What is the ‘don’t miss’ event?

It’s hard to narrow down but we are thrilled to have the Arizona Premier of The Victim directed and starring Michael Biehn (Terminator, Aliens) who will be in attendance with co-star and partner Jennifer Blanc. Also on Sunday April 1st it’s Phoenix Comicon Preview Day at the Festival, so our Party Pavilion will host Comicon Artists and Vendors. In conjunction with that day we will be screening the new documentary With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story. We will have more guest announcements as we get closer to the Festival.

You have a movie poster art show this this month at the Lo-Fi Coffee Shop in Mesa, what can people expect at this exhibit?

I’m a huge movie poster collector. I don’t collect many things, but have a passion for movie posters. The folks at Lo-Fi graciously asked me if I would like to display some of my collection at the Coffee House for a month. The show features rare original framed one-sheets from the past 30 years. All will be for sale, special mentions are a Forbidden Zone poster from the 1982 film signed by Director Richard Elfman as well a poster from the new cult favorite Hobo With a Shotgun. I think people will get a kick out of the artwork and they can walk away with one framed and ready to go!

What else can we look forward to from the Midnite Movie Mamacita, what is the next project on your plate after the IHSFF wraps?

Actually taking a break from programming, so looking forward to taking a break and focusing on new things. It’s been awesome, I’ve really enjoyed it, who knows I might be back one day!

These are just a few of the films that are being showcased at this year’s International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival:

FDR: American Badass – In this throwback to the original 1966 Batman movie, FDR rides a “wheelchair of death” to stop the world from werewolves who carry the polio virus, including werewolf versions of Hitler, Mussolini, and Emperor Hirohito. Barry Bostwick (Spin City) stars as FDR.

Monster Brawl – Eight classic monsters fight to the death in an explosive wrestling tournament set inside an abandoned and cursed graveyard. Starring Dave Foley and the voice of Lance Henriksen.

Beyond the Black Rainbow – A Reagan-era fever dream inspired by hazy childhood memories of midnight movies and Saturday morning cartoons, RAINBOW is the outlandish feature film debut of writer and director Panos Cosmatos.

With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story – This career spanning retrospective explores the life of Stan Lee from his early days, his fascinating journey from Timely Comics to the dawn of Marvel Comics to his current company POW! Entertainment.

A full list, as well as the synopsis and trailer of each film can be viewed at the Phoenix Film Festival’s website under “IHSFF Showcase-Feature Films.”

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