ASU talent to premiere alongside star-studded indies at Phoenix Film Festival

The Phoenix Film Festival kicks off this Thursday celebrating its 16th year bringing local, international and student films to the Valley. Films from around the world will be playing in the many programs that the festival offers including world premieres and films from other festivals like the Sundance Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival.

ASU’s own professor Gene Ganssle’s directorial debut “Postmarked” will be premiering in the feature film showcase program. “Postmarked” is a passion project and labor of love for Ganssle, which was adapted from Rob Hunting's play.

“I began this film with writer/actor/director Ron Hunting, who has ALS, and wrote the play in January of last year,” Ganssle said. “We call it a comedy for a cause because half of the proceeds from the film will go to ALS research. With ASU making us their summer project, we got over 30 interns, professional alums and lots of help making this film, which now looks like a $4 million dollar movie instead of a $40,000 movie.”

“Postmarked” is a dark comedy about two mail carriers who get caught in the wrong place and see things they shouldn’t. Another mailman, George, gets thrown into the increasingly dangerous situation as his life becomes tangled with the wrong crowd.

Ganssle adapted the film from Hunting’s play after seeing a reading last year. Hunting has long been a fixture in the Valley’s theaters, and many came together to make this film in honor of Hunting and his legacy. This inspired professor Christopher LaMont to come on to the project as a producer. 

“I ended up joining in the production in June,” LaMont said. “I have been involved in feature film production in 20 years and this was the smoothest and best production. This film wasn’t made to make money. Gene had a dream to see this movie made and I respond to that, so it really was great. We stayed on schedule and we stayed under budget and that is all that you can ask.”

“Postmarked” will be screened at 5:10 p.m. on Saturday, April 9, 5:10 p.m. on Monday, April 11 and 10:20 a.m. on Tuesday, April 12 at the Harkins Scottsdale 101 theater.

Three other Arizona produced films will premiere in the Arizona feature film program. These films are called “Carry On: Finding Hope in the Canyon,” “Lucky U Ranch” and “Patagonia Treasure Trail.” They will each be screened three times during the festival.

There is also a program which aims to bring attention to Arizona’s middle and high school students' work. The Arizona Student Film Festival will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday and features fifteen short film from grade school aged students.

Ten films are competing for prizes in the competition section including “Coming Through The Rye,” directed by James Steven Sadwith, a winner of a Primetime Emmy.

Among the more star-studded features are festival favorites like “The Meddler,” “The Man Who Knew Infinity,” “High-Rise,” “Love & Friendship” and opening night film “Morris From America.”

Phoenix Film Festival director Jason Carney especially recommends “The Seeker,” an indie film that could slip through the cracks of even the most attentive cinephile or movie buff.

“There is a really cool film called 'The Seeker,' which is playing three times at the festival,” he said. “It is kind of like an hour long music video essentially. It tells a great story with only one word of dialogue throughout the whole film, which is interesting and a great concept. They did a great job telling the story and the music is awesome.”

All screenings take place at Harkins Scottsdale 101 Cine Capri.  A schedule for the festival can be found here, and tickets can be bought here.

Related Links:

Al Pacino, ‘Pineapple Express’ director and more to kick off Phoenix Film Festival

ASU film students take over Jerome Indie Film and Music Festival


Reach the reporter at tanner.stechnij@asu.edu or follow @tannerstechnij on Twitter.

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