'Phoenix Loves Sci-Fi' Film Event Celebrates Arizona Scenery In The Movies

By Annika Cline
Published: Thursday, July 2, 2015 - 5:33pm
Updated: Thursday, July 2, 2015 - 5:43pm
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(Phoenix Loves Sci-Fi)
The film "Focus" was shot entirely in Arizona. It will be screened at the Phoenix Loves Sci-Fi event along with other local science fiction films.
(Phoenix Loves Sci-Fi)
Official logo for the event.

Phoenix Loves Sci-Fi… that's the name of a film screening event that makes its debut Thursday. It’ll include short science-fiction films produced in Phoenix over the past year. 

And some of these films show that science fiction, in turn, loves Phoenix and Arizona for the diverse scenery. 

One movie, “Focus,” is the story of a girl who finds a camera lens that allows her to see into the past of its previous owners.

There’s a scene in the movie where the main character meets one of those owners in front of a picturesque mountain range dotted with saguaros.

Director Matt Chesin said the scene wasn’t quite in the middle of nowhere.

"The film was shot entirely in Arizona," he said. "There’s a really beautiful mountain scene that’s in the film that we shot at Bumblebee Ranch up north."

That’s right off Interstate 17 if you’re driving north from the Valley. Chesin said what he loves about filming in the state are the unexpected places you discover as a filmmaker.

"There’s a lot of hidden locations in Arizona and you just kind of have to research and explore our state and then you can come across some really fantastic locations like  areas in Tucson or Jerome, Flagstaff," Chesin said.

The films shown tonight include scenes in historic homes and even downtown Scottsdale. Places we’re familiar with, yet they’re changed by the plots and time periods of the films. 

Like the warehouse basement in “Vault of Souls: The Pact.” You’d never guess it’s just a regular basement under Grand Avenue.

"It gives that futuristic feel, but almost like, um, almost like a futuristic dystopian type of feel that was going for in the script," said Cassandra Nicholson with Filmstock Film Festival and the organizer of Phoenix Loves Sci-Fi.

Nicholson said from urban sprawl to wide open landscapes, Arizona provides those settings for sci-fi filmmakers. 

"I mean in terms of geography here it’s pretty dynamic for one state," she said. "It is I think comparable to California’s dynamism."

You can see what scenery you recognize at Phoenix Loves Sci-Fi Thursday night at ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism in downtown Phoenix at 7 p.m.

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