The P83 district is likely to get busier this fall with the addition of a new event. The Phoenix Film Foundation and Phoenix Film Festival have announced the start of a new festival. The Peoria Film Fest presented by the city of Peoria will be held Oct. 19 to 21 at the Harkins Arrowhead Fountains 18 theater in Peoria’s P83 district.

“We couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve achieved over the last 18 years with the Phoenix Film Festival and our year-round film education and screening events.” Phoenix Film Foundation Executive Director Jason Carney said. “We’ve been looking to host an event in the North Valley and Peoria made the most sense. The growth of the city of Peoria combined with the gorgeous Harkins Arrowhead Fountains 18 theater gives us a great backdrop to showcase some amazing new films.”

The event will be held over three days screening a mix of independent and upcoming studio releases.

Peoria Film Fest officials say they are also looking forward to a partnership with the city of Peoria as the festival’s presenting partner of the event.

Mayor Cathy Carlat made reference to the proximity of the festival to the adjacent business south of Harkins, Huntington University, which is offering digital media art classes.

“The city of Peoria is thrilled to host the Film Foundation’s October film festival,” Carlat said. “Peoria is an exceptional community, and with the nationally ranked Huntington University Arizona Center for Digital Media Art in our lively P83 district, our community is the perfect backdrop for this iconic festival. We look forward to welcoming the talented film and production companies who make this event successful, and the many cinematic enthusiasts to the heart of the North Valley.”

Jeff Berggren, director of Arizona operations for Huntington University,  said he was anxious to see what happens in the future, and his university has already been contacted by officials at Phoenix Film Festival.

Berggren said, “Phoenix Film Festival with impressed with our facility. It’s going to be a neat event. They will use the university for a key piece of the operation. We’re talking with the Phoenix Film Festival to do some cool activities. I don’t think you could have a better scenario. Phoenix Film Festival is a key player with the city of Peoria, the Peoria school district, the chamber and Huntington University. I think it will be very successful.”

Berggren said before anything is added to the festival, organizers should see what makes it successful its first year.

“Establish the core film festival,” Berggren said. “Then add another day or leverage the Jumbotron in the sports complex as a family movie night as part of the idea.

“The key thing — a good turnout, great category of film productions and highlight what the city of Peoria is doing with the film office. It’s great to have the players around the table and talk about this first event. It’s a great process for the Peoria students.

“Go to the festival, enjoy great restaurants. It has great potential. It’s going to be a great first-year launch.”

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