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2008 Arizona Underground Film Festival: Wrap-Up Interview

Film festival poster featuring a drawing of a girl holding a knife

Since I interviewed festival director David Pike several months ago in advance of the first ever Arizona Underground Film Festival, which ran this past Oct. 17-19 in Tucson, I thought it’d be a good idea to check in with him after the fact to see how it went. Based on the interview below, it sounds like it went like gangbusters:

Underground Film Festival: So, in general, how’d it go? Turnout as good as, better than, or worse than expected? Did Tucson seem receptive to “underground” films?

David Pike: I really didn’t know what to expect the first year of the festival. We had a great time with the filmmakers in attendance, filmgoers, and everyone that helped make this possible. I think Tucson came out to what they wanted to see. Overall the turnout was good. I’m happy with the first year of the underground film festival, and looking forward to much bigger next year with more guests, and films.

UFJ: You worked for other film festivals in the past, but did running your own go like you thought it would? Was it crazier than you imagined? Easier? Any “What have I gotten myself into?” moments?

DP: Surprisingly, I didn’t run into too many problems with the festival. I think you have to have an attitude that whatever happens is going to happen, and don’t get too stressed when things start to go to hell.

UFJ: The festival had a pretty eclectic lineup it seemed to me. Were you going for any particular overall theme or feel for the fest? Or did you just pick good stuff?

DP: I was going for films that represented the best in underground filmmaking from many genres from all over the world. I wanted to focus on films that broke the mold of standard filmmaking, and challenged the audience. I felt with the films that were shown this year, we definitely accomplished that.

UFJ: What was the most surprising thing about the festival to you overall?

DP: It was surprising that I met so many excellent nice filmmakers from all over. My hat goes off to them. Without them, and their films, the festival wouldn’t have been the festival it was this year.

UFJ: Based on how your fest went and the turnout, would you encourage someone in another city to start an “underground” film festival?

DP: It’s a lot of work. You would have to dedicate a lot of time, resources, and money to get things going. Don’t do it unless you feel passionate about showing films. It does have its rewards, playing some of the best of underground films to a great audience.

UFJ: Ready to do it again next year?

DP: Of course! I already have the dates for next year’s fest. November 5th thru 7th, with a possibility of more dates to add.

Please visit the official AUFF website for more info on the festival.