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(Photo courtesy of Phoenix Film Festival)
PHOENIX -- The 13th Annual Phoenix Film Festival kicks off Thursday night at the Harkins Scottsdale 101 Theaters located at 7000 E. Mayo Blvd.

The festival will begin with a cocktail party benefiting the organization's educational program and then a screening of "The Spectacular Now".

The eight-day event with feature over 140 different screenings, and will be highlighted by three world premieres ("Favor", "Down and Dangerous" and "Music City USA") Friday night and a special showing of "Underdogs" at 7:00 p.m. Saturday night.

Actors D.B. Sweeney, Natalie Imbruglia and Melora Walters are also scheduled to make appearances at the Saturday night screening.

This year, Phoenix Film Festival Director Jason Carney said the event will feature a new wrinkle.

"We are doing homegrown screenings," Carney told KTAR. "It's all filmmakers from Arizona or who grew up in Arizona and moved on. That happens all day on Saturday, and we have a whole theater dedicated to that. It's one of the cooler new things we're doing this year."

While a lot of the festival's buzz takes place over the weekend, Carney believes movie fans can find plenty of quality films throughout the week.

"The weekend is when the craziness happens, and throughout the week is where we sprinkle in some new content," said Carney. "Our closing movie is called "Stuck in Love" with Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connolly, Kristen Bell and a great cast. That's how we end the festival, with a cool little movie like that. I encourage people to come check it out. It's a great way to discover new films."

The Phoenix Film Festival is open to the public, and tickets range in price from $12 for a single screening to $300 for a platinum pass.

KTAR.com,

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