Arcosanti International Film Carnivale Review

The Arcosanti International Film Carnivale held its first annual event in Arcosanti, Arizona, earlier this year. I was fortunate enough to attend this unique film festival from April 26-28, which showcased a diverse list of documentaries.

Per the Arcosanti website, this festival’s purpose is “to celebrate the art of documentary cinema and enrich the community by presenting an annual world-class Film Carnivale.” From what I saw this past April, founders Toni Ross and Jason Ryan did an excellent job of bringing their vision to life. 

Inspired by the Jerome Indie Film and Music Festival, which was named one of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World by Movie Maker Magazine, the Arcosanti International Film Carnivale combined a typical film fest with the feel of an Italian Carnivale. The end result was three days of movies and fun that really brought the small town of Arcosanti to life!

Photo courtesy of Taylor Roper

I enjoyed taking in the sights, especially the open-air mercado and the art exhibition. The mercado was filled with local delights such as Arizona craft beer and wine. It was also a lot of fun to sample cuisine from cultures based around the world.

The film screenings themselves were a big hit, thanks in part to the intimate nature of each showing. Moviegoers were able to relax in a small theater environment. After which, many of the filmmakers were on hand to discuss their work and take questions from the audience.

Photo courtesy of Taylor Roper

Much like its big brother festival. Local musicians were given the opportunity to entertain festival attendees throughout the weekend. This livened up the festivities and made it even more entertaining to peruse vendor booths filled with artwork and organic merchandise.

Seven talented filmmakers took home awards. To help solidify the Carnivale’s commitment to Arizona cinema, there were two awards dedicated to local films. Best Arizona Feature went to “El Viejo.” “Teaching in Arizona” picked up the Best Arizona Short award.

Photo courtesy of Taylor Roper

Of course, the Venetian Style Masquerade Ball was one of the weekend’s biggest highlights. Guests showed off their best Carnevale Di Venezia and Mardi Gras inspired fashions, along with a stunning array of masks. Adding this touch to the event was the perfect way to anchor together all of the influences and themes that have provided Arcosanti with a truly memorable film festival.

Submitting Your Film

To learn more about this annual event, be sure to visit I can’t wait to see next year’s film entries!