The third annual Copa Shorts Film Festival is Feb. 23-24 at two locations. The weekend includes free workshops, a table reading and food trucks.

Films were submitted locally, from across the country and from around the world. As short films they are limited to 20 minutes in length.

“We have so many well-rated films,” organizer Shelley Gillespie said. “We have more films ranked 9 or higher (out of 10) than the past two years.”

Food trucks will be available both days of the festival, and those not attending the festival are welcome to drop by for a bite, too. The food trucks scheduled to participate Grandma’s Navajo Frybread, which will be on location both days, La Petite Provence, which specializes in French desserts, The Lemongrass Shack (Cambodian street food) and, possibly, When Pigs Fly.

Saturday, the films will be by high school and middle school students, including seven films made by Maricopans. They will be shown in the Performing Arts Center auditorium at Maricopa High School.

The Black Box Theatre at the PAC will be the site of Saturday’s workshop, as well:

10 a.m. – “Money for Low-Budget Films” with Ben Juhl and Jason Ryan
11:30 a.m. – “Makeup SFX on a Budget” with Aeni Domme
1 p.m. – “Enhancing Your Movie with Music” with Brent Michael Davids

Register for the free workshops at

MHS students from DECA and National Honor Society will help run the festival. DECA also created shirts for the event.

“DECA are going to do amazing things for us,” Gillespie said. “We know they’re really solid. They’re hard-working. They’re thinking about business, and that’s helpful.”

The film blocks start at 2:30 p.m. with high school films that are ostensibly rated PG-13, followed by middle school films and general-audience high school films.

Sunday, the action moves to Maricopa City Hall. There will be a silent auction on display starting at 11 a.m. The film blocks start a noon featuring movies by professional filmmakers. The second block includes a table read by local actors of a screenplay, followed by the screening of the filmed version.

Tickets are sold by block, day pass or VIP.

The Wrap Party is at 7 p.m. with entertainment by musician Beth Lederman and presentation of awards. Because the night coincides with the Academy Awards, there will be a red-carpet Oscar Night celebration, and attendees are encouraged to glam it up.

Admission to the party is $25.

This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.