Opening Weekend of the Phoenix Film Festival 2024

“Blind Cop 2,” “Copa 71,” “The Herricanes” and “The Old Oak” 

The Herricanes directed by




Friday night’s “Industry Night,” is always a personal favorite when it comes to the Phoenix Film Festival. This year, it was no different. There were plenty of vendors, filmmakers, actors and friends there to make it the highlight of the weekend, or so I thought. On Saturday, April 6th, I saw two amazing documentaries geared toward women in sports, and another about what they go through if an abortion is necessary in certain states.


I only saw one narrative on Saturday. I wasn’t going to see it because it was playing after 9:00pm and I had a long drive home but went anyway. That narrative was an absurd comedy made by these two purely humble and genuinely funny gentlemen. They were in the audience and there for a Q&A afterwards. They were director Alec Bonk and writer/actor Isaac McKinnon.

After their movie, I enjoyed getting to know them a bit. Their film is called “Blind Cop 2.” Their use of satire is arrow direct. Though the movie had a few rough places, slow at times, it was spot on for what they were trying to achieve, and I believe that going forward, two will get better with anything they try to achieve.

A blind police officer who drives?? Crazy. He’s always wearing his glasses which adds to the hilarity in several scenes. It’s all over the place amusement, this flick. I have to add that these two young filmmakers will be well known in the industry for their comedic style for as long as they pursue this career. Is their first feature Oscar worthy? No. But have a good time watching the silly of it all.


The documentaries I saw were outstanding. One right after the other, I was struck by how strong people can be.


“Copa 71” is heartbreaking because, if not buried for fifty years by FIFA, this event would have been one everybody would have tried to top.

Women wanted to play! Didn’t they have the right to? No, because some thought women were to be in the kitchen, not injuring their fragile bodies on the pitch.


Despite the misogyny, they carried on. This film was made as an ode to those who did. To tell you the story of the those who played in a 1971 tournament, and to let us know that it’s not a mistake you’ve never heard of it or of them. It’s an injustice that the game isn’t in the record books and these women were not given the glory they deserved like their male counterparts would have received.


There were teams in many countries that were warned not to continue playing soccer. Regardless of if they persisted with playing or not, they would not be recognized by FIFA. Teams did continue to play and went on to have their own World Cup that was put on in Azteca stadium in Mexico City and packed every game. Its capacity is well over 80,000, making it the largest stadium in Mexico, who was not afraid of FIFA’S threat of fines. They welcomed the chance to show the world what women’s team sports had to offer. Fans swarmed the players from Argentina, Great Britain, Italy and other countries, seeing them as equal to men in the sport. The game broke records and was attended by thousands who were shouting and cheering the women on, having the best time of their lives. The players couldn’t believe how much they were loved.


The games that are the main focus are so FUN to watch you can’t help but totally immerse yourself in the story. And the pacing of “Copa 71” is exceptional. Never once will you look at your watch in boredom. There’s too much to see from archival footage, showing the players who, fifty years later, are sharing their stories of the game, to Brandi Chastain sharing her thoughts about it being erased from history. I’m hoping that this documentary will help ease the bias that was wrought on women at the time.


“The Herricanes” was similar to “Copa 71” in many ways. There are at least sixty, fully padded, full-tackle pro football teams that are played by women, including two Arizona teams. Shocking, right? Why don’t you know about them? Because they’re never mentioned. Do they not deserve coverage? I say yes because it would be of interest to everyone to know how they’re doing, just like all other teams in any other sport.


Anyway, they might not ever have made it to where they are today if not for the Houston Herricanes, who stuck to their guns and insisted on playing when everyone was against it.

This film tells you the story of how this particular team got started. Some players were there because they liked to hit things, others were there for the competition, but most joined because they wanted a chance to play like men get to. They grew up playing with the boys in the neighborhood so why aren’t they allowed to continue?


The film has footage from then and shows the game of today. There’s even some focus on young girls being taught the game right now. Again, the pacing was good, and you never tire of the interviews and footage. Knowing females go through this should interest every type of audience. You’ll particularly like the focus on the Herricanes main rival, the Oklahoma City Dolls and how, one by one, each team folds.


Two of the players were at the screening, getting up to speak about the movie and about their past. “The Herricanes” is incredibly well made, highlighting exactly what will hold your interest and what would please the players, of then and now, the most.


On Sunday I saw “The Old Oak” which is a must-see film. I enjoyed it very much. I expect to see it in the Oscars.

The official synopsis: The Old Oak is the last pub standing in a once thriving mining village in northern England, a gathering space for a community that has fallen on hard times. There is growing anger, resentment, and a lack of hope among the residents, but the pub and its proprietor TJ are a fond presence to their customers.

When a group of Syrian refugees move into the floundering village, a decisive rift fueled by prejudices develops between the community and its newest inhabitants. The formation of an unexpected friendship between TJ and a young Syrian woman named Yara opens up new possibilities for the divided village in this deeply moving drama about loss, fear, and the difficulty of finding hope.

The release of The Old Oak reunites legendary British director Ken Loach with Zeitgeist Films and Kino Lorber following our 2020 release of his film Sorry We Missed You. Loach, who is 87 years old, has announced that The Old Oak will be his final film.

Release Date (Theaters): Apr 5, 2024 – Limited

Release Date (Streaming): Jun 4, 2024 contributor: ShariK.Green tmc
I'm the Sr. Film Writer and Community Manager for I write, direct and produce short films with my production company, Good Stew Productions. Though it's difficult to answer this question when asked, I'd say my favorite movie is “The Big Chill.” I enjoy photography, poetry, and hiking and I adore animals, especially elephants. I live in Arizona and feel it's an outstanding and inspirational place to live.

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