An interview with Keith Arem

INTERVIEWS Gustavo Coletti Gustavo Coletti
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Keith Arem is a filmmaker with over 20 years directing, producing and creative leadership experience at PCB Entertainment, Virgin Interactive, and Electronic Arts. Based in Los Angeles, he is having a great success with "Phoenix Incident", a film about true events.

Thursday March 13th, 1997 marks the date of the Phoenix Lights, the largest mass UFO sighting in US History. The night of the incident, four Phoenix residents vanished in the Estrella Mountain National Park, south of Phoenix, becoming the longest unresolved missing person’s case in Arizona history.

“Time of cinema” had the opportunity to interview him.


TOC - Hi Keith. We see that you have received awards and nominations for your film The Phoenix Incident. Did you have any real experience in that regard?

I have been directing performances for video games for many years, however this was my first opportunity to direct a motion picture. It was an incredible experience, working with so many other talented people, and I’m honored our new cut of the film has been received so well. 

TOC - Have you been interested in the UFO phenomenon for a long time?

I grew up in Arizona close to several military bases. There were always interesting lights in the sky, and many that did not resemble traditional aircraft. As a fan of Ridley Scott’s Alien, I always wondered, “what if some of those craft were not ours?”


TOC - When did obvious passion for cinema begin?

I fell in love with motion pictures when I was a kid, and loved the suspension of disbelief. I loved, going into a movie theater and being completely absorbed into a film. I loved that feeling so much that I actually stayed away from working in film for many years, because I never wanted to lose that experience. 

TOC - Did you study cinema?

My degree is in audio engineering and music, and originally started as a recording artist with Capitol. I never had formal training as a Director, so this project with my student film.

TOC – Are those influences visible in your work?

I brought together many influences in this picture, including my work in video games.


TOC - Is there any common denominator in your movies? An

All of my stories are grounded in research or historical influence. I love the idea to incorporate a real event, or scientific evidence, and asked the question “what if?”

TOC - Are you interested in cinema as a business as art, or some form of activism?

I am hoping with my future work as a Director will help incorporate my love of combining multiple mediums together. I believe gaming, ARGs, comics, and new media will all play a larger role in the future of the film industry. I hope to be at the forefront of that intersection.

TOC - What was the job that gave you the most satisfaction?

This film was only shot in 11 days, however, it was the most incredible experience. It gave me the confidence and opportunity to move forward as a Director and writer, and I am looking forward to announcing my next project.

TOC – Tell me about your film production company?

My production company focuses on original content based on our scripts and graphic novels. We also maintain recording studios and post production facilities to develop content.

TOC - What are you working on right now?

I’m currently developing several new scripts and video games, as well as software platforms, to develop new ways of comics and entertainment. 

TOC - Do you have a feature film project?

We are in funding discussions for my next motion, picture, and hope to have something announced later this year.

TOC - What are your goals in cinema?

My goals are to bring my experience and passion for games, transmedia and non-linear storytelling, to help bring people back to theaters and enjoy the experiences I had growing up.

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