The biggest film festival in New Mexico kicked off on Oct. 19 at The Violet Crown Cinema, the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival (SFIFF) will screen films through Oct. 23 at Violet Crown Cinema, Jean Cocteau Cinema, The Lensic, Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA) and The Screen at SFUAD. SFIFF will also hold discussions with filmmakers at the Munoz Waxman Gallery on Oct. 23. Jacques Paisner, executive director and co-founder of the festival finds himself buried in emails, phone calls and meetings this time of year, but remains open to discussion of the festival.
SFIFF started in 2009 as a fringe festival in a community center. By 2011, SFIFF had become the biggest film festival in New Mexico and for hundreds of miles in each direction of the state. SFIFF was founded by Paisner and David Moore with the intention of “advancing independent, innovative and cutting edge cinema.” SFIFF has had the pleasure of honoring big name directors like Tony Mark (The Hurt Locker), Judy Blume (Tiger Eyes), John Waters (Hairspray), Wes Studi (Avatar) and SFUAD’s own Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals), as well as presenting Lifetime Achievement Awards to George R.R Martin and Shirley Maclaine, which brought in 10,000 attendees. “It’s our third year in a row with those numbers, so you know it wasn’t just a fluke,” says Paisner.
Paisner is expecting an equally big turnout this year if not a bigger one. SFIFF will screen more than 100 films in a four-day period, ranging from documentary to horror to comedy to short films. SFIFF isn’t genre-exclusive, they have monthly submission deadlines open to all filmmakers as well as student filmmakers.“We show all the best independent films of the seasons, so the themes rise out of the films of the year. Like poetry, we have a poets corner, films about Maya Angelou and William S. Burroughs,” Paisner says.
SFIFF will host a”Santa Fe Student Short” award ceremony on 5:30-7:30 p.m, Oct. 20 at Jean Cocteau Cinema. The ceremony will honor Santa Fe student filmmakers, including SFUAD directors and their films:
Giraffe directed by Brendan Boyle
Karkutong directed by Zoe Dahmen
Marvin and Mavis directed by Joshua Leftwich
Longshotsville directed by Jody McNicholas
Parallax directed by Kyle Sherling
The Boy From Constanta directed by Bunee Tomlinson
Trombone directed by Destiny Trahern
SFIFF was named in Moviemaker Magazine’s 2016 “50 Film Festival’s Worth the Entry Fee.” The submission fees range from $30 to $100, depending on category and occupation (student or non-student). Paisner and co-programmers Liesette Paisner (festival director) and Derek Horne (shorts programmer), sift through more than 1,000 submissions every submitting period. Most films included in the festival are the best of the submissions with a few films that were included despite not being submitted to SFIFF.
Paisner says he’s looking forward to Trespass Against Us with Michael Fassbender, which premiered at Violet Crown Cinema on Oct. 19, as well as the Santa Fe Student Shorts and the New Mexico True Shorts premiering 7-9 PM on Oct. 20 at The Lensic. At the end of the week, Paisner will be at SFUAD to view various screenings and events held at The Screen, rubbing elbows with seasoned directors, student filmmakers and potential big names in the film industry.
Thursday, Oct. 20—
The Caveman of Atomic City: Intro and Q&A by director Paul Ratner
Friday, Oct. 21—
Always Shine 6-7:30 p.m
Saturday, Oct. 22—
Always Shine 5-6:30 p.m
My Life as a Film: How My Father Tried to Capture Happiness 7-8:30 p.m
Sunday, Oct. 23—
The Caveman of Atomic City 1-2:30 p.m
My Life as a Film: How My Father Tried to Capture Happiness 3-4:30 p.m
Tickets for screenings can be bought on the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival website.