LAST YEAR, THE SANTA FE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (SFIFF) rebranded to recognize its global draw, with entries spanning more than 100 countries, including films from France, India, and Ukraine. What began in 2009 has grown into the largest event of its kind in the state, with more than 300 hours of documentaries, feature films, and shorts at the Violet Crown Santa Fe, Jean Cocteau Cinema, and Lensic Performing Arts Center, October 18–22. “There’s so much to draw from,” says Jacques Paisner, SFIFF artistic director. “So we get to be really picky and show only the best films.” Even with the expanded reach, the festival continues to showcase the creative talents of New Mexico directors, producers, and actors. “We’ve got such a wealth of people making big and little movies here,” Paisner says. “It makes a lot of sense for us to do a strong New Mexico program.” Plus, the event’s reputation as a highly competitive festival and its more than $100,000 in prizes go a long way to boost local filmmakers. “Many describe it as the thing that launched them to be able to go on and make bigger movies,” he says. Here are three New Mexico films to catch.
I Am Home. A 2022 Sundance Indigenous Fellow, Kymon Greyhorse (Diné) explores themes of identity in his newest work, which is inspired by and dedicated to the matriarchs in his family. “He’s tapping into his cultural history,” Paisner says. “He really knows where to place the camera and how to create drama on screen.”
Helen's Dead. Directed by K. Asher Levin, the thriller follows a young woman who finds out her boyfriend, Adam, is sleeping with her cousin Helen. When she goes to confront them, she finds out Helen is dead, and the film becomes a murder mystery. Emile Hirsch, who grew up in New Mexico, plays Adam, and the movie was filmed around Santa Fe. “Hirsch will be here with the film,” says Paisner.
First We Bombed New Mexico. The documentary by Santa Fe filmmaker Lois Lipman tells an important part of New Mexico’s nuclear history that you won’t see in Christopher Nolan’s summer blockbuster, Oppenheimer. Lipman’s story focuses on the “downwinders,” individuals whose lives were devastated by the testing of the first atomic bomb in southern New Mexico and their search for recognition and justice. “She has really taken on a remarkable story,” Paisner says. “It’s very timely.”
TAOS WOOLS FESTIVAL
Unique works of fiber art, beautiful yarns, and wool items highlight this inaugural event hosted by Taos Wools at Revolt Gallery. Don’t miss the Woven Woolens Fashion Show on October 6, featuring designs by Josh Tafoya, and the Three Weavers exhibition running October 2–8.
Gaze at the changing leaves and sip local brews at the three-day celebration in Red River, where you’ll find a kids’ zone, a mustache and beard competition, craft vendors, and live music at Brandenburg Park.
COLEXICO EXPERIENCE SPAGHETTI & WESTERNS FESTIVAL
October 13 & 14
Get your fill of honky-tonk hoedowns, film screenings, scenic train rides, Western-themed drag shows, and spaghetti dinners at this interstate collaborative festival in Ratón, New Mexico, and Trinidad, Colorado.
BONNIE “PRINCE” BILLY WITH LAURA PREMO
After the release of his first children’s book, Shorty’s Ark, indie rocker Will Oldham, aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy, takes the stage for an intimate concert at Fusion, in Albuquerque. Bookworks will be on-site, selling copies of the book.
PEANUT VALLEY CRAFT & MUSIC FESTIVAL
October 21 & 22
Have a crackin’ good time at the 50th annual celebration of food, music, and artistry at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds in Portales.
Día de los Muertos, Santa Fe
October 27 & 28
Dia de Los Muertos Celebration, Mesilla
October 28 & 29 (Procession November 2)