The gritty downtown atmosphere of the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, the Utah mountain setting of the Sundance Festival and the luxurious beaches and yachts of the Cannes Film Festival in France are part of what makes each festival unique.
The Santa Fe Film Festival, which runs this year from Nov. 28 through Dec. 2, has the beauty of the New Mexico desert for a backdrop and a laid-back Southwestern charm for attendees to savor.
The festival was created in 1999 by founder and executive-director Jon Bowman as a non-profit organization and officially began running its film schedule in 2000.
Set in picturesque New Mexico, the Santa Fe Film Festival, this year's festival runs from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2.
More than 80 programs with almost 200 films, shorts and features from various genres, themes and topics will be shown this year.
The festival will feature seven categories of films:
The opening night Gala film is "Juno" starring Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman. Other Gala films include Brian DePalma's "Redacted," and "The Walker" starring Lily Tomlin, Lauren Bacall and Kristin Scott Thomas. "Grace Is Gone" starring Joan Cusack will close the festival.
When the festival began, the initial award categories included: "Best Short," "Best Documentary," "Best Feature," "Best Native American Film," and "Best Latino Film."
Fast forward to 2006 and the awards became more diversified with the "Milagro Award" (best American independent film), the "Independent Spirit Award" (Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Independent Spirit Award), and the Audience Award, Honorable Mention (if needed), Creative Spirit Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award (if warranted).
This year's Luminarias are documentarians Marina Goldavskaya, Alanis Obomsawin, Editor Carol Littleton, Director of Photography John Bailey, and the Maverick award will be awarded to Alan Cumming.
Veteran actress and Santa Fe local, Ali MacGraw and New Mexican native actor, dancer, and choreographer Raoul Trujillo will host the Santa Fe Film Festival's Milagro Awards ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 4 p.m. at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Jurors and celebrity presenters will unveil winning films for the festival's competitive awards.
"This is our eighth season and we expect major growth with attendees from around the world," Rubin said. "As we approach year ten we expect much more growth, thanks to our new sponsors and partners this year and those who come on board in the future as well as our growing reputation as a well- rounded and fun festival, not to be missed."
By Melissa Castellanos