The Duke City could be on track to be a major film festival destination.
Oscar-winning actor Robert Redford is helping bring the Albuquerque Film & Media Experience to Nob Hill from June 3-9.
Redford is behind the Sundance Film Festival, which has grown into the biggest independent film festival in the United States.
While not quite as big as Sundance, AFME will have movies, student-created digital media, art exhibits, food and film events as well as a series of “Intimate Conversations” with talent throughout the community.
“We want this to be an experience for the entire community,” said Lainie “Sevante” Quirk, co-founder of AFME. “It’s been a long time in the making, and we’re starting to see it unfold and getting response from all around the world.”
Quirk said she and co-founder Ivan Wiener have been working on the project for nearly eight months.
She said the idea stemmed from her travels around the world and seeing how TV and film put Albuquerque on the map.
“I would tell people that I met overseas that I was from Albuquerque and they would immediately connect it to ‘Breaking Bad,’ ” she says. “We saw this as a chance to keep Albuquerque in the global spotlight and try to make amazing alliances with other countries.”
Redford and wife, Sibylle Szaggars-Redford, will be guests at the event, even taking part in “An Evening with Robert Redford and Special Guests.”
Wiener says Giancarlo Esposito, who appeared on “Breaking Bad” and is now on NBC’s “Revolutions,” will be a guest at the festival as will be director Joshua Michael Stern, who directed the upcoming Steve Jobs film “Jobs” and “Swing Vote.”
“We are honored to have such a high caliber of talent supporting us,” he says. “The event is about having a great film experience, but it’s also about giving back to the community.”
During the seven-day event, AFME will host a night of performance art with Szaggars-Redford and Icelandic pianist David Thor Jonsson with Redford and Catherine Oppenheimer to benefit the National Dance Institute of New Mexico as well as a food and film dinner benefitting The Storehouse.
Quirk says AFME will also offer international programming which will showcase filmmakers and talent from Israel and the United Kingdom.
“We want to create a great relationship with various countries,” she says. “Next year, we’re looking to add a lot more international films and programming.”
AFME is still accepting submissions for the festival at www.abqfilmexperience.com.
— This article appeared on page C2 of the Albuquerque Journal