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George R. R. Martin announces scholarship

SANTA FE – George R.R. Martin hopes to “pay it forward” with his new scholarships for film students at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

The scholarships, which will be distributed to students in the college’s Cinematic Arts & Technology Department, include one covering a full year of tuition, $15,000, and two $5,000 scholarships, possibly as soon as the current academic year.

At a news conference Wednesday, the Santa Fe resident and novelist whose fantasy series was adapted into HBO’s “Game of Thrones” series borrowed a quote from famed science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein.

“(He) said ‘You can never pay back the people who helped you when you were starting out, so you have to pay it forward,'” said Martin. “You have to pay the people who come after you. I hope these scholarships will do a little of that.”

He said he hopes the scholarship recipients will do the same thing down the line. “That’s how it should work,” Martin said.

Scholarship applicants must be from a federally-recognized tribe or a Canadian First Nations member and planning to enroll at IAIA full-time, seek a degree in Cinematic Arts and Technology and maintain at least 3.0 GPA.

“Just being able to take the financial burden off some of our students so they can really explore their creativity without all that extra weight on their shoulders is really going to help our students,” said department chair James Lujan.

Many details of the scholarship program are still being worked out, including when the first scholarships will be distributed, the full set of criteria for how recipients will be selected, and whether scholarships will be offered to both continuing and incoming students. IAIA President Robert Martin said he hopes the financial aid provided by Martin can be used as a student recruitment tool.

“There’s many options,” said Lenore Gallegos, Martin’s chief of staff and a board member for Martin’s Literary Fund, part of his personal estate that will fund the George R.R. Martin Scholarship program.

On another matter, Martin also addressed ongoing negotiations he and the city are having about the Greer Garson Theatre and Studios at the now-closed Santa Fe University of Art and Design campus owned by city government.

Martin said that at the request of the city, his Stagecoach Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting the local film industry, will assume management of the professional movie studio.

“The purpose of Stagecoach is to educate, to do programs with IAIA and other groups, but also to bring more film and television productions to Santa Fe and provide jobs to the community and all that,” said Martin. “We have an office building, and now we can offer them these sound stages.”

Management of the 513-seat theater, he said, is more complicated. “Nothing has been resolved yet,” Martin said. He said there are several events at his 130-seat Jean Cocteau Cinema near the Railyard, like magic and burlesque shows, that could fill up a larger space.

“The Greer Garson Theatre is a wonderful facility, and I hope we can be part of the solution to help it continue and provide entertainment and education and other good things for the community of Santa Fe,” Martin said. “It would be a shame to see it sit there and be neglected. But, it’s a lot of complications.”

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