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Bringing world-class cinema to Santa Fe

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Jacques Paisner believes film festivals should be experienced in person.

As artistic director for the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, Paisner is looking forward to staging the festival in person in October.

“It’s going to be amazing,” he says. “It was a strange year and we’re so glad to be going back in the right direction.”

Like many other film festivals, SFIFF had to pivot for last year’s festival. The organizers went with a hybrid model showing some films virtually, while some films were screened at the Motorama at the Downs Santa Fe.

Santa Fe-based author George RR Martin, left, and actor Wes Studi have been honored by the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. This year’s event will be held in person Oct. 13-17 in Santa Fe. (Courtesy of SFIFF)

This year’s festival – which runs Oct. 13-17 – will collaborate with the Lensic Performing Arts Center, the Violet Crown Cinema, the Jean Cocteau Cinema and the Center for Contemporary Arts, which also runs The Screen in midtown.

Paisner says seeing movies in theaters is a collective experience.

“It’s the kind of thing that can’t be replicated in your living room,” he says. “The fun of it is watching a film with strangers and hearing their reactions. We had a feeling that we’d be able to come back for a full in-person festival this year and it’s happening.”

Paisner is looking forward to a lineup of exciting new international films and American independents, including both features and short films, as well as networking-focused industry events and parties.

This year also marks the festival’s 13th year and organisers have collaborated with the likes of Netflix in the past to present films.

“We’ve grown the festival slowly and it’s become one that draws attention,” he says.

Although the 2020 iteration of the festival was different, it was successful in showcasing films.

There were 38 feature films screened, along with 75 short films and 41 international films from 25 countries.

Paisner says the festival will continue to host online screenings of select feature films and shorts this year, which also expands its reach.

“The special events will be back, as well as our awards ceremony,” he says. “We continue to develop creativity in our community by bringing world-class cinema to Santa Fe.”

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