Delivery alert

There may be an issue with the delivery of your newspaper. This alert will expire at NaN. Click here for more info.

Recover password

SFUAD student’s documentary profiles hot-air balloon maker

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Ana Aguilar didn’t always want to pursue a job in the film industry. In fact, the Santa Fe University Art and Design student almost didn’t study it at all.

“I was living at home in Mexico City and going to school there,” she says. “I was actually studying industrial design over there. I came to Santa Fe to study for a semester. One of the film school faculty members met me and took me to an animation class. After that I was hooked and I transferred from Mexico City.”

That was three years ago.

A still from Ana Aguilar’s short film, “Spirals in the Sky.”

A still from Ana Aguilar’s short film, “Spirals in the Sky.”

Aguilar is set to graduate in December but first her short film, “Spirals in the Sky” will premiere at both the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival on Oct. 17 and the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, this weekend.

“Spirals in the Sky” is a short film about hot-air balloon maker Jonathan Wolfe. It was filmed during last year’s Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

“I’ve been living in Santa Fe for three years,” she says. “I’ve been going to Balloon Fiesta the entire time and I always wanted to do a piece on then entire process for a balloon maker.”

The short film provides an insider’s view of the event as well as the creative process of the balloon maker.

Aguilar says she first met Wolfe by phone and then went out to the fiesta about four times last year.

“The entire process was fascinating to me,” she says. “I’m thankful that he gave me all access to tell this story.”

After filming for nearly a week, Aguilar was left with hours of footage, which can be a problem because short films are usually less than 10 minutes.

AGUILAR: Short film accepted to two film festivals

AGUILAR: Short film accepted to two film festivals

“The editing process was tough because I wanted to tell a great story,” she says. “But I also had some time constraints that I had to stick to.”

After working for months, Aguilar was able to get the film to run seven minutes and 28 seconds.

Aguilar says during her time at The Film School at SFUAD, she’s been able to make some great contacts as well as gain experience on set.

For the past two years, she’s also tried to get an internship with the TV show “Longmire,” which shoots on campus at Garson Studios.

“There is so much competition for these jobs,” she says. “The good thing for me is that there are so many film projects going on in New Mexico. It can be easy to find some work.”

Aguilar will continue to submit her film to various film festivals and hopes to begin directing more films after graduation.

“I’ve got my eye on some festivals in Europe,” she says. “I won’t find out about those for a few more months. I’m glad I had the opportunity to make a film that shows some beauty from where I’m living.”

Calling all student writers: The Albuquerque Film & Media Experience is presenting opportunities for students for its first annual student screenwriting contest called “The Shot.” The contest is open to all talented high school and college students and will provide them an opportunity to showcase their abilities, thought process and writing skills by creating a 10-20 page science fiction script, with the winning story being produced and screened at next year’s AMFE in June.

More information can be found at student-screenwriting-competition. The deadline of Nov. 15.

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.