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Filmstock New Mexico focuses on small, independent films

A scene from the short film, “The Joneses,” which will screen at Filmstock New Mexico.

A scene from the short film, “The Joneses,” which will screen at Filmstock New Mexico.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Filmstock New Mexico is growing at a good pace – and that suits James Lee just fine.

Lee, the Filmstock Film Festival director, is gearing up for the Albuquerque installment of the festival beginning on Friday, Sept. 5, and Saturday, Sept. 6, at the KiMo Theatre.

Lee says Filmstock is a short-film festival that stretches over four cities – Albuquerque, Denver, Salt Lake City and Tempe, Ariz.

He says each festival event has its own unique official selections, programming and venues, but films that win awards at any one of these events are eligible to be screened at the other three, garnering more regional exposure to short films than any other festival.

“We’ve always wanted to put the focus on small independent films,” he says.

“Ballad of the Boatman” will screen at Filmstock New Mexico.

“Ballad of the Boatman” will screen at Filmstock New Mexico.

Lee says during last year’s event 400 people showed up for the screenings. It was so successful that Lee expanded the festival to three days, including a day in Santa Fe.

Lee says there will be Filmstock Encore! that will be held from 1-5 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe. The one-day program will include the panel “What Does it Mean to be a Professional Actor?” as well as a film shorts showcase and a reception.

“This will allow us to get more reach and get another audience,” he says. “And it doesn’t leave Santa Fe out of the fun at all.”

Filmstock’s new programming will include a student short film section as well as an acting class.

Lee says the acting class program was started last December in Tempe and it was a successful tool.

“This gives people a real life experience of going through auditions and what they can expect,” he says. “We’ve gathered up a group of local actors to be in the group.”

Lee says cultivating the film festival has been moving along. Each year there are more submissions.

“Last year it took us nine months to get 240 films,” he says. “More and more filmmakers are finding out about us.”

Lee says the festival has teamed up with the New Mexico Film Foundation this year and some of the proceeds will go to the foundation.

“It’s been great to strike up these new relationships,” he says. “Ultimately, we’re all in it to showcase and help local filmmaking strive. It’s also a great collaboration because we are joining forces instead of competing with each other.”

Lee says Nathan Brimmer, Melissa Chambers, Mairi Chanel, Ezra Colon, Sean Dennis, Jonathan David Dixon,  McKenna and Alex Wagenman and Phil Duran will participate in the New Mexico Actor’s Showcase.

“We’ve been working on finding local talent to showcase,” he says. “The first was done last year and we had such a good turnout for it that we’re thinking of expanding it to the other festivals.”

The festival is cut up into five sections.

The first is at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5, and is called “The Pursuit of Happiness.” It will feature the short films, “Sophie’s Fortune,” “The Joneses,” “The Things My Father Never Taught Me,” “Happily Ever After,” “The Princess & the Musician,” “Love Notes,” “S is for Bird,” “Mean Teddies” and “Superfuzz.”

The “Student Shorts Showcase” at 11 a.m. Sept. 7 will feature “O-Star,” “Rabbit & Deer,” “Dirty Laundry,” “First Lessons in Love” and “12 Likes.”

A still from the short film, “Sophie’s Fortune.”

A still from the short film, “Sophie’s Fortune.”

The “Short Docs, Big World,” will feature “A Beautiful Wase,” “Keeper of the Mountains,” “Backyard” and “Wild New Brave.” That will begin at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 7.

The actor’s showcase begins at 3:30 p.m. the same day.

And the final showcase is “The Human Experience” and will feature the films “Ballad of the Boatman,” “For Lotte,” “Puget Sound, WA,” “Last Piper,” “Inseparable,” “Fix” and “Insecurity.”

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.