4 Days, 5 Theaters, 100 Films this is the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival


Film and television posters hang along the walls in
the offices above the Jean Cocteau Cinema on Montezuma Street. A massive
model of the Iron Giant from the 1999 movie of the same name stands
guard at the top of the stairs. Deeper inside, Liesette Paisner Bailey
and her brother Jacques Paisner work on programming for the theater
downstairs (their day jobs as program directors hits its first full year
soon). Simultaneously, they’re putting the finishing touches on the
upcoming ninth annual Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. Paisner
Bailey’s gargantuan dog Gonzo snoozes on the floor, and Paisner leans
back in an office chair, phone in hand, with DVD screeners, spreadsheets
and various stacks of paper encircling him. They both look tired, but
we’ve hit the tail end of their massive undertaking here. The festival
is right around the corner.

Paisner and Paisner-Bailey cobbled
together the first iteration of the fest a mere nine years ago. Since
then, it’s morphed from a handful of films screened at Warehouse 21 into
a jam-packed weekend featuring 100 (give or take) independently
produced full-length, documentary and short films—plus filmmaker
appearances, guest speakers, panel discussions and parties. The advent
of more theaters (such as the famously George RR Martin-revitalized Jean
Cocteau and the arrival of Violet Crown Cinema) helped, but Paisner
says he always had a feeling it would be well-received.

“I do
think that, in the last several years, we really have started to realize
the vision we thought it could be,” he tells SFR. “We have more
theaters now, we’re giving achievement awards—this year to John Sayles
and Maggie Renzi and N Scott Momaday—and we’re doing things like
bringing John Waters back to Santa Fe and … I think we always looked at
the event and thought, ‘This could be so great!’”

Paisner’s estimation, this fest is the…

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