Santa Fe Film Festival,
social event as it was a cinematic celebration. By Bowman’s count, the festival generally attracted 6,000 patrons.
It also racked up debt — reportedly about $100,000 as of 2008 — and the choice of titles often reflected a “quantity over quality” approach. Its annual budget hit $400,000 in 2007, even though Bowman worked pro bono and it was mostly staffed by volunteers through its 10 years.
Hare and Kuo said they wanted to be more selective with titles this year, in an effort to bring in films that have received considerable festival buzz elsewhere. They’re aware that some diehard festival fans may be disappointed by the slim offerings. Hare said he doesn’t see the fest ever exceeding more than 20 titles in the future. After this year’s festival, Hare said, he and Kuo plan to meet with board members to discuss the future.
“We’ll have to look at our resources and make a decision as to what we can do well,” he said. “There are big 100-, 200-, 300-title film festivals around the world, but that doesn’t really fit the scale of a more intimate town like Santa Fe. We’d like to see the festival become something of a film retreat for visiting filmmakers, where film artists have some down time to see other events in Santa Fe while they are here.”
Kuo previously served as artistic director of the American Film Institute and was recently named executive director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center (she said it’s too soon to tell how that position might impact her future at the Santa Fe Film Festival). She said Santa Fe is an ideal location for a “boutique festival in which it can embrace a lot of different facets, including art, music, and food — a festival in which people escaping for the weekend can come to enjoy film and the other aspects of art in the city. Michael and the board are committed to developing a world-class film festival. Santa Fe is a city that is readymade for a high-quality film viewing experience like that.”