Hot tick­ets

An over­view of the fest

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO -

Surg­ing ticket sales sug­gest the 2017 Santa Fe In­de­pen­dent Film Fes­ti­val will draw the big­gest crowds in its nine-year his­tory. That’s the word from Jac­ques Pais­ner, SFIFF’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, who said ad­vance ticket sales are run­ning 10 per­cent ahead of norm. Last year’s fes­ti­val drew around 10,000 pa­trons — one-quar­ter of them com­ing from out of town, Pais­ner said. He ex­pects 11,000 or more to show up for this year’s event, built around close to 50 fea­ture films, plus nearly 60 shorts as­sem­bled into sev­eral an­thol­ogy pro­grams. The fes­ti­val opens Wed­nes­day, Oct. 18, at Vi­o­let Crown with The Square, the Palme d’Or win­ner from this year’s Cannes Film Fes­ti­val and Swe­den’s of­fi­cial nom­i­nee for Os­car con­sid­er­a­tion as best for­eign­lan­guage fea­ture. It’s a pic­ture per­fectly suited for Santa Fe — a sting­ing satire that delves into the pol­i­tics and so­cial me­dia foibles sur­round­ing the op­er­a­tion of the ul­tra-hip X-Royal Mu­seum, a show­case for avant-garde art. Claes Bang stars as the har­ried chief cu­ra­tor, with Elis­a­beth Moss play­ing an Amer­i­can re­porter who has the hots for him.

In a new twist, all panel dis­cus­sions this year have been moved to the Santa Fe Play­house, free­ing up the par­tic­i­pat­ing the­aters — Vi­o­let Crown, The Screen, the Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts, Jean Cocteau Cin­ema, and the Len­sic Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter — to fo­cus ex­clu­sively on show­ing movies. The fes­ti­val is also us­ing a new tick­et­ing sys­tem, Elevent, pre­vi­ously used at the Hamp­tons In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val and other re­gional film fests. Pais­ner said pa­trons can now choose their seats and elect to sit with friends, even those hold­ing all-fes­ti­val passes. There are ticket pack­ages — in six-and eight-packs — avail­able for deep dis­counts over the price of in­di­vid­ual tick­ets. Be­sides th­ese im­prove­ments, Pais­ner promised, “All of the par­ties are go­ing to be big­ger and bet­ter.” Many are only open to passh­old­ers, so do visit the SFIFF web­site at www .santafein­de­pen­dent­film­fes­ti­ for de­tails on the par­ties, and how to gain ad­mis­sion.

Spe­cial guests for the 2017 fes­ti­val are film­mak­ers John Wa­ters, along with John Sayles and his part­ner Mag­gie Renzi. Pais­ner called Wa­ters and Sayles “the god­fa­thers of in­de­pen­dent cin­ema in the United States.” Sayles and Renzi are com­ing not only to re­ceive life­time achieve­ment awards, but also to do pre­lim­i­nary re­search for a film they plan to shoot all over New Mex­ico, in­clud­ing in the Santa Fe area.

Pais­ner’s sis­ter, Liesette Pais­ner Bai­ley, serves as the fes­ti­val’s di­rec­tor. While she’s burn­ing the mid­night oil, she said, “If you love your job, you never have to work a day in your life. I can’t think of any­thing I’d rather be do­ing than get­ting around peo­ple and talk­ing about movies ev­ery day of my life.”

The fo­cus of the fes­ti­val swings over to the Len­sic on Thurs­day, Oct. 19, for the world pre­miere of Re­turn

to Rainy Moun­tain. The new film by Jill Mo­ma­day explores her Kiowa her­itage, in­clud­ing not only tribal his­toric and cul­tural lore, but also a visit with Mo­ma­day’s fa­ther, N. Scott Mo­ma­day, Pulitzer Prize-win­ning au­thor of House Made of Dawn .He will also re­ceive a life­time achieve­ment award, and

both Mo­ma­days will speak fol­low­ing the 6:30 p.m. screen­ing, joined by screen­writer Kirk Ellis.

For Jill Mo­ma­day, the evening will be the cul­mi­na­tion of a life­time dream. As a lit­tle girl grow­ing up in Santa Fe, she at­tended the Len­sic pre­miere of Red Sky

at Morn­ing, fea­tur­ing its lo­cal au­thor, Richard Brad­ford, whom she knew through her fa­ther. “I dreamed then of hav­ing my own film that I would make in the fu­ture, and of pre­mier­ing it at the Len­sic,” she said.

This was not an easy dream to achieve. She said it took her six years to com­plete Rainy Moun­tain, which will air on KNME-TV in Al­bu­querque at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 21. Mo­ma­day and her di­rec­tor of pho­tog­ra­phy and co-edi­tor, Dou­glas Craw­ford, re­traced the Kiowas’ jour­ney across the Great Plains from Mon­tana to Ok­la­homa, trav­el­ing 5,000 miles to shoot at sa­cred lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing the Devils Tower in Wy­oming and Rainy Moun­tain in Ok­la­homa. At one junc­ture, shoot­ing was put on hold when Mo­ma­day broke her an­kle af­ter get­ting bucked by a horse. She said she nearly gave up a few times, but per­se­vered at the en­cour­age­ment of her mother, who died last sum­mer, but not be­fore telling her, “Jilly, just fin­ish the film.”

It’s quite a mov­ing work, an­chored by N. Scott Mo­ma­day’s rec­ol­lec­tions of his child­hood and his per­spec­tives on the Kiowa peo­ple. Jill Mo­ma­day’s work is out first, but her fa­ther will make a sec­ond ap­pear­ance on PBS sta­tions in 2018 in a forth­com­ing Amer­i­can Masters doc­u­men­tary be­ing di­rected by an­other Kiowa film­maker, Jef­frey Palmer. Mo­ma­day said she might make an­other film some­day, but first she wants to fin­ish a book she’s started that de­scribes her fa­ther’s Kiowa be­liefs and the an­cient lore he’s shared. Liv­ing in Santa Fe among so many artists, she has a sec­ond dream, of “be­com­ing the Na­tive Amer­i­can Oprah.” She’d like to host a talk show, with all the guests be­ing great artists and cul­tural icons. It will prob­a­bly take some time to hap­pen, but don’t be sur­prised when it does. In the mean­time, we have Re­turn to Rainy Moun­tain to en­joy.

N. Scott Mo­ma­day

Di­rec­tor Jill Mo­ma­day

Mo­ma­day as an in­fant

Liesette Pais­ner Bai­ley and Jac­ques Pais­ner

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