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A Wide Angle: The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival Buy Tickets Directly

A wide angle: The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival

The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival is in full swing. Now in its eighth year, the festival has grown to include more than 100 films which might seem like a lot, but that list has been culled down from over a thousand entries. Of course, we can't show a thousand films, SFIFF's executive director Jacques Paisner told Pasatiempo. "There are about 40 features this year and just over 70 shorts." The festival features nearly 300 hours of programming at five of Santa Fe's local movie theaters: Violet Crown Cinema, the Center for Contemporary Art's Cinematheque, the Lensic Performing Arts Center, the Jean Cocteau Cinema, and The Screen. This is the second year we're in all five art-house theaters in Santa Fe, Paisner said.

Moviemaker Magazine has named SFIFF one of the 50 best film fests worth the entry fee for the third year in a row, and the programming for 2016 backs up that claim. The festival opened on Wednesday, Oct. 19, with the British crime drama Trespass Against Us and continues through Sunday, Oct. 23, closing with the documentary Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise. Aaron Brookner's documentary Uncle Howard, about director Howard Brookner; Staying Vertical, the latest film by French director Alain Guiraudie; and the new James Franco and Christian Slater film King Cobra are among the selections.

Choosing five days worth of programming presents festival organizers with some challenges. "We split it the way most big film festivals do, through competition films and special selections, documentaries, feature films, and short films," Paisner said. "Each of those major categories represents the best independent films of the year in that category. Then you'll have themes that emerge each year through the programming. This year we have a lot of female directors, as compared to previous years, and we?re really excited about that. There's also a poetry theme that's come to light through the programming, with the Maya Angelou documentary and Al Purdy Was Here, about the Canadian poet Al Purdy."

The festival was co-founded in 2009 by Paisner; his sister, festival director Liesette Paisner; and festival chair Gary Farmer. Derek Horne curates the shorts, which include an international selection of experimental, documentary, animated, and narrative films. In addition, filmmaker panels and master discussions take place throughout the festival run. Visit for a full schedule of showtimes and venues. Tickets are available at, by calling 505-469-9983, at the SFIFF box office (319 S. Guadalupe St., 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), or at the door on the day of the screenings. Tickets for all films are $15; an all-access festival pass is available for $300. The awards ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 22, takes place at the Lensic Performing Arts Center at 6:30 p.m. and will recognize Best Documentary Feature and Best Narrative Feature in addition to handing out a Special Jury Prize, Audience Choice Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award, and an American Director Award. Admission is $20.

Here we present a fresh round of reviews of festival films, as well as features on Lifetime Achievement Award winner Jacqueline Bisset, American Director Award winner Jay Roach, and more.

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