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Santa Fe New Mexican - Santa Fe deserves a great film festival

I am so happy to welcome you all to the 2017 Santa Fe Independent Film Festival -- the ninth one -- which got underway this week.

Here we are, nine years later and looking back -- it was easy and it?s been fun. Each year, we put in our heart and soul, long hours and hard work because we believe Santa Fe is perfect for a world-class film festival worthy of our hometown. It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve this community by showing some of the best independent films and foreign films on Earth.

It's going to be an exciting festival, honoring the work of John Sayles and Maggie Renzi, N. Scott Momaday, John Waters, Max Evans, Wes Studi and the late Sam Shepard.

With more than 300 hours of programming, 50 feature films, five theaters, interactive discussions, masters panels discussion, and parties every night, we have a big week ahead of us. Then, we wake up on Monday morning and begin work on the 10th annual festival.

What began as just an idea has become spectacular. But we always knew that this festival could be sophisticated and classy center for artistic creativity in filmmaking and writer-director driven films. that it could be so fabulous. It took time, but we had a whole community to rally around this vision. With the CCA, the Lensic, and The Screen, we already had beautiful theaters. We know it took George R.R. Martin's purchase of the Jean Cocteau, and the construction of Violet Crown to make us possibly the greatest movie theater city in the U.S.

So, we welcome friends and film geeks from all over the world to join us, and for Santa Fe to be as big a film destination as New York City. Because we should never be a second unit for Hollywood. The scene here should be unique like New York City in the 1970s, where film is driven by a singular vision of an artist, auteurs are the force behind production, and we create our own content with our own writers and directors.

We have a wealth of creativity here, and it is my firm belief that ingenuity can be our biggest export. So look forward to some once-in-a-lifetime events, an ambitious slate of films, and really building a scene and a community around movies in Santa Fe. In the end, it really ends up being incumbent on each and every one of you, because you alone can change everything just by going to the movies.

Jacques Paisner is the executive director of the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival.

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