Our Story

In 2009, Santa Fe IFF was created by local entrepreneurial filmmakers responding to the growing need for a platform specifically promoting independent filmmakers and diverse audiences. The first annual Santa Fe IFF was a resounding success. In 2010 the Second Annual Fest screened 80 films over 6 days, including four Discussions with filmmakers and five After-parties at the most popular venues in Downtown Santa Fe. 2011 was a huge year for the Santa Fe IFF. Honorees included Academy Award Winners Kirby Dick, Tony Mark, and local filmmaker Alton Walpole. Awards were presented by Aviva Farber, Jon Hendry, and Wes and Mara Studi. Over 100 films screened at the 5 day event drawing nearly 2,500 attendees.

Mission Statement

Santa Fe Independent Film Festival is dedicated to the vision of supporting local filmmakers living and working in New Mexico while bringing the best films the cinematic world has to offer to our thriving artistic community and growing audience. Our goal is to create a dialogue between filmmakers of diverse visions and cultures, to enrich our community through innovative experiences and economic opportunities, and to support a vibrant and sustainable filmmaking future in New Mexico by showcasing the latest talent in independent films both local and global.

Our Team

Jacques Paisner
Executive Director and Co-Founder
David Moore
Kathy Smith
Education Director
Pam Gaskins
Volunteer Coordinator
Mariya Deykute
Public Relations
Jasper Dancer
Graphic Designer
Lynn-Celeste Conner
Executive Administrative Assistant
Liesette Paisner
Youth Director

Advisory Board

Kimi Ginoza Green
New Cycle Foundation

Gary Farmer
Dead Man, Powwow Highway

Marissa Juarez
University of Arizona (PHD Literature)
Sherry Broyles
Joe Ray Sandoval
Spoken Word
Charlotte Casey
Howard University, UNM
Xavier Horan
GI Joe, The Bourne Ultimatum (Oscar winner)
Dillon Sachs
Monte Del Sol Charter School
Sheryl Roberts
Casting Director / Producer
Miles Eckhardt
A Simple Life 3
Paul Langland
Tisch School of the Arts


The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival would like to express our appreciation to the Filmmakers honoring us by submitting their projects. To the casts and crews involved in those productions we also extend out gratitude. We extend our warmest thanks to all the wonderful audience members and film enthusiasts in Santa Fe, surrounding communities and Visitors. We are grateful for our generous sponsors and donors who have supported SFIFF with their active participation, resources and dedication to independent film in Santa Fe. Finally, a special thanks to the brilliant volunteers and interns who make up the foundation of this grass-roots organization.


Santa Fe Independent Film Festival

Thank you for having us in your amazing event, as an indie filmmaker and a sound supervisor in the industry, I have worked on and been involved with many films and projects. It is a pleasure to see how two guys from my home town can put together a great and inspirational film fest that brings wonderful projects and pushes the boundaries in the Indie filmmaking. Our crew and family that dedicated a lot of time and effort into our short "Love Stinks" were overwhelmed with the success of this organization and look forward to showing more films and being involved with Santa Fe IFF for years to come. Congrats again from us to you.

Xavier Horan,
Producer/Sound Supervisor
Dave and Jacques,

Andrew Morgado here, writer and producer of Love Stinks. I would like to profusely thank you guys and everyone involved for such a great experience this year. As a filmmaker I have been to many festivals, but The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival by far has the most heart and dedication to real independent films and their creators. The amount of work you all put in was so evident in every screening and event. The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival embodies truly what every festival either set out to be or wishes they could be. Thank you all so much. See you next Year!!!!!

Andrew Morgado
Producer-"Love Stinks"
Emmy winning mixer on Showtimes "Weeds"
Golden Reel Winner "500 Days of Summer"

Contact Us


Phone: (505) 470.2411

Santa Fe IFF
215 W. San Francisco Street 202A,
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Jacques Paisner

Santa Fe IFF Founding Director received a BA degree in English-Philosophy in 2003 from the University of New Mexico. He was born in Minneapolis in 1980, grew up in Oregon, Navajo Nation and Santa Fe, a 1998 graduate of Santa Fe High School. Jacques worked as an assistant cameraman for Posada Productions in 2004. He is the author of Albuquerque Blues 2007, and was writer and director of the 2009 feature film, Rejection. He currently serves as the youngest Board Member of the Santa Fe Railyard Community Corporation.

David Moore

Santa Fe IFF Founding Director was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is a 2001 graduate of Desert Academy Co-Founder of an independent record label in 2004. He received a BA degree in Criminology from University of New Mexico in 2008. Moore played the lead role and received co-producer credit for the 2009 feature film Rejection.

Alexandra Nakelski

Alexandra Nakelski has been in some form or another involved with the film industry for over ten years. With an early background in theater, Alexandra decided to broaden her experience in the arts. She received her B.A. from the University of New Mexico in Mass Communication and Journalism with a Minor in Film Studies. In 1999, there were not many opportunities in the film industry in New Mexico, so Ali moved to Los Angeles to pursue her first love of special effects makeup. Having been a background extra in productions such as Freaks and Geeks, The X-Files and The West Wing, she earned her Editing Certification during this time on AVID at Tapestry Films in Beverly Hills. Her imdb credit includes Olsen Twins' productions including: Holiday in the Sun and Winning London. She was also apprentice editor on National Lampoon's Van Wilder and Sherwood Jones's The First Time. Upon her move to New York in 2004, Ali was editorial assistant and film reviewer for the genre classic publications Starlog and Fangoria. Here she sharpened her Journalistic skills by interviewing cult celebrities and filmmakers. Some of her interviews include: John Carpenter, Joe Dante, Richard Benjamin, Ray Harryhausen, Christopher Coppola, Tony Bill, Larry Gross, Andy Lane and John Badham. In 2008 Ms. Nakelski after returning to California, earned her Masters in Film Studies at Chapman University. Many opportunities arose from this experience including her involvement in programming film festivals. She was the short film programmer and filmmaker liaison for The Method Independent Film Festival for two seasons and screener for three.

As film coordinator assistant at the University, Ali was hired as script consultant for independent film producers and casted several student productions. As if this was not all keeping her plate full, Ali was teaching assistant for three prominent professors at Chapman: Alex Rose, producer of Norma Rae. Industry Insiders Class, Larry Gross, writer of 48 Hours and Streets of Fire. Feature Analysis Class and Dr. Igor Kokarev, Executive Director, Soviet/American Entertainment Summit, Los Angeles, 1987, Vice-President, American/Soviet Film Initiative (ASFI-ASK), Moscow, 1987/1992. Her 120-page thesis was titled "Ain't Nothing Like the Reel Thing Baby" The Millennial Film Remake, a Postmodern Simulation. The research was based on the onslaught of 1970s-80s pop culture remakes of recent times and how they are done out of ironic simulation, not out of homage.

After graduating, Ms. Nakelski moved back to Albuquerque after eleven years to expand her thesis at the American Studies Department at UNM into a dissertation including scholarly comparisons of how pop culture is produced and consumed in Pre-vs. Post-Internet years. Her book that she has been researching for two years on remembering life before the Internet, an homage to growing up in the 80s and scholarly criticism on a technologically over stimulated society is soon completed. This work includes personal observations and field studies, interviews of celebrities and filmmakers in Hollywood and academic research. This book fuses scholarly logic with humor and accessibility.

Since returning to New Mexico, she has worked as Executive Programmer of the 2010 Santa Fe Film Festival and teaches short film classes. Currently, while finishing her book, she is Educational Director of the 2011 Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, Producer of Prodigal Sons' 35th Anniversary Production of David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago and is teaching assistant of genre film classes to Dr. James Stone of the UNM Cinematic Arts Department.

Mariya Deykute

Born in Moscow, Russia and exported at 11, Mariya has since called home Brooklyn, Montreal and Santa Fe. A traveler, poet, writer, anthropologist, filmmaker and urban explorer, Mariya has biked across the country, studied archaeology in Israel, hitch-hiked through most of Pennsylvania and traveled to most U.S. states at least once. She is awed by the diversity of art and communities she has experienced and is committed to being a voice for the diversity she has experienced. Her vision includes film festivals, World War II history, Finland, women surrealists, modern dance, capoeira and the voice of the people.

Tyler Snyder

Tyler has been avidly using computers for about 20 years. This has given him excellent knowledge in all areas of design, with the ability to keep current and utilize changing technology and programs on computers and the Internet. He is passionate about the industry he is involved in, and strives for cutting edge design in his work; he is adaptable, and can seamlessly move between being a designer to a coder to decision maker. This flexibility can also be seen in his creative work where he excels in any given task, be it web building, multimedia, branding, or print.

Jasper Dancer

Jasper has been in graphic design and printing for over 10 years. Through it all, it is his constant goal to bring a personable, caring and effective approach to all of his clients, respecting their opinions and direction, and reaching the highest level of creative communications. If necessary, he can outsource phases of a project to maximize efficiency. Jasper often collaborates with a trusted team of professionals that specialize in Photography, Web Programming, Multimedia and Printing.

Kathy Smith

Kathy began her lifelong love of entertainment, party and event organization & planning at her parent's Country Club in Michigan. She continued her passion with blender sports parties on the docks of Key West and soriees in uptown New Orleans. She was with the Santa Fe Film Festival from 2000 to 2006, first as a volunteer and then a venue manager, and was on staff as Venue's Manager.from 2007 to 2009, overseeing the management and staff of the festival's movie venues. She joined the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival in 2010 because, as she says, 'I love these guys!'.

Lynn-Celeste Conner

Lynn-Celeste Conner Chiricahua Nde'(Apache), direct descendent of Cochise, widely known for her bead-work and performance art, artistic accomplishments over the course of her career include: Real Faces Artivist Interview Project, Coordinator of Komotion International's gallery and performance space, is presently working on the Chiricahua Nde' Cultural Restoration Project, has performed individually as well as with artists such as Bad Unkl Sista Butoh. She grew up between San Francisco and Northern New Mexico, received an AFA from Institute of American Indian Arts, BFA's from College of Santa Fe, CCA (Oakland), San Francisco Art Institute in the areas of: creative writing, printmaking, theater/dance/voice, video, installation and performance art. Exhibited, performed & taught in these areas extensively for several decades. She has been mentored by Guillermo Gomez-Pena and studied extensively with Jill Parker of Fat Chance Belly Dance/Ultra Gypsy.

Pam Gaskins

As a baby army-brat, I was weened on cinema(25 cents a film,10 cents for popcorn).By the time I'd graduated from college I'd lived in 3 corners of the United States plus Germany. I handed my diploma to my parents (music and math teachers) grabbed the greyhound with my sweetheart and headed west. Seattle became home for 13 years. My degree is in Public Health: Community Health Education, but cooking is what gave me a hint of the world. I started in the northwest (with the grizzlies in Katmai,Alaska and on a cargo freighter through the gulf of Alaska). Over 30 years of "cheffing" on land and at sea aboard classic yachts:motor and sail, from humpback whales in the Dominican Republic, to cruising the Indonesian islands,down from the Bahamas through the windward islands of the Caribbean and more, film has been a constant companion. Now home is in my handbuilt house in Ojo Caliente.

Liesette Paisner

Liesette Paisner was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico and is completing her B.A in history at the University of New Mexico (2012). Liesette was the New Mexico Coordinator of Martin Luther King III's Realizing the Dream Poverty Initiative in America. Liesette Paisner worked for the Southwest Literary Center, Recursos de Santa Fe, and Royal Roads Tours as office manager, personal assistant, conference planner and facilitator, then continued on as freelance conference developer and organizer, website manager and researcher during the academic year and subsequent summer to the end of 2009. In summer 2008, Paisner directed the Southwest Literary Center's Women Writers' Conference, which featured women writers from the Southwest. Also during 2008 she worked with the planning and development of the First Annual UNESCO International Conference on Creative Tourism. Liesette is currently an intern at IATSE local 480 and producer of the upcoming show Shot Here Santa Fe. Liesette is an enthusiast of independent film.