by Robert Nott, Santa Fe New Mexican
New Mexico has gone movie crazy in the past few years, what with tax breaks and financial incentives drawing filmmakers from around the globe to shoot their projects here.
But Santa Fe has been stricken with movie madness for at least a decade, since Jon Bowman and a group of dedicated cinephiles started The Santa Fe Film Festival — five days of films, workshops, panel talks and parties, all celebrating the independent cinematic spirit.
The 10th festival kicks off today with a 7 p.m. screening of Everybody's Fine, Kirk Jones' drama about a widower (Robert DeNiro) who journeys cross country to reconnect with his grown children; at the Regal DeVargas theater DeVargas Center. Several other screenings take place at other venues this evening, too, and the festival hosts its usual opening-night parties.
This year's event is a bit scaled down because of financial restraints, and it marks the 10th and final year that Bowman will serve as executive director. He's retiring, to be replaced by festival operations director Karen RedHawk Dallet. Dallet has already announced plans to move next year's festival to October rather than December.
Bowman, found checking out ticket sales at the film festival's box-office headquarters on Old Santa Fe Trail (in the old Fraser's Pharmacy site), said business was healthy and even a tad better than it was this time last year.
A popcorn machine churned out the kernels — an appropriate treat for visitors — as Bowman spoke, and movie posters for various festival entries covered the walls. ("Some of life's greatest journeys begin at the end," reads the tag line for the locally shot Spoken Word poster.) Bowman said the fest usually attracts 5,000 to 7,000 patrons, roughly 15 percent of whom come from out of state.
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