It's 6 pm on Thursday at the Jean Cocteau Theater, and the Santa Fe Film Festival is getting underway with its third film of the day.
"Welcome. Please remember we have a full bar, and be sure to get your picture taken and we'll put it up on the website," says film festival volunteer Richard Wienecke as he ushers moviegoers toward the "red carpet" event, which consists of a few high-quality lights set against a poster of the festival's sponsors.
Linda Carfagno, who has been the film festival's photographer for a decade, snaps shots of people as they wrap arms around friends and family members, some of them taking advantage of the setup to pose like Hollywood stars. Carfagno emphasizes the Santa Fe Film festival's role in catering to up-and-coming indie-productions as well as big acts.
"It doesn't matter if you're big time or small time, you've worked hard in film," she tells SFR during a lull in her picture taking.
The Jean Cocteau's old-timey theater is packed with attendees, many of them dressed in suits or fancy dresses and who have come to honor the memory of the late Ben Luján—as a brief documentary paying homage to the former NM House speaker is running before the feature presentation.
Producer of the short and local 480 film union's Jon Hendry stands up after the showing to pay his respects to Luján and comment on a political commercial he shot recently that called out Gov. Susana Martinez for belittling Spanish-speaking families. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Friday that Martinez campaign workers asked a TV station not the air the ad.
"I was practicing my First Amendment right by making a commercial," Hendry tells the crowd, his words meriting bursts of applause.
Following the feature presentation, Salt of the Earth — a story about a labor union fighting against a big-time zinc mine — guests moved to an afterparty at the Cowgirl.
The film festival is set to run through Sunday with movies showing at the Jean Cocteau and CCA theaters. Admission is $10 for all the movies. Ask around about other aftershow entertainment, and don't miss the closing awards
on Sunday hosted by Longmire cast members Bailey Chase and Cassidy Freeman, also $10.