This is a small town, but dammit, we like our art varied and we like it in festival form! Really, there is so much artistic expression of all kinds to be found in Santa Fe that we can’t be blamed for rocking out to something like 50 film fests every year—all awesomely awesome ways to check out a whole bunch of non-mainstream films in this town. For example, the Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival usually begins in October and runs through the new year. Or check out the Native Cinema Showcase that runs in tandem with the insanely popular annual Indian Market in August.

Two major yearly film events that have the locals waiting with bated breath, visitors descending upon our fair city in droves and filmmakers of all levels prepping their A-games are the Santa Fe Film Festival (May 1-4) and the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival (Oct. 15-19).

Both have been around for ages and provide differing perspectives on the topics of film and the people behind the scenes who make things happen. They are celebrations of the creative spirit and incredibly hard work that go into forging cinematic experiences more interested in the telling of rich, evocative stories than in making bazillions of dollars.

The general perception of movies is that a bunch of suits make marketing-based decisions, and the medium is often a more calculated, research-driven sales tool than statement or artwork. Thus, for a town of this size to have the opportunity to participate with those who are in it for love is nothing short of wonderful. Says Santa Fe Independent Film Festival Co-founder/Executive Director Jacques Paisner,

“[Co-founder] Dave Moore and I started the festival with the vision to bring the best independent films to our hometown, and we have been surprised and delighted with the community’s support…we’ve been lucky enough to bring in great independent filmmakers that embody our mission like John Waters and Kirby Dick.”

Both the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival and the Santa Fe Film Festival host a number of enticing events that take place beyond the theatre seats. From panel discussions and workshops to fashion shows, after-parties and beyond, Santa Fe is offered a tremendous means through which we may celebrate everyone who works behind the scenes, giving us good reason to keep up with the industry.

Between the two fests, there are well over a hundred films to cram into seven respective days, so it will certainly be hard to choose what’s worth your time. Lucky for you, the fine people here at the Santa Fe Reporter will keep up with both events and provide all the information you need.

See you at the movies!