The second annual Madrid Film Festival is on the calendar, and after last year's sold-out two-night run, it's bigger and better for 2019. The crew is accepting submissions as you read this, and you only have until Friday June 28 to head to theaterofdeath.org to get in on the action. Any genre of film (30 minutes or less) made in the last year in New Mexico is welcome and judged by a diverse group of folks with backgrounds in film, and the whole shebang goes down Friday-Sunday, July 26-28. Author and Madrid mainstay Andrew Wice (andrewwice.com) is co-hosting the event with fellow mainstay and entertainer Joe West. We caught up with Wice about what to expect. In short: the unexpected. (Charlotte Jusinski)
That might be what one hopes for, but as the first film festival we've ever put on, you never know for sure if people are going to share the excitement. So it was very gratifying and encouraging, and we're hoping to return that enthusiasm back to the crowd. We've got a lot more films coming in this year, and the idea is to grow this and have it continue to get better and bigger as time goes on.
Some people who don't know Madrid well may not think this event will be polished, but last year there were some really gorgeous submissions. What might you say to anyone who expects this to be rinky-dink?
Madrid, despite its small size, has the highest concentration of artists of any place that I've ever lived. So the talent and the overlapping qualities of experience and knowledge and effort make this a really creative little powerhouse. Also, this year we've expanded the scope to not just in the area around Madrid, but the entire state of New Mexico. So we're getting films from Shiprock all the way to Las Cruces—so that's going to increase both amateur filmmaking and … films from production companies that are trying to get up off the ground in a very competitive industry.
You kind of got roped into this last year unexpectedly. But now you're back. So I guess it went okay, huh?
I've had the good fortune to be able to collaborate with Joe West on a couple projects now. … We were working on something else, and Joe is the one who will just follow his heart, and he thought, 'Let's see if we can do a film festival.' So I got pulled along with that. But as it got deeper and as we found our sea legs, it got more and more exciting. We saw the quality of the films coming in and the enthusiastic response of having two totally sold-out shows. It resulted in us adding a third day this year; the Friday and Saturday will be two separate programs of about an hour and a half each, and on Sunday we will run both programs straight through. … The downside of the unexpected runaway success [last year] was that many people were unable to get into the very charming—but not endlessly capacious—Engine House Theater. … We don't want to expand too quickly. There was thought about doing some outdoor [screenings] in the ballpark amphitheater, but we don't want to go too fast. So we're just going to manage it and keep the quality very high.