Though we have access to numerous film festivals here in Santa Fe, two big ones stand out above the rest. And with the Independent Film Festival behind us (and quite a success from what we hear), it’s time to gear up for the original Santa Fe Film Festival (SFFF), now entering its 16th year. For five solid days, SFFF will take over the Jean Cocteau Cinema, The Screen at Santa Fe University of Art & Design and the Center For Contemporary Arts’ Cinematheque to screen well over 150 full-length, short, indie and documentary films created all over the globe and representing all styles and genres. “One thing I wanted to add to the fest this year was a line of action-sport films,” creative director Rich Henrich tells SFR. “We’ve also got a spotlight on Latin American films and documentaries, we’ve got Native films, and we also tried to include programming that was maybe a little lighter … like comedies. … We’re continuing that line of showing top-tier films.” SFFF also boasts a number of parties, a Canyon Road arts crawl led by a mariachi band, numerous panels and workshops and an art opening from artist Grant Kosh of lifelike airbrush portraits featuring famous faces from throughout the history of film. (That’s on Wednesday evening at Gerard Vachez Gallery, 418 Montezuma Ave.)

Basically, there's something for everyone—even people who hear the term "film festival" and picture some snooty, artsy affair accessible only to film snobs and jerks in top hats.

"One of the challenges we've had is to create programs that are diverse enough so that everybody has something that's going to fit their individual cinematic tastes," Henrich adds. Nearly 80 percent of the filmmakers behind the movies will be on hand as well to discuss their works, and individual screenings are completely affordable. Flip to page 31 for some reviews of films showing during the fest. The five days kick off with a party at Cowgirl tonight (9 pm, $10. 319 S. Guadalupe St.) featuring live music from Golden General and Felecia Ford. (Alex De Vore)

Santa Fe Film Festival
Wednesday-Sunday, Dec. 7-11. $10-$299.
Various locations;
visit santafefilmfestival.com for complete listings.

Queer as Film

Courtesy Jean Cocteau Cinema
Courtesy Jean Cocteau Cinema | Courtesy Jean Cocteau Cinema

The Santa Fe Film Festival (SFFF)—which just so happens to be running as we speak—presents eight micro-documentaries from indie filmmakers that explore the experiences of LGBTQ people from around the world in

Queer Lives

. The shorts showcase woes and wins in the day-to-day for gay men, lesbians, and those who identify as trans or gender non-conforming, as well as people of color. “These are ordinary LGBTQ citizens—by ordinary, I mean, not celebrities,” says SFFF programmer Aaron Leventman. “There are many different pockets of queer communities that we don’t think of.” And we need to. (Kim Jones)

Queer Lives Shorts:
7 pm Friday Dec. 9. $10.
Jean Cocteau Cinema,
418 Montezuma Ave.,
466-5528

American Love Story: Motel

Steve Fitch
Steve Fitch | Steve Fitch

Romance is alive on the two-lane highways that meander through the rolling hills and empty deserts of America. There is nothing so satisfying as taking off on the open road, and part of that nostalgic glory lives in the vintage paint and light bulbs of motel signs. Photographer Steve Fitch banks on your attachment to the iconography of Americana in his solo exhibit, American Motel Signs, 1980-2008. Featuring photographs taken around the country, each image includes regional differences (like palm trees or tall cacti) that orient the viewer in the space of our vast nation. (Maria Egolf-Romero)


American Motel Signs, 1980-2008:
3-5 pm Saturday Dec 10. Free.
photo-eye Bookstore and Project Space,
376 Garcia St.,
988-5152

Book ‘Em

Selfie
Selfie | Selfie

Most people don’t immediately click to the concept of book clubs when they picture an afternoon visit to the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, but that’s going to change thanks to Adult Education Coordinator Shawna Jones. “We actually have this super-awesome library and the biggest collection of botanical books in Santa Fe,” Jones says. ”And it’s not just going to be books about how to garden.” The current title up for discussion is Simon Winchester’s

The Map That Changed the World

, the real-life story of an 18th-century canal digger who discovered how to chart the innards of the earth. Woah, right? Right. (ADV)


Botanical Book Club:
1 pm Tuesday Dec. 13. Free.
Santa Fe Botanical Garden office,
715 Camino Lejo,
471-9103