Bonus Features: July 3, 2024

Paul Barnes bids adieu, Netflix expands, Santa Fe woos Sundance and more movie madness

So long, and thanks for all the flicks

After a close call with closure in 2022 and a subsequent eleventh hour reopening, the Center for Contemporary Arts seems to be in a better place than it has in some time. All the same, Artistic Advisor (née General Manager) Paul Barnes announced last week that he’ll step back from his day-to-day duties, leaving the cinema in the hands of Cinema Director Justin Clifford Rhody (also of DIY theater No Name Cinema) and Cinema Manager Jayson Jacobson. Barnes cites recent health woes following a particularly nasty case of COVID-19 in December, as well as his husband Vern’s recent prostate cancer diagnosis on top of an existing case of fibromyalgia. “Long COVID hit my short-term memory and it was getting harder and harder,” Barnes, 74, told SFR last week. “It was just getting to be too much.” CCA Board President David Muck also spoke with SFR, adding that “I really appreciate Paul’s assistance during those nine months upon reopening.” CCA is currently running a number of notable films, including playwright Annie Baker’s Janet Planet (see review above) and the new Lily Gladstone drama Fancy Dance.

The Great Netflix expansion of ‘24

Streaming behemoth Netflix announced last week that its Albuquerque Studios will soon expand to include four sound stages, three mills, a production office and two stage support buildings,” which Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in a statement called a “$2 billion commitment.” Albuquerque Studios sits on 108 acres in—get this—Albuquerque, but you’ll still probably spend a lot of time scrolling the service wondering what to watch. PSA? The Office is on Peacock now. Back at Netflix, the facility expansion will reportedly include a number of thoughtful elements, including geothermal heating, solar power and EV chargers. The company says it has invested nearly $575 million in New Mexico since the studios opened in 2019, and that it has employed roughly 4,000 New Mexicans over the last two years.

Oof, Jessica Alba—tough blow

While we’re on the topic of Netflix, Paste Magazine writer Jacob Oller really hated the new action movie Trigger Warning with Jessica Alba, which was shot right here in New Mexico. “The veteran-comes-home revenger Trigger Warning is thoroughly idiotic and deathly slow, filled with so much camp that it could stand in as the first Lifetime Original action movie,” Oller writes.

Sundancin’ in the moonlight

Regular Bonus Features readers will surely remember when SFR mentioned the city might go a-courting the Sundance Film Festival, which might (and we mean might) leave its long-standing Park City, Utah, home by 2026. As we speak, numerous cities, Santa Fe included, have put in bids to host the fest, with Atlanta reportedly offering $2 million and Boulder offering $1.5 million. Santa Fe’s bid? Well, according to Santa Fe Film Office Director Jennifer LaBar-Tapia, she can’t say—at least that’s what she told the New Mexican. Something about a nondisclosure agreement that weirdly doesn’t apply to Atlanta or Boulder. Wild. As a reminder, officials from our own homegrown film fest wouldn’t mind Sundance coming to town. “I think only good for the Santa Fe International Film Fest could come out of something like that,” SFIFF Artistic Director and co-founder Jacques Paisner told SFR in May.

Demystified science theater

The Albuquerque-based New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is getting into the film game on Thursday, July 11 with its new series Science Fiction or Fact. Led by scientists, educators and other special guests, the series is meant to dig into the real or not-so-real elements of science fiction films, and it all kicks off with 1951 sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still. It’s about aliens. It’s about politics. It’s about robots. It’s about the Cold War, man. It’s also about learning, and the guest speaker provides a short talk before the screening in the museum’s Planetarium.

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