The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival announced today that it had received a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to help with its 2020 programming. It's one of 1,187 grants awarded in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Needless to say, festival officials are excited.

"We do receive New Mexico arts money that's grated partially from the NEA, but this is the first time we've received this grant from the NEA itself," says Liesette Paisner-Bailey, SFIFF co-founder and executive director.

Paisner-Bailey says the money has already been earmarked for specific purposes, including travel and honorariums for inbound filmmakers as well as prize money and public programming.

"It puts us on this list of really prestigious film festivals," Paisner-Bailey adds. "All the largest festivals receive [similar] grants, and some of the big ones don't even receive it, but it's great to have them recognize what we're doing in Santa Fe and the greater film community."

When it comes to the upcoming 12th Annual Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, Paisner-Bailey says it's a little early to speculate about what the public programming might look like, but that the festival has already started accepting submissions for the October event. Additionally, she tells SFR, much of the festival will focus on the idea of women and women's suffrage as a means to highlight the centennial of American women gaining the right to vote in 1920.

"It's going to be a cornerstone of the program," she says, adding that the last 12 years have been "a wild ride…I was 19 when we did the first one, and this grant makes a huge difference."