Independent Goes International

The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival is now the Santa Fe International Film Festival

Officials from Santa Fe’s most high-profile film festival announced Friday they will change the annual event’s name from the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival to the Santa Fe International Film Festival—and it’ll still hold onto the SFIFF initials, so you needn’t worry about updating your acronyms.

The announcement follows years of reported growth, both in films shown and attendance, even despite the 2020 pandemic-induced slowdown that found virtual screenings the norm and in-person events relegated to the Motorama at the Downs drive-in theater.

“We’re thrilled to expand in a more worldwide way, in a globally encompassing manner,” Jacques Paisner, artistic director of the festival, tells SFR. “It makes a lot of sense for us to do this.”

The nonprofit film festival was established in 2009, making 2022 its 14th year. Paisner tells SFR that international films quickly became a cornerstone of the experience. Even a decade ago, foreign submissions took up a major chunk of festival programming and, over the years, have remained a mainstay of its offerings, from Japan’s Shoplifters by Hirokazu Kore-eda to Sweden’s The Square by Ruben Östlund and countless others.

Just last year, six foreign films that screened at SFIFF were submitted to the Academy Awards’ Best International Feature Film category (including Denmark’s Flee and Norway’s Worst Person in the World, both of which received nominations). The homegrown festival was also recently listed by Moviemaker Magazine in its “Coolest Film Festivals on the Planet” list, while Indiewire hailed it as a “young Sundance.”

Each year’s fest offers over 300 hours of film programming in shorts and features from every corner of the globe, as well as locally produced movies. Past special guests and honorees include Oliver Stone, Jane Seymour, Tantoo Cardinal, Ethan Hawke and Bill Plympton. Programming in 2021 included 25 international feature films and 34 shorts, and the festival was even awarded with the Arts Innovator Award from the Santa Fe Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts.

“The fest really represents Santa Fe as an international art and film destination,” Paisner continues. “This is indicative of the program we’re already putting forth, so it makes for a logical transition.”

The newly dubbed Santa Fe International Film Festival runs this year from Oct. 19-23.

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