Santa Fe Film Institute Announces Two New Grants

SFFI partners with NRGNHA and adds more funds for filmmakers

Last year, the Santa Fe International Film Festival’s nonprofit organization, the Santa Fe Film Institute, handed out $12,000 in grant monies to New Mexico filmmakers, including Charine Gonzales of Santa Fe, Taos’s Hillary Bachelder and Albuquerque’s Erica Nguyen.

This year, Institute officials say they will up the ante with an additional $15,000 in grants through a partnership with the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area—as long as New Mexico remains firmly a part of the equation.

“We’ll still be doing all the same grants and scholarships we’ve been doing, and this will be $15,000 in new dollars,” Film Institute President and International Film Festival Artistic Director Jacques Paisner says. “Any age or background is fine, the only restriction is geographical.”

Paisner refers to the specific parameters of the two new grants; the $5,000 Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area Grant and the $10,000 Los Luceros Grant. In both cases, filmmakers must reside in Santa Fe County, Taos County or Rio Arriba County to apply—or have attended and graduated from high school in one of those counties. To apply for the Los Luceros grant, Paisner adds, applicants must shoot at least part of their film at the Los Luceros Historic Site north of Alcalde in Rio Arriba County. Otherwise, he adds, the sky’s the limit.

“I think the success of our existing grants and scholarship funds have more groups like the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area wanting to get involved,” he tells SFR. “We think the granting program is only going to grow for 2025 as well. We’ve got our gala in July, so that should help bolster funds, too.”

This year’s granting applications process open on Wednesday, March 20 through the Santa Fe Film Institute website. Outside of the new Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area and Los Luceros grants, the Institute will once again offer its $4,000 Imogene Hughes Grant for students, one named for the late matriarch of the Bonanza Creek Ranch filming locale. Other funds will be disbursed in various amounts based on applicant needs.

This year marks the 16th for the Santa Fe International Film Festival (née Independent Film Festival). The fest began in 2008 with a single screen and a handful of chairs at the original Warehouse 21 building in the Santa Fe Railyard and has since grown into a days-long affair packed with screenings at multiple theaters, panels in numerous locations, parties with filmmakers and more. No word on the recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, though past filmmakers to win the honor include Oliver Stone, Stephanie Seymour and Sterlin Harjo. The fest runs Oct. 16-20.

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