The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival was named Moviemaker Magazine’s “50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee in 2014 & 2015”. Santa Fe Independent Film Festival is invested in Santa Fe as a destination for film. Bringing cutting edge programming, the latest independent films and directors, Native cinema, New Mexico and Student films, and masters discussions with visiting artists and professionals in their field, all in the setting of downtown Santa Fe.
Interview with Festival Director Jacques Paisner:
Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?
Jacques Paisner: While exposing their pictures to a discriminating and unique audience here in Santa Fe, filmmakers also get accommodations, chances to interact with celebrity guests, and peerless artists, plus access to all films and events at the festival, and place in a highly selective program amongst the best international and independent films of the year each season.
Matthew: What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2016)?
Jacques: You can expect exciting world cinema, top independent films, flawless projection in a little city with some of the best theaters in the world. You can attend epic parties, and rub elbows with people like Shirley Maclaine , And George RR Martin, and even the legendary Gena Rowlands.
Matthew: What are the qualifications for the selected films?
Jacques: We’re really looking for films that tell a unique story, a film that invites you into a world all its own, captivating films from all over the world that push the boundaries of the imagination, that are on the cutting edge of what a film is or what a narrative is or what a documentary is, films that reinvent the genre, or more importantly allow an artistic medium to come face to face with itself.
Matthew: Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?
Jacques: There are some very good films every year, and there are many not very good films every year, and the same goes for festivals. There are some really good ones that put a lot of time and attention and professional efforts into their programs, and there are some really bad ones too.
Matthew: What motivates you and your team to do this festival?
Jacques: Well I guess the first motivation is that it’s our job, but beyond that I think there’s a real sense of responsibility and purpose and decency that runs throughout the organization, with this greater common goal of Santa Fe as this Mecca for independent films and filmmakers. Our office is above the Jean Cocteau theater and George RR Martin is her landlord, and we have coffee and pizza, young interns, and really spend a lot of time talking about movies, so it’s fun work and I think there’s also a sense that what we’re doing is dynamic and important and cutting edge, and also sort of sticking it to the Man in a creative way.
Matthew: How has the festival changed since its inception?
Jacques: The festival started as a fringe fest in a community center, now the biggest festival film festival for hundreds of miles in every direction, with five theaters, over 10,000 attendees anuli annually, and called “a young Sundance” by IndieWire, The festival has grown into a top art event in Santa Fe.
Matthew: Where do you see the festival by 2020?
Jacques: We would like to expand the attendance to about 50,000 people, with about 30,000 of those traveling here from out of town. We want Santa Fe to be a top destination for films and filmmakers and to host more and more screenings and more special events each season.
Matthew: What film have you seen the most times in your life?
Jacques:I don’t think I’ve seen it the most times but I know I have seen “My Life as a Dog” many times.
Matthew: In one sentence, what makes a great film?
Jacques: Orsen Welles said “A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet” however, I think a film, or any piece of art, really succeeds or fails based upon the standards that it creates for itself.
Matthew: How is the film scene in your city?
Jacques: We are now one of the top movie theater cities on the planet with Violet Crown, the historic Lensic Performing Arts Center, George R.R. Martin’s Jean Cocteau Cinema, the Center for Contemporary Arts programmed by “Sembene” director Jason Silverman, and The Screen at the Santa Fe University Film School chaired by Chris Eyre.
Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Fesival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go tohttp://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.