Nowhere Goes Somewhere--While I find it encouraging that our state is looking for ways of kick-starting truly local film production (the recent contract awards and the upcoming New Mexico Filmmaker’s Conference are both great starts), I find it even more heartening to see the sheer number of N.M. films that have materialized this year.
Santa Fe filmmaker Matt Page (Road Closed) recently claimed the jury prize at the Third Screen Film Festival in Chicago with his short “Pumpkin.” Albuquerquean Rob Kellar’s $20,000 indie Carjacked premiered at the Guild Cinema in September. Aaron Hendren’s comedy The Faithful and the Foul will be screened at this year’s Santa Fe Film Festival (Dec. 6-10), as will Lexie Shabel’s musical documentary We Like to Drink, We Like to Play Rock ’n’ Roll and Vanessa Vasar’s Cinderellas of Santa Fe. (I’m sure even more local films will materialize when the festival’s schedule is published.) Meanwhile, Scott Phillips is furiously editing Gimme Skelter, his follow-up to The Stink of Flesh. (Perhaps you’ve seen trailers at the Guild’s Midnight Movie Madness screenings.) Locally lensed horror flick Wedding Slashers hits stores on Nov. 21 (featuring another fine acting effort by yours truly). There’s even word that local-boy-done-good Ryan Denmark (who went from screening in the 10th Annual Alibi Short Film Fiesta to working for Spike Lee) will return to Albuquerque this spring to shoot his feature debut.
And then there’s the story of Philip David Lee and John Lore. The two hooked up after a screening at last year’s Santa Fe Film Festival and immediately hatched a plan to shoot their own masterpiece. With Lee handling the writing and directing and Lore taking on the cinematography and editing, the dynamic duo managed to crank out a professional film in just four months on a budget of a mere $3,000. (Despite the paltry-by-Hollywood-standards budget, Lee assures me he and his partner have “been eating a lot of mashed potatoes,” thereby cementing their starving artist cred.)
Since the filmmakers couldn’t afford to pay their actors, they had to shoot the entire film on weekends, navigating around everyone’s work schedule. The result is the MiniDV-shot feature Nowhere Street, a gritty story of an unhappy dishwasher drawn into a high-flying world of drugs and crime. Unwilling to simply let the film languish among friends and relatives, Lee and Lore have taken the ambitious step of renting out the entire Guild Cinema (“four walling” it in cinematic parlance) for a weekend premiere.
If you want to support local film, I suggest you head over to the Guild Cinema this Friday, Saturday or Sunday and purchase a ticket to Nowhere Street.