It’s late summer, and that means it’s definitely film festival time. Everybody is lining up to curate a festival of cool independent films this time of year. We just got done with the Albuquerque Film Festival and the Native Cinema Showcase and we’re gearing up for the Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and the Truth or Consequences Film Festival. In between, we’ll just have to make due with the White Sands International Film Festival. The sixth annual WSIFF will take place Thursday, Aug. 25, through Sunday, Aug. 28, in Las Cruces. The new dramedy Refuge by award-winning playwright / Las Cruces resident Mark Medoff will start off the festival on a high note, serving as the opening night premiere. Throughout the weekend, there will be a ton of films, workshops, parties and more to keep festivalgoers busy. Val Kilmer will be on hand to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award on Friday. The Doors (1991) and Tombstone (1993) will be part of the fest’s Kilmer retrospective. Aside from that, there’s a wide range of films to choose from in the festival’s schedule—from the Native American high school track documentary Run to the East to the New Mexico-shot romantic comedy The Bigfoot Election. Screenings take place at the Cineport 10 and all-festival passes are on sale right now. They’ll run you between $25 and $75 dollars. Individual tickets can be purchased at the venue, if available.
The annual Bubonicon science fiction convention returns to Albuquerque this weekend. The big news, of course, is that celebrity author George R.R. Martin will be there this year. Martin has had a very big year thanks to HBO’s epic “Game of Thrones,” an adaptation of his hit fantasy novel series. On a considerably lesser note, I’ll be there too. This Saturday night sees the return of the convention’s “Saturday-Nite Cinema Theatre.” Starting at 9:30 p.m., Bubonicon will screen a collection of shorts, trailers and other cool cinematic items, topped off with a showing of the Albuquerque-lensed supernatural crime film Stiffed. The film is notable for its darkly comic storyline, its bloody special effects and the fact that I wrote, executive produced and edited the thing. Honest. This is the first time audiences will have a chance to see the film’s final version before it hits DVD sometime next year, courtesy of Alternative Cinema.