Indie film production continues to impress, with more and more features being made throughout the Land of Enchantment. We’re not talking multimillion-dollar Hollywood outings like Thor. We’re not even talking low-budget studio features (which can dip down into the low seven figures, pricewise). We’re talking microbudget, made-in-New-Mexico-by-New-Mexicans movies. Here’s a sampling of some of the home-grown features that have been released to DVD in the past year.
Blue Alchemy: Stories of Indigo (New Deal Films, $29.99)
This colorful documentary, which premiered at the 2011 Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, explains the history of the distinctive dye that gives everything from saris to blue jeans its vivid shading. N.M. filmmaker Mary Lance traveled to India, Japan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Mexico and El Salvador to trace the purply plant dye’s cultural roots as well as its importance in international trade. Just the thing for the art lover in your life. You can pick it up online at bluealchemyindigo.com.
Adventures of a Teenage Dragonslayer (Screen Media, $24.98)
Released earlier this year, this Albuquerque-lensed family fantasy is available in both DVD and Blu-Ray formats. Starring Hollywood actresses Lea Thompson (Back to the Future) and Wendie Malik (“Just Shoot Me!”), the film concentrates on a seventh-grader named Arthur who sets out to save the world from a fire-breathing dragon. The effects-filled film is quite a step up for producers Ryil Adamson and Gavin Gillete, whose last feature was the low-budget 2007 crime comedy The Donor Conspiracy. (That made it onto our 2009 wrap-up of made-in-New-Mexico DVDs.) Explore the film’s fun website at teenagedragonslayer.com.
Malice in Wonderland: The Dolls Movie (Dollicious Productions, $12.99)
Albuquerque-based drag troupe The Dolls has been performing outrageous on-stage movie parodies for years (The Women, The Bad Seed, Satan’s School for Girls: The Reunion), so it seems only natural that Tequila Mockingbyrd and the gals would finally get a chance to strut their stuff on the big screen. Their first feature outing is a randy spoof of Lewis Carroll’s nonsense classic. Alice, the Red Queen, the Mad Hatter: They all show up here in gloriously tweaked fashion. Kudos, too, to the psychedelic green-screen work, which brings Wonderland to trippy, Peter-Max-meets-The-Smurfs life. Soak up more eye-popping info over at maliceinwonderlandmovie.com.
A Nightmare in Las Cruces (Lionsgate, $26.98)
Charlie Minn’s dark documentary about the notorious 1990 shooting of seven people in a bowling alley in Las Cruces might not seem like the most cheerful of holiday films. But the frighteningly unsolved case is like an episode of “CSI” come to life. By interviewing survivors, police officers, medical examiners and members of the media, A Nightmare hopes to crack the case open again and perhaps provide some new clues. Just the thing for the amateur detective on your Christmas list. Trailers and more are available at bowlingmassacre.com.
spOILed (West Wave Films, $24.99)
Apparently, it was a good year for documentaries in New Mexico. TV-reporter-turned-filmmaker Mark Mathis constructed his conservative-leaning documentary not as “another clichéd attack on the oil and gas industry” but as a way to point out how deeply entwined our relationship with oil and gas (not to mention petroleum-based plastics, resins and lubricants) really is. Oil companies aren’t “greedy,” “evil” or “dirty.” Scientists, politicians, news organizations and—worst of all—environmental activists groups have blown this whole energy crisis out of proportion. Sure, we’re addicted to foreign oil. But we’ll figure out something. We’re Americans! I’m sure this is just the sort of thing your Bill O’Reilly-loving uncle would appreciate. Grab your copy at spoiledthemovie.com.
The Righteous and the Wicked (Lionsgate, $26.98)
Westerns aren’t the sort of thing you see made very often on the cheap. Believe it or not, this ultra-low-budget flick was shot on the exact same sets as Cowboys & Aliens for about one ten-thousandth the price. Writer-director Craig A. Butler combines the action and atmosphere of a Western with the backstabbing morality of a heist flick to create a unique action drama. With cowboys! And horses! And guns! Get all the dusty details at 505films.com.