Gracious Grant—Immediately after snagging Second Place in the first annual Governor's Cup Film Challenge and Best Native Film at the recent Santa Fe Film Festival for his short film “Raven Tales,” filmmaker Chris Kientz announced sponsorship of a major film grant in the state of New Mexico. The Las Cruces-based filmmaker has teamed up with the Albuquerque-based nonprofit Media Rights Foundation to offer the grant, which will hopefully encourage our homegrown film industry. Details are still being worked out regarding the distribution of the grant. It will either go to the winner of next year's Governor's Cup or to a film selected by a jury from the Media Rights Foundation. Kientz has already donated $10,000 and was gifted with another $2,000 at the Santa Fe Film Festival. All private and corporate donations to the grant are tax deductible. In addition, $1 from all sales of the “Raven Tales” DVD will go into the grant. The DVD is available in Albuquerque at Andrews Pueblo Pottery and in Santa Fe at the American Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of the American Indian. You can also order it online at www.raventales.ca. For more info on the film grant (and other topics of artistic importance) check out the Media Rights Foundation at www.pbrainmedia.com/mrf.
Download This—In case you couldn't make it up to the recent Santa Fe Film Festival to catch “Raven Tales” and all the other great Governor's Cup entries from around the state, you now have the opportunity to view them online. All 12 films--from Student to Narrative to Documentary--that were exhibited at the Governor's Cup finals are available for download at www.hdnm.us.
Cinematic Gold Rush—Thanks to new state tax incentives, a growing base of film talent and a boom in production facilities, Hollywood films continue to flood into New Mexico. The governor's office has been crowing about the two newest films, which will hit the state early next year. The first is the true-life drama Class Action, which relates the circumstances surrounding the first successful sexual harassment suit in the United States. The film will be directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider) and will star Charlize Theron, Sissy Spacek and Frances McDormand (that's three Oscar winners in our state!). The film is expected to begin in filming in Silver City by February or March. The other major film shooting early next year is First Snow, written and directed by Mark Fergus. The film will star Guy Pierce (Memento) and tells the story of a man who grows concerned after a psychic predicts his untimely death. The production will shoot in Albuquerque, and expects to hire 85 percent of its crew right here in New Mexico.