New Year, Same Problems—The People Before Profit film/lecture series at the Peace & Justice Center (202 Harvard SE) kicks off 2004 with Bush Family Fortunes. This English documentary trails the Bush family, from the Florida election fraud to the Saudi connection. It's based on Greg Palast's hard-hitting investigative reports for the BBC and the UK's Guardian and on his bestselling book The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. The screening will begin at 7 p.m. Entrance is free, but seating is limited.
I Can't Believe It's Not Secular!—Longtime Albuquerque resident Robert Farrell Smith, author of eight published novels and one-time owner of a religious bookstore here in the Duke City recently debuted his first filmmaking effort at the Santa Fe Film Festival, where it played to sold-out crowds. Baptists at Our Barbecue is a surprisingly funny and entertaining parable (based on Smith's best-selling book of the same name) about a young man who moves to a small town occupied by 262 Mormons and 262 Baptists. As the residents battle for the tie-breaking support of this newcomer, the film cleverly sends up today's bitterly partisan American landscape. The film will open for a short, exclusive run this Friday at the Four Hills 10 theater.
Mardi Gras at the Movies—The Lensic Theatre in Santa Fe helps celebrate Mardi Gras with a screening of the classic 1959 Brazilian film Black Orpheus. This unique film, which won an Oscar for Best Foreign Film, is a retelling of the classic “Orpheus and Eurydice” myth set against the backdrop of Brazil's annual Carnival celebration. With its gorgeous cinematography and the hypnotic music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Black Orpheus is considered one of the most beautiful films ever shot. This is a rare opportunity to see this masterpiece on the big screen where it belongs, and true film fans are advised to make the drive north. The screening stars at 7 p.m. this Tuesday, Feb. 8. Tickets are a mere $5 and are available at the Lensic box office (211 W. San Francisco). You can also pre-order them online at www.tickets.com or by calling (505) 988-1234.
Setting Sundance—The annual indie movie feeding frenzy that is the Sundance Film Festival came to an end this past weekend in Park City, Utah. Director Ira Sachs' Forty Shades of Blue, a dark love triangle between father, son and mail-order bride was the surprise winner of the American Dramatic Grand Jury Prize on Saturday. The Audience Award went to Craig Brewer's much talked-about pimp-turns-rapper saga Hustle & Flow. The film's producer, John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood), came out best, selling the film for $9 million (a Sundance record) and inking a three-picture deal with Paramount/MTV Films. In the documentary category, Eugene Jarecki won the Grand Jury Prize for his film Why We Fight, an appraisal of America's military-industrial complex. Jarecki's brother Andrew, the founder and voice of Moviefone, won the same award two years ago with Capturing the Friedmans.
New Mexico saw some representation at Sundance as well, with local Native American filmmakers Blackhorse Lowe (Kirtland) and Corey Allison (Farmington) showing off their all-Indian cast romance/road movie, 5th World. Congrats on the world premiere, folks. When's the local screening?