Here’s one positive result of our economic downturn: Unike previous years, the 2008 Santa Fe Film Festival is short on sellouts, ensuring plenty of tickets for even last-minute visitors. SFFF executive director Jon Bowman admits, “We’re down a tad. It’s not the same level of attendance [as 2007].” Still, the man who helped found the much-respected festival nine years ago notes the “soft sellouts” mean even those who show up late can get tickets to most of the festival’s 115 different programs starting this Wednesday night, Dec. 3, and running through Sunday, Dec. 7. “If you procrastinated, you can wing it,” says Bowman. “Show up, wait in line and you’ll probably get in.”
But with so many features, documentaries, shorts, panel discussions and parties to choose from, where does a movie-loving festivalgoer start? Here are a few “top picks” from your friends here at the Alibi.
Selfless (Dec. 4, 4:15 p.m./Dec. 6, 9:15 p.m.) Comic book illustrators Jacob and Arnold Pander (the innovative Exquisite Corpse, the popular Grendel: Devil’s Legacy) will be on hand to present their award-winning thriller about an architect done in by a chance encounter with an identity thief.
The Cake Eaters (Dec. 5, 6:30 p.m.) This is the sort of haunting, interpersonal drama you expect to see at a film festival. It’s also the directing debut of longtime actress Mary Stuart Masterson.
New Mexico Shorts Expo III (Dec. 5, 7 p.m.) This collection of locally made shorts includes the new animated film “One Square Mile of Earth” by esteemed Alibi graphic designer Jeff Drew and is therefore a must-see.
McCabe and Mrs. Miller (Dec. 5, 9 p.m.) Robert Altman’s award-winning 1971 alt.Western is one of the most beautiful movies ever shot. The man who lensed it, legendary cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, is one of this year’s special guest honorees.
Between the Folds (Dec. 6, 10 a.m.) This documentary profiles a group of fine artists, intrepid mathematicians and theoretical scientists who have abandoned conventional careers to pursue their passion for origami paper folding.
Fanboys (Dec. 7, 1 p.m.) Shot in New Mexico, this long-delayed, much-anticipated comedy finds a group of sci-fi obsessed nerds hatching a scheme to break into George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch to steal a print of Star Wars: Episode 1.
Log on to santafefilmfestival.com for compete schedules and film info. Individual tickets are on sale at the box office (519 Cerillos Road) for $10. Ten-film passes are available for $75.