Five or 10 years ago, film festivals in New Mexico were in short supply. The Taos Talking Pictures Film Festival made its mark throughout the ’90s, and the now-mothballed Alibi Short Film Fiesta gave local filmmakers a supportive outlet here in Albuquerque. Other than that, however, film lovers were obliged to make the trek to Telluride or Austin to get their hardcore indie film fix. Now, however, with the film scene in New Mexico exploding all over the map, film festivals--from the intimate to the extravagant--can be found in all corners of our state. A list of film festivals now would have to include: Rio Fest International Environmental Film Festival in Soccorro; White Sands Film Festival and Desert Light Film Competition in Alamogordo; Fiery Film Competition in Clovis; Gallup Intercultural Film Festival; Las Peliculas in Las Vegas; Taos Mountain Film Festival and The Taos Picture Show; Organ Mountain Film Festival in Las Cruces; Roswell Film Festival; Santa Fe Film Festival, Native Cinema Showcase and The Three-Minute Film Festival in Santa Fe; and finally, Local Shorts Film Festival, Duke City Shootout, Experiments in Cinema International Film Festival, Independent Indigenous Film Festival, Gorilla Tango Film Festival and Sin Fronteras Film Festival, all in Albuquerque.
With so many film festivals showcasing local, national and international work, there’s plenty of room to diversify. Taking diversity to its next logical step, the Southwest Gay & Lesbian Film Festival will be returning to Albuquerque and Santa Fe for a fourth fabulous year. Presented by local arts organization Closet Cinema, the SWG&LFF will have its 2006 run from Sept. 29 through Oct. 5. This year’s venues include the historic Guild Cinema and UNM’s SouthWest Film Center in Albuquerque and the Film Center at Cinema Café in Santa Fe. Over 70 feature and short films from 16 countries will be represented, making it the largest film festival in Albuquerque.
Panel discussions, audience awards, a Queer Brunch and tons of parties will be spaced amid this year’s fine selection of films. The films themselves run the gamut from the outrageous camp of the 1980 disco sci-fi film The Apple to a serious examination of drug abuse in the gay community in the documentary Meth.
Festival passes, punch cards and tickets will be available for purchase at Alphaville Video (3408 Central SE) in Albuquerque. The Santa Fe box office will be located at The Film Center at Cinema Café (1616 St. Michael's Drive). For more information, visit www.closetcinema.org or call 243-1870.