Intro To Film

A Quick Guide To Albuquerque’s Indie Film Resources

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
Guild Cinema
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New Mexico continues to grow in fits and starts as a filmmaking destination. Lured by warm weather, growing film crews and tasty tax incentives, major film and television projects continue to end up in our state. (Independence Day 2 and “Better Call Saul” season 2 are just a couple of the productions underway right now.) But what if you’re a low-budget, smalltime, independent filmmaker? Where can you turn for help?

Albuquerque Film Office—The Albuquerque Film Office, run by longtime head Ann Lerner, is a supporter of both Hollywood productions and homegrown projects. It maintains a website ( as well as an active Facebook page ( Both are great sources for local screenings, contests, casting calls, workshops and more. A few years back the office started Indie Q (, a collection of local actors, producers, animators, screenwriters, directors and film fans. Indie Q sponsors quarterly “open sheet” screenings of local shorts, trailers and works in progress at the KiMo Theatre in Downtown Albuquerque. (The screenings used to be monthly, but we’ll take what we can get.)

Basement Films—This Albuquerque-based arts organization ( has been supporting “undependent media” since 1991. It’s a nonprofit, volunteer-run organization that concentrates on experimental, independent and underrepresented forms of film and video making. It’s part of the growing “micro-cine” movement of underground, DIY artists across America. Based in the basement (naturally) of the Harwood Art Center (1114 Seventh NW), the organization maintains a historic archive of some 8,000 16mm films, primarily old educational shorts. Community members are encouraged to use these films for “any kind of creative research project you might imagine.” The group organizes frequent public exhibitions including multi-projection environments, drive-by projections, guerilla-style drive-in movie nights, a Dada-esque film strip lecture series and more. Traveling artists stop by regularly to show off their works and to participate in Q&A sessions. Basement Films president Bryan Konefsky has spent the last 10 years organizing the annual Experiments in Cinema festival (, an epic extravaganza of screenings, parties and workshops featuring groundbreaking film and video artists from around the globe. EIC v11.4 (taking place April 6-10, 2016) is accepting submissions now through Nov. 1.

Guild Cinema—The Guild (located at 3405 Central NE in Nob Hill) is Albuquerque’s last independent, single-screen theater. It’s the best place in town to catch independent and foreign films. It’s also been the home to Alibi’s bimonthly Midnight Movie Madness screenings for the last 13 years. (So we’re kinda partial.) More than just a movie theater, it’s a community resource. Owner Keif Henley has allowed the venerable venue to play host to film festivals, live comedy shows, lectures, concerts, weddings and more. Many a locally shot independent film has had its premiere at Guild Cinema. The Albuquerque Film Club has been meeting there on the second weekend of every month since February of 2013 to watch and discuss Hollywood classics—from the silent era to the Golden Age. You can find their information (including upcoming schedules) at

New Mexico Film Foundation—This group, founded by former New Mexico Film Office outreach program manager Dirk Norris, is a nonprofit designed to “support the independent film industry in New Mexico by offering financial support and educational opportunities.” In the past couple of years, they’ve helped organize some serious events for writers, directors, producers and actors, including the New Mexico Actors Showcase and the “Life in New Mexico” Media Project. NMFF’s biggest push is in the area of indie film financing—one of the most underdeveloped and desperately needed areas in the local film scene. Helping spur on the local filmmaking community are the NMFF’s $5,000 George R.R. Martin Screenwriting Grant (submission deadline: Sept. 15) and the $5,000 Lockheed Martin Filmmaking Contest (submission deadline: Aug. 15). To learn about these and other programs, check them out at and

New Mexico State Film Office—The New Mexico Film Office is designed mostly to offer project resources (permits, tax credits, location information, industry directories) to large-scale film productions as well as workforce training programs. It does, however, offer a wealth of useful information through its online bulletin board ( There, you can dig up timely info on casting calls, crew calls, employment opportunities, classes, workshops, seminars, screenings and calls for entries. Even more important, you can post your own. The office’s biggest support for locals comes in the form of the New Mexico Filmmakers Showcase, an annual first-come/first-served film screening that takes place every January. The top films in the showcase are taken on a road trip around the state and screened in a traveling “best of” compilation. NMFO organizes the annual New Mexico Film and Media Industry Conference and produces the weekly “New Mexico Film Works” radio program, which broadcasts live on Thursdays at 12pm on KVSF 101.5 in Santa Fe. The show, featuring New Mexico filmmakers, business people, educators and more, streams live at and is also available via podcast.

New Mexico Women in Film, TV & Media—NMWIF, for short, was formed in 2005 as a chapter of the international Women in Film organization. Each month the local group organizes a member event (in Santa Fe or Albuquerque) to “inform and connect our film community.” Meetings typically include screenings of member work, meet-and-greet time and a special industry guest speaking on a topic from screenwriting to crowdfunding. NMWIF hands out several annual awards, offers film scholarships, sponsors a “Woman in the Story” screenwriting competition and participates in the International Women’s Day Film Festival. Non-members are almost always welcome to attend events (although members get a nice break on admission). Check out for more info.
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