The most difficult part in talking about the inaugural Albuquerque Film & Media Experience is figuring out where to start. Ostensibly a film festival, AFME adds a welter of panel discussions, performance art, art exhibits, a food tasting, music concerts, parties and more to the usual mix of film premieres. Events take place Monday, June 3, through Sunday, June 9, at multiple venues up and down Route 66—including Guild Cinema, Lobo Theater, KiMo Theatre and the Hiland Theatre.
At the center, of course, are the films—an interesting mix of old (The Misfits starring Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe), not-so-old (the 2007 computer-animated cartoon Bee Movie starring Jerry Seinfeld) and new (such as the world premiere documentary Justice Denied, about sexual assaults on men in the U.S. military). Mostly AFME sticks to a slate of independent, social justice documentaries, covering topics from Holocaust survival (Refuge: Stories of the Selfhelp Home), the Egyptian revolution (Uprising), genetically modified crops (Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of our Lives), the Dalai Lama (Road to Peace) and water rights issues in the American Southwest (Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West). A handful of the movies are presented free. Most cost between $5.50 and $15.
For a first-year festival, organizers have attracted a healthy number of guests. British electronic musician Thomas Dolby will be on hand to perform a concert and introduce segments from his short, experimental documentary The Invisible Lighthouse. Producer Leslie Zemeckis will host a Q&A for her documentary Bound By Flesh, about famed conjoined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton. Actor Lew Temple, who played short-lived jailbird Axel on “The Walking Dead,” will participate in an “intimate conversation” about his career.
The big guest, though—the one grinning off all the posters—is famed actor-director Robert Redford. There’s a special “Evening with Robert Redford” scheduled at the Hiland Theatre for Friday, June 7. Redford will converse with Robert Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. Tickets for that event will set you back $100. Redford is bringing his wife, Sibylle Szaggars-Redford, with him. On Saturday, June 8, Szaggars-Redford will put on an evening of performance art at the Hiland. The performance is billed as “bringing together the mediums of art, music, dance, film and poetry with stunning images.” This “multi-sensory” event will include live piano by Icelandic composer David Thor Jonsson, dance interpretation choreographed by NDI Founding Artistic Director Catherine Oppenheimer and a poetry reading by Robert Redford. Tickets are $75-$100.
These events are just the tip of the iceberg. AFME has dozens of more films, panels, conversations, parties, dinners and concerts spread out over the course of the coming week. With such a jam-packed first outing, one can only wonder where they will go for year two.