Film News: Albuquerque Film And Music Experience Returns

Local Film Premieres Flavor Albuquerque Film And Music Experience

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
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The Albuquerque Film and Music Experience returns to the Duke City, April 18 through 24, filling up venues from the KiMo Theatre to the Guild Cinema to the South Broadway Cultural Center. The “Experience” aims to bring together filmmakers, musicians and artists from around the world to share their stories, on-screen and off. It’s a week-long scrum of films, concerts, parties, panels, workshops and awards ceremonies.

Among the special guests this year is noted jazz/R&B bassist Nathan East, who will be 2016’s AFME Music Award recipient. VP of Yamaha Entertainment Chris Gero will receive this year’s Visionary Award and will screen his new musical documentary—which is none-too-coincidentally titled
Nathan East: For the Record. Screenwriter Bettina Gilois (Glory Road, McFarland USA) will be in town to host a screenwriting workshop. Actor Wes Studi and songwriter Dan Navarro will participate in intimate conversation sessions. In addition, there will be panel discussions with various industry insiders on auditioning, fundraising, distribution and “pursuing your dreams in Los Angeles.” On the music side of things, we get an after party with Jessie Martinez and Casper Leo Gomez, a karaoke night event at Gioco pizza parlor, a flamenco movie block featuring a special performance by the National Institute of Flamenco and a concert by the John Kurzweg Band.

But the focus of most film festivals tends to be film, and AFME doesn’t slack off in this regard, offering attendees nearly 100 features, documentaries, shorts, music videos and animations to choose from over the course of the week. Homegrown New Mexico films are well-represented, with several local efforts receiving their local premieres at this year’s AFME.

Here, then, is a quick rundown of some of the local highlights you could be catching at the 2016 Albuquerque Film and Music Experience:

The Merry Maids Of Madness

The Merry Maids of Madness
This feature-length comedy serves as AFME’s opening night film. Directed by Phillip Hughes and written by Jenn Daugherty, the film spotlights a number of Albuquerque theater community luminaries, including Amy Baklini, Lauren Myers, Rebekah Wiggins, Sarah Minnich, Amy Bourque, Daniel T. Cornish, Jason Witter and Lauren Poole. It relates the story of Beatrice, a modern-day bride who walks out on her wedding and ends up in the Stratford Home for Rest and Rehabilitation, a psychiatric facility filled to the brim with some rather familiar Shakespearian women.

She Sings To The Stars

She Sings to the Stars
This “Best Feature” winner at the Toronto Independent Festival was shot in the Rio Puerco Valley around Cabezon. Producer Jonathan Corcoran, brother to writer-director Jennifer Corcoran, calls it “a quintessentially New Mexican film.” Despite a lingering drought, a Native American grandmother (actress Fannie Loretto of Jemez Pueblo) continues to inhabit her traditional home in the middle of the desert. One day a faded Anglo magician (Larry Cedar from “Deadwood”) finds himself lost at her doorstep.

The Quest For Suki

The Quest for Suki
This offbeat sci-fi comedy takes place 70 years after the bitter War of New Mexico almost destroyed the Southwest. A gullible sweepstakes entrant (Travis Freeman Webb) determines something is awry when his big win lands him a meeting with the mayor’s evil twin. Throw in brain-eating amoebas, “the bluest painting in the world” and a sinister plot to destroy our main character’s life (for no good reason), and you’ve got one absurdist look at our state’s (alternative) state of mind. This micro-budget feature is written and directed by Rio Rancho-based filmmaker Clint Bramlette.

The Caveman Of Atomic City

The Caveman of Atomic City
In 2013 directing/producing duo Paul and Petra Ratner gave us “Moses on the Mesa,” an award-winning documentary about a German-Jewish immigrant who became governor of the Native American pueblo of Acoma. Now the couple has returned with a documentary profile of another colorful local legend. Los Alamos icon microMike is a self-proclaimed “scientist and philosopher” who gave up all his worldly possessions to live in a cave underneath the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He developed a theory of time travel, got busted for growing pot, found “the world’s most valuable rock” and helped avert a Martian invasion (maybe, who can say?).

The 2016 Albuquerque Film and Media Experience

April 18 through 24

Various venues

Tickets/passes $8 to $175

The Merry Maids of Madness

She Sings to the Stars

The Quest for Suki

The Caveman of Atomic City

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