Santa Fe Film Festival

The Santa Fe Film Festival is a Non-Profit Organization which presents important world cinema in a non-commercial context that represents aesthetic, critical and entertainment standards highlighting New Mexican film, new American and foreign film including revivals, retrospectives, independent productions and mini-festivals. They partner with educational groups, schools and non profits and also provide a forum for filmmakers, critics, educators and historians. The award is in the form of a mounted original sculpture. The festival has been listed as one of the top independent film festivals in the USA.[1]

Festival and awardsEdit

The festival is generally run between Thanksgiving and Christmas time (late November to early December) in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area and was inaugurated in 1999[2] but began an institutionalized schedule starting in the year 2000 which sold over 9,000 tickets and passes. The festival was founded by Kurt Young and Joanna England [3] The awards varied over the years. Initial categories included: Best Short, Best Documentary, Best Feature, Best Native American Film, and Best Latino Film. By 2006 the awards became the Milagro Award (best American independent film), the Independent Spirit Award (Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Independent Spirit Award), and the Audience Award, Honorable Mention (if needed), Creative Spirit Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award (if warranted). Major contributors to the event Robert O'Connor, Ben Mason, Jon Bowman and John Armijo serving as the board of directors, Linda Horn. Kurt Young was the first director of the festival and appointed Jon Bowman. Jon Bowman was the director of the festival for ten years.

Individuals awarded include:


  • Best Feature- Cider House Rules


  • Best Short - This Guy Is Falling (2000) - Michael Horowitz (I); Gareth Smith (I)
  • Best Documentary - One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich - Chris Marker
  • Best Feature - Zamani barayé masti asbha (2000) - Bahman Ghobadi
  • Best Native American Film - Backroads (2000) - Shirley Cheechoo
  • Best Latino Film - Estorvo (2000) - Ruy Guerra



  • Best Short - Book of Kings (2002) - Chris Terrio
  • Best Documentary - Vakvagany (2002) - Benjamin Meade
  • Best Native American-Themed Film - Lady Warriors (2002) - John C.P. Goheen
  • Best Feature - Hukkle (2002) - György Pálfi (I)
  • Best Latino Film - Todas las azafatas van al cielo (2002) - Daniel Burman
  • Best New Mexico Film - Little Lourdes (2002) - Elisabeth Unna
  • Milagro Award - Slaughter Rule, The (2002) - Alex Smith (II); Andrew J. Smith
  • Audience Award - Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House (2002) - Deborah Dickson


  • Creative Spirit Award - Jon E. Edwards Is In Love (2003) - Chris Bradley, Kyle LaBrache
  • Honorable Mention - Blackwater Elegy (2003) - Joe O'Brien (III); Matthew Porter (I)
  • Audience Award - Indigo (2003) - Stephen Simon
  • Best of the Southwest - Jesus Freak (2003) - Morgan Nichols and Movie Farm
  • Best Short - Simones Labyrinth (2003) - Iván Sáinz-Pardo
  • Best Short Film - Raven Tales: Raven Steals the Sun (2004) (TV) - Chris Kientz
  • Best Documentary - Mojados: Through the Night (2004) - Tommy Davis (V)
  • Best of Festival - Dare mo shiranai (2004) - Hirokazu Koreeda
  • Creative Spirit Award - Loss of Nameless Things, The (2004) - Bill Rose (I)
  • Best of the Fest - Depuis qu'Otar est parti... (2003) - Julie Bertucelli
  • Independent Spirit Award - Sonata (2004) (V) - Boris Undorf
  • Best Latino Film- Paloma de papel (2003) - Fabrizio Aguilar [4]



  • Screenwriting - Fall to Grace (2005) - Mari Marchbanks
  • Best of the Southwest - Self Medicated (2005) - Monty Lapica (director); Tommy Bell (II) (producer)
  • Best Animation - Souvenir (2004) - Stephen Rose (III)
  • Creative Spirit Award in Documentary - Balloonhat (2005) - A.G. Vermouth


  • Milagro Award - Cowboy del Amor (2005) - Michèle Ohayon and English as a Second Language (2005)
  • Independent Spirit Award - Jam (2006/I) - Craig Serling; Nicole Lonner
  • Audience Award - Gymnast, The (2006) - Ned Farr
  • Lifetime Achievement award for Hungarian cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs[5] Kovacs has more than 60 feature films to his credit, including the 1969 biker film Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Paper Moon and Ghostbusters. Actress Ali MacGraw hosted the ceremony.



  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Invited Presentation & Speaking Engagements of Tara Veneruso Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine included the 1999 Santa Fe Film Festival
  3. ^ About the Festival(old website)
  4. ^ Source: Santa Fe New Mexican, 02 25, 2005, p54
  5. ^ Hungarian cinematographer honored at Santa Fe Film Festival

External linksEdit