More than 20 features will receive Southwestern or U.S. premieres at the third annual Santa Fe Film Festival, running Dec. 4-8 in New Mexico. The festival will screen approximately 130 films from 17 countries. The offerings span every continent, including Antarctica, the subject of “Ice Island,” a documentary charting a National Geographic-sponsored scientific expedition to explore a breakaway iceberg the size of Connecticut.
Award-winning imports playing for the first time in the Southwest include:
“Blissfully Yours,” Apichatpong Weerasethkul’s erotic tale of a forbidden love between a Thai woman and a Burmese refugee. The Thai feature won the prestigious Un Certain Regard Award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Chihwaseon, Im Kwon-taek’s portrait of hard-living, 19th-century Korean painter Jang Seung-up. Im Kwon-taek shared the best director’s award at Cannes.
Divine Intervention, Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman’s farce examining the absurdities of life in a Middle Eastern war zone. It earned a FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes.
“Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary,” Guy Maddin’s kinetic and original adaptation of a Royal Winnipeg Ballet production set to the music of Gustav Mahler. It’s playing for only the second time in the U.S. after debuting at the Three Rivers Film Festival in Pittsburgh.
“Every Stewardess Goes to Heaven,” Daniel Burman’s romantic comedy from Argentina, recipient of the Best Film Award at the Troia International Film Festival in Portugal.
“Hukkle,” Gyorgy Palfi’s inventive thriller set in a Hungarian village, a nominee for Best Film in the European Academy Awards following festival acclaim in Budapest, San Sebastian and Kiev.
“My Life As McDull,” an animated feature that won the Best Film Award in Hong Kong, arriving in Santa Fe after its inaugural American showing at the Chicago International Film Festival.
And “Ten,” by Abbas Kiarostami, the Iranian grand master denied a visa to attend the 40th annual New York International Film Festival, arousing the ire of filmmakers and buffs around the world.
In addition to its bounty of international fare, the festival presents world premieres of two comedies – the Latin-flavored “Mi Casa, Su Casa,” co-produced by Univision’s Charlie Bravo, and “Winter Break,” starring Eddie Kaye Thomas from American Pie as a college graduate who joins his buddies skiing in Aspen rather than succumb to the 9-to-5 daily grind.
New Mexico-based titles that will screen at the festival, range from the thriller “Unspeakable,” starring Dennis Hopper and Lance Henriksen, to “Trail of the Painted Ponies,” which chronicles an ongoing statewide project involving scores of New Mexico’s finest artists.
Documentaries receiving U.S. or Southwestern premieres include “Little Lourdes,” portraying contemporary life in the northern New Mexico village of Chimayo; “The Fish That Time Forgot,” about the rediscovery of a 200 million-year-old species off the coast of Madagascar; “Return to Eden,” detailing a bold effort to reintroduce endangered marsupials into the wilds of Australia; “Strange Fruit,” examining the life of blues singer Billie Holiday in the context of the controversial ballad she popularized; and “Mighty Times – The Legacy of Rosa Parks,” a rousing biography of the woman who gave birth to the modern Civil Rights movement.
For more festival information, visit the Santa Fe Film Festival website.