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Santa Fe Festival "under the wire" for Oscar deadline

The chilly Santa Fe Film Festival, now firmly established as a critical stop on the film festival calendar as an “under the wire” event for filmmakers looking for that last chance at a looming Oscar deadline, went off for the fifth edition under the guidance of festival director Jon Bowman.

If there’s any over riding factor now bedeviling the organizers is the abundance of material showing up on their doorstep. With over 900 entries, the festival finds itself as a late year bell weather of sorts come Oscar time.

Last year’s edition screened seven films that take home Oscar statues, garnering 16 nominations among them. Consequently, the organizers anticipate more opportunities for interesting and compelling films to come their way. Oscar finalists will be announced on January 25, 2005.

This year, tagged “Spellbound at 7,000 Feet,” the thrust was toward smaller, more interesting movies, although there were more than a few names on display. “Our programming got more diverse, in some cases a little edgier,” according to festival director Jon Bowman. “But the audiences turned out in record numbers and seemed more inclined to sample the smaller, undiscovered gems as well as the gala blockbusters.”

Ticket buyers seem to agree, with another growth bump to 20,000 tickets sold for this year’s edition. “It's nice to see the audience growing more adventuresome. It means we have room to grow and try out new things, which is always more exciting than just sticking with the status quo,” Bowman said.

This year’s annual Luminaria awards went to two film legends, Alan Arkin (“The In – Laws”) and Alfonso Arau (“Like Water for Chocolate”) complete with retrospectives of their work. Also new this year were more documentaries, more Southwestern and regional fare, the Governor's Cup challenge for local New Mexico filmmakers, and a new partnership with the Instituto Cervantes who helped sponsor Alfonso Arau's appearance as a 2004 Luminaria Award winner.

Next year's Santa Fe Film Festival dates are December 7-11, 2005

The 2004 Santa Fe Film Festival Milagro Awards:

Best Documentary Film Mojados; Through the Night
Accepted by Tommy Davis, Director

Best Southwest Film World Without Waves
Accepted by J. Mitchell Johnson, Director/Writer

Best Animation Film Earth
Accepted by Jihyun Song, animator

Best Latino Film Paper Dove
Accepted by Bruno Boscio, Distributor

Best Creative Spirit Film Loss of Nameless Things
Accepted by Bill Rose, Director

Best Native American Film Raven Tales
Accepted by Chris Kientz, Director

Best Short Film Bicycles and Radio

Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company Independent Spirit Award

Accepted by Boris Undorf, Director/writer/producer and
Nicole DuPort, lead actress

The Audience Choice Award Elephant Shoes
Accepted by Christos Sourligas, Director/writer/producer and Stacie
Morgain Lewis

The Best of Festival Award Nobody Knows
Accepted FOR Hirokazu Kore-eda, Director/ writer/producer

Gene Grant

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