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Santa Fe Film Festival Ready To Roll

The Santa Fe Film Festival celebrates its 7th season Dec. 6-10 with
its most prestigious slate ever, anchored by galas including MISS
POTTER, PERFUME: STORY OF A MURDERER, THE PAINTED VEIL, VOLVER and
VENUS. In addition, special presentations are planned for PAN’S
LABYRINTH and THE ASTRONAUT FARMER.
All told, the festival will showcase nearly 200 works in eight
separate series, running in nine venues citywide. Announced recipients
of the festival’s Luminaria Awards for lifetime achievement are
cinematographer László Kovács and writer/director/producer Gregory
Nava. They will be feted at the festival’s Milagro Awards Ceremony on
Saturday, Dec. 9.
“Every season always brings special moments to treasure, but I can’t
recall another year where we’ve assembled a lineup this exciting,” said
Jon Bowman, executive director of the festival.
New this year is a full partnership with National Geographic’s All
Road’s Film Project, showcasing a complement of about 35 films made by
indigenous artists from around the world. Many of the filmmakers will
be in attendance, and National Geographic also will mount a
photographic exhibition featuring works from Bangladesh, Iran,
Guatemala and the United States.
The Weinstein Company’s MISS POTTER, starring Renee Zellweger as
beloved children’s author Beatrix Potter, is earmarked as the
festival’s centerpiece film on Friday, Dec. 8. Occupying opening night
on Wednesday, Dec. 6 will be the Dreamworks/Paramount Pictures thriller
PERFUME: STORY OF A MURDERER, from Tom Tykwer (RUN, LOLA, RUN), and
starring Dustin Hoffman. The festival closes out on Sunday, Dec. 10
with VENUS from Miramax Pictures, boasting a stellar performance by
seven-time Oscar nominee Peter O’Toole.
THE PAINTED VEIL, a Warner Independent Pictures release with Naomi
Watts and Ed Norton, will command the gala spotlight on Thursday, Dec.
7, followed by Pedro Almodovar’s VOLVER, from Sony Pictures Classics,
on Saturday, Dec. 9.
The festival also is pleased to offer special presentations of
Guillermo del Toro’s PAN’S LABYRINTH, in association with Picturehouse,
and the Polish Brothers’ ASTRONAUT FARMER, through the cooperation of
Warner Bros.
To honor Kovács, the festival will mount revival screenings of THE
KING OF MARVIN GARDENS and FRANCES, as well as stage a lighting
workshop with this master Hungarian-born lensman, who is the Kodak
Cinematographer in Residence at the University of California at Los
Angeles. With more than 60 feature films to his credit, Kovács shot
such masterworks as FIVE EASY PIECES, SHAMPOO, GHOSTBUSTERS and EASY
RIDER.
Nava will introduce a newly struck print of EL NORTE, his 1983 epic
that traces the dangerous journey north undertaken by two Mayan
peasants fleeing political violence in Guatemala. Nava’s other
accomplishments include co-writing the screenplay to FRIDA and
directing SELENA, MI FAMILIA and the forthcoming BORDERTOWN, set to
premiere in February at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Other Santa Fe Film Festival highlights this season include the US
premiere of Rustam Khamdamov’s VOCAL PARALLELS, an operatic allegory
based in Kazahkstan, and an appearance by Serik Aprimov introducing his
rarely seen 1999 Kazakh work AKSUAT, about two feuding brothers, torn
between brushes with the law, modernity and a pregnant woman.
“With BORAT making such a splash, we thought it was timely to give
audiences a glimpse of the genuine article,” said Bowman.
The Polish Brothers, Mark and Michael, are expected to attend to
present THE ASTRONAUT FARMER, due out in theatrical release in 2007,
and featuring Billy Bob Thornton as a would-be astronaut hoping to
launch his dreams of space travel from the family farm. It anchors a
distinguished roster of made-in-New Mexico titles appearing in the
festival, including Tim Hunter’s FAR SIDE OF JERICHO, Vanessa Vasser’s
CINDERELLAS OF SANTA FE, Mark Medoff’s 100 MPG, and Mark Fergus’ FIRST
SNOW, with Guy Pearce, being shown as a special audience presentation.
To complement the festival’s New Mexico slate, there will be a New
Mexico Film Expo, running Dec. 1-5, and featuring nearly 60 independent
titles from local filmmakers. The New Mexico Film Office and New Mexico
Film Museum are partners in mounting the Expo.
Also new for 2006 will be a series of two-hour workshops, the Film
Lab, scheduled to take place at the IATSE 480 headquarters in Santa Fe
and the College of Santa Fe. Topics for the labs will include
cinematography, editing, distribution, indie financing, legal issues,
and acting.
The festival will issue prizes in 12 categories, including a new
editing award named in honor of the late Suzanne Pettit, a Santa Fe
resident whose credits included TESTAMENT and ‘NIGHT MOTHER.
To order tickets or passes, call the festival’s box office at (505)
989-1495. Visit online at www.santafefilmfestival.com to survey the

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