October 10, 2011 at 10:09 PM

‘The Artist’ Opens 12th Annual Santa Fe Film Festival

"Film's star, Jean Dujardin...Best Actor at Cannes..."

By Tom Maguire

Culture Vulture

Tom Maguire is a musician, arts supporter and a guy who travels the Southwest in a 13’ Scamp trailer, because he couldn’t figure out how the tent poles went together.

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The U.S. premiere of British director Terence Davies' postwar romantic drama “The Deep Blue Sea," starring Rachel Weisz and the French-Canadian film “Monsieur Lazhar,” directed by Philippe Falardeau, Canada’s official submission to the 84th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, are but two of the offerings slated for the 12th edition of the Santa Fe Film Festival (SFFF) from Thursday, October 20 through Sunday, October 23.

The Festival’s expanded four-day event increases the number of features, shorts and panels and has further established the Santa Fe Film Festival as a premier boutique international film festival.

On Opening Night, the Festival will screen “The Artist,” directed by Michel Hazanavicius.  Starring Jean Dujardin, who won Best Actor at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Berenice Bejo and featuring John Goodman. The film is about a silent movie star facing the twilight of his career and the dawn of a new romance as Hollywood welcomes the emergence of the talkies. The festival’s Closing Night film is “Monsieur Lazhar”. “Ninja Kids” (2011), a family friendly high energy comedy from cult phenomenon director Takashi Miike (13 Assassins), will also receive a special screening at Santa Fe’s historic Lensic Performing Arts Center.

Film Festival Board Chairman, Nick Durrie commented regarding the re-launch of the festival, “As part of a strategic plan for a gradual, multi-year expansion of the festival, a new group of business-oriented board members, advisors, and volunteers have come together with a strong commitment to a fiscally sustainable model.  Diane Schneier Perrin is the pivotal person in our development plans and we are delighted to have her on board.”

Veteran film producer Diane Schneier Perrin (Kathryn Bigelow’s “Blue Steel,” Oliver Stone’s “Talk Radio,” Barbet Schroeder’s Academy Award-winning “Reversal of Fortune”) and Executive Director of SFFF, states, “Santa Fe stands as one of the great centers for film enthusiasts in the world.  For this very special 12th edition of the festival, we wanted to find an exceptional opening film, and we got our wish with “The Artist”.  We are also thrilled to be presenting some notable premieres such as “The Deep Blue Sea” and the Canadian foreign language Oscar entry “Monsieur Lazhar”. ”

Brent Kliewer, programmer for The Screen on the campus of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design is SFFF’s new Director of Film Programming.  Kliewer comments, “We have a strong program with films such as Finland’s Oscar entry “Le Havre,” from legendary director Aki Kaurismäki, Iran’s Oscar entry “A Separation” from Asghar Farhadi and Turkey’s Oscar entry “Once Upon A Time in Anatolia,” directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes.  We will also spotlight New Mexico filmmakers with a screening of “Wild Horses and Renegades” directed by James Anaquad Kleinert, a beautifully photographed and passionately expressed chronicle of the plight of the American wild horse.” 

I will soon be posting a series of blog entries for each of the individual screening days of the Festival, but be sure to check out the full schedule at santafefilmfestival.com before tickets go on sale, as I am sure some of the screenings will sell out early.

The 2011 SFFF’s sponsors include Century Link, Casas de Santa Fe, New Mexico Lighting & Grip, SAG Indie, Kowboyz, Tamalewood, and Santafe.com.  Partial funding was granted by the City of Santa Fe Lodger’s Tax, the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission and the New Mexico Department of Tourism.

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