2022 Santa Fe Film Festival Awards Announced

Top Honors go to “The Falconer” for Best in Show, “The Sound of Us” for Best Feature Documentary, “Oliver and the Pool” for Best International Feature plus two CSA Casting Director awards among the winners at the 22nd Santa Fe Film Festival

The Santa Fe Film Festival has concluded its 22nd edition with an in-person and online event featuring 168 films from 36 countries. At this year’s festival, filmmakers were honored at the two filmmaker luncheon combination awards ceremonies held on February 5th and 12th. The festival team wanted to make sure that the over 90 filmmakers from the US, Viet Nam, England, Mexico, and Iran and their teams could be present to receive their awards. 

The team from Sopapilla Productions, Felicia Masias and Keith Allen, hosted the red carpet and after-parties that ended each night with a group karaoke sing-along while festival host, Madison Brodsky, brought some Hollywood flair to the event while sharing video clips from around Santa Fe to showcase Festival venues and other areas of interest. Festival staff included Volunteer Coordinator, Angel Masias, New Mexico journalist, Adrian Chavez, and Festival Judge and International entertainment journalist, Carita Rizzo who also served as moderators for Q&As.

The festival’s Programmer, JD Piche, worked hard to program the festival by pairing New Mexican Filmmakers with others from around the country to facilitate networking opportunities and potentially find future collaborators.

One of the highlights of the festival was the satellite event held in Albuquerque, in honor of Black History Month and to showcase the film “One Pint at a Time” with a special screening at the Nexus Smokehouse Blue Brewery where locals learned more about the importance of Black Brewers and their contribution to the craft of beer at one of the only Black-owned breweries in New Mexico with event host, Queneesha Meyers, owner of Q’s Cakes & Sweets Boutique in Albuquerque.

“From the beginning, we went into our festival planning with a ‘Plan B’ in case things changed due to the pandemic, as our first consideration was how to be safe,” said Stephanie Piche, Santa Fe Film Festival Director. “We partnered with VIP StarNetwork, had PPE and testing at our festival office, followed our venue’s COVID protocols, capacity limitations along with mask-wearing and social distancing with our live festival, we felt it could be done within these limitations and we did it.” 

The Santa Fe Film Festival’s opening night film “The Art of Making It” included a curated private tour of Site Santa Fe along with a reception at “Charlotte Jackson Fine Art” before the screening at the Center for Contemporary Arts.

The Gala Screening on Saturday, February 5th, “The Tricky Part” based on the book from the award-winning performer, Martin Moran, who won the OBIE for his one-man show, had director, Raphael Sbarge and Matthew Ennis, executive director of the non-profit, 1in6.org to talk about the film which touches on childhood abuse of men and how to normalize the conversation. Not in attendance at the screening but was at the filmmaker luncheon earlier in the day was producer, Anthony Edwards, who is also the spokesperson for 1in6.org and who also received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his wide body of work and philanthropist.

Chris Gero, 12-time Emmy Award winner and Grammy Award-nominated record producer, founder of Yamaha Entertainment Group of America, and Chief Artist Relations Executive for Yamaha Artist Relations Group, won Best Director for his documentary “The Sound of Us.”

First-time feature documentary filmmaker, AJ Martinson’s film, “The End of Blindness” was screened with a special presentation about Dr. Samuel Bora, the only ophthalmologist for 3 million people in Ethiopia who does free cataract surgery, following which was so well-received that audience members donated to the charity Tropical Health Alliance Foundation involved helping this important work continue.

Cinema lovers were out in force as there were many sold-out screenings including two World Premieres for New Mexicans. Santa Fe native and Los Angeles filmmaker, America Young and her film “Back to Lyla” and local Albuquerque filmmaker, Doug Montoya’s film “Third Act” also played to a packed house.

America Young was also honored with the first “Spirit of New Mexico” award for her work as a director, producer, writer, stunt-coordinator, and philanthropist with her The Chimaera Project, a non-profit, which helps female-identifying filmmakers with finishing funds for their projects.

“Having an in-person event was tricky but it was also gratifying as the goal of our festival was not only to honor filmmakers but also provide lots of networking and enlightenment which we were able to accomplish with the amazing workshops and presentations we had from casting to film financing to promotion and production,” Piche continued. “We have been overwhelmed with the response from all in attendance not only for the wonderful experience but for many, this was the first time they have been to New Mexico and they want to come back again soon, some even to make their project here too.”

New this year was the inaugural Casting Society ‘Casting Director Awards.’

This is the first time the Casting Society has partnered with a film festival to recognize casting directors and their important work as part of the production. Casting Society’s president, Kim Williams, and vice-president Caroline Liem, along with members of their team were in attendance to honor the work of casting directors on two films in the festival, “My Dead Dad” with Rick Montgomery and Thomas Sullivan and “Undercut” with Emily Schweber, casting directors at the filmmaker luncheon on February 12th, 2022, at the La Fonda on the Plaza in Santa Fe. Following the luncheon was a special CSA presentation entitled “The Magic and Genius of Casting” at the Santa Fe Scottish Rite Masonic Temple and included a special Q&A with the audience to help demystify casting and talk about the many benefits of this service as an integral part of making your project from film, tv, commercials and more.

The SFFF awards ceremony winners were selected from 25 feature narratives, 35 feature documentaries and over 100 short films from more than 500 submissions and are showcased online via the Santa Fe Film Festival’s online streaming platform by local tech company, Xerb.TV. The festival will also be announcing one more award, the Audience Choice for Best Feature when the online viewing ends on February 21, 2022. 

The Santa Fe Film Festival will also be sharing interviews, photos and more on their social media channels including on their official festival media partner, RCR News Media, who had reached out to a number of filmmakers for interviews in advance of the festival, along with in-person interviews from the red carpet, which can be found on their YouTube Channel at https://bit.ly/SFFFInterviews22 .

Here Are Your 2022 Santa Fe Film Festival Award Winners

Best US Narrative Feature 
The Falconer

Best in Show
The Falconer

Best Feature Documentary
The Sound of Us

Best Story 
The Brilliant Darkness!

Best Short Documentary
Yupiit: Eye of Both Worlds

Best Short Film
What We Find in the Sea

Best International Narrative Feature
Oliver and the Pool

Best New Mexican Produced Short Film

Best 1st Time Filmmaker (documentary)
Hello Sunshine

Best First Time Feature

Best Student Filmmaker
The Island

Best Director
Oliver and the Pool

Best Performance (male)
Pedro Correa “Lucas” – My Dead Dad

Best Performance (female) 
Nha Uyen Ly Nguyen “Song” – The Brilliant Darkness!

Best Cinematography
The Roommate

Best Costume Design
The Machinery of Dreams

Best Editing
The Long Isolation

Best Production Design
The Machinery of Dreams

Best Sound
Alchemy of the Spirit

Casting Society’s 2022 Casting Director Santa Fe Film Festival Awards

Best Casting Director for a Feature Film
Rick Montgomery and Thomas Sullivan for “My Dead Dad”

Best Casting Director for a Short Film
Emily Schweber for “Undercut”

By the Numbers 

(2) The Falconer: Best US Narrative Feature, Best In Show

(2) Oliver and the Pool: Best International Narrative Feature, Best Director

(2) The Brilliant Darkness!:  Best Story, Best Performance: Female

(2) The Machinery of Dreams: Best Production Design, Best Costume Design

(2) My Dead Dad: Best Performance: Male + Best Casting Director, Feature

(1) The Sound of Us: Best Feature Documentary

(1) What We Find in the Sea: Best Short Film

(1) Yupiit: Eye of Both Worlds: Best Short Documentary

(1) Breathe: Best New Mexico Produced Short

(1) Hello Sunshine: Best 1st Time Filmmaker (documentary)

(1) Undercut: Best Casting Director, Short

(1) Samland: Best First Time Feature

(1) The Island: Best Student Filmmaker

(1) The Long Isolation: Best Editing

(1) The Roommate: Best Cinematography

(1) Alchemy of the Spirit: Best Sound

For the complete list of films, synopses, and other special events happening during the SFFF 2022, please visit http://santafefilmfestival.com. For further information about the Santa Fe Film Festival, or for press inquiries, contact Stephanie Piche, Executive Director of the Santa Fe Film Festival at [email protected].

About Santa Fe Film Festival
The Original Santa Fe Film Festival celebrates all facets of cinematic arts – here in New Mexico, regionally and globally. Our annual event honors everyone working both behind the scenes and on-screen to bring the best of film creation, production, and showings to the public. We constantly seek improvement in our respective crafts and provide filmmakers with resources to pursue their dreams. To that end, the Santa Fe Film Festival focuses on bringing together distinguished industry specialists and discriminating movie lovers through accessible screenings, panels, workshops, and parties.

The Festival will continue to grow as the leading exhibition and educational portal for all things cinematic in New Mexico. The Santa Fe Film Festival is a cultural, not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization. For more info, please visit http://santafefilmfestival.com.About Casting Society

Casting Society (CSA) was founded in February of 1982 with the intention of establishing a recognized standard of professionalism in the casting field and providing its members with a support organization to further their goals and protect their common interests. CSA currently boasts close to 1,200 members. CSA casting directors and associate casting directors work around the world, with members based in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa. CSA is a global resource for producers, directors and creative teams seeking casting professionals while promoting the image of casting directors and associate casting directors worldwide, engaging in a few charitable activities and supporting its members by sharing important and helpful professional information. For more information on the Casting Society, please visit www.CastingSociety.com.

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