The 24th annual Santa Fe Film Festival (SFFF 24) will take place between April 25-28th, and is set to provide an exhilarating experience for moviegoers, boasting an impressive line-up of films from notable filmmakers and welcoming esteemed honorees.  Over 100 features and short films will screen throughout the festival weekend, chosen from thousands of submissions, with most filmmakers confirmed to attend. The 501(c)(3) non-profit festival organization again brings together a unique collection of feature and short films, championing those that make a difference, living up to its motto “Cinema Different”. 

Opening Night will start off with a splash with indy sports-drama AMERICAN UNDERDOG, a redemption story set in the world of MMA, from first-time Peruvian-American director Gustavo Martin Benites starring Danny Trejo, Veronica Falcón, Vishy Ayyar, Taylor Treadwell, Suleka Mathew and Andrew Gray, who will all be in town to present the film along with producers Naveen A. Chathapuram, Cristy Coors Beasley and Rashaana Shah. Danny Trejo will receive the Festival’s highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award in a ceremony at the start of the night in the Scottish Rite Temple Theater; and Veronica Falcón will receive the Trailblazer Visionary Award at Saturday’s Awards presentation at the New Mexico History Museum, followed by a ticketed reception in her honor. 

The Festival will honor actor, filmmaker and artist Val Kilmer with the Luminaria Award for demonstrated exceptional achievement in the arts and sparking inspiration in others creative process on Saturday at the SFFF 24 Award Ceremony presentation. The festival features a very special, rare gallery exhibition of artwork by beloved actor and painter Val Kilmer at Edition One Gallery, ​729 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501. An opening reception is set for Thursday, April 25th, and the works will remain on display in the gallery throughout the weekend. His paintings, rich in color and emotion, have garnered critical acclaim and are highly regarded and sought-after among serious collectors. Kilmer is one of Hollywoods most beloved actors starring in icon roles such as Kazansky in Top Gun, Jim Morrison in The Doors, Batman, as Batman and Dieter Von Cunth in the 2010 cult classic MacGruber, a comedy based on the SNL spoof sketch of MacGyver.

This year’s line-up includes an array of internationally-directed features, among them TILL LOVE DO US PART by first-time female Chinese Director Ran Li.  Actor, Director and Producer Fabio Massa brings GLOBAL HARMONY, an Italian drama filled with suspense, heart and an authentic societal commentary to the festival. Adding further international flair, is Japanese filmmaker Yuichiro Nakada making the journey from Japan to Santa Fe to showcase his short film, GIFT, an examination of cultural differences between an unlikely pair of protagonists. 

Be sure not to miss authentic representation of our beautiful homeland on the silver screen. New Mexico’s breathtaking vistas, as seen through the eyes of our home-grown filmmakers, are nothing short of mesmerizing. Enjoy the quirky humor in Tom Carroll’s film, THE STRESS IS KILLING ME, set in Albuquerque around a group of UNM graduates, now in their 40’s, returning for a college reunion. Dive deep into TALES OF THE FADED WEST by the talented Brenden Wedner and THE VALLEY OF HEART’s DELIGHT by the gifted Mike Timm. 

Other festival highlights include the light and up-beat wartime 1942-set musical, not to be missed, ONLY HERE AND NOW by Raymond Singer; or jump into politics with Liza Asner’s (daughter of the late actor Ed Asner) directorial debut in IT ISN’T JUST POLITICS which examines the causes and possible solutions of current political polarization in the United States. These brilliant films captivate and delight.

“The Jean Cocteau”, an early and longtime festival partner and the “Grand Dame” of New Mexico cinema, is now newly renovated & beautifully restored thanks to cinephile and famed writer and producer George R. R. Martin. The 70-seat theater, a true gem, will host films throughout the festival, as well as the Filmmakers Lounge, where these global filmmakers and tastemakers will be able to mingle and conduct press interviews. 

Closing out the festival at the refreshed Jean Cocteau theater will be a screening of director Stephen Wallis’ THE MARTINI SHOT, which he produced alongside with Russ De Jong, starring Matthew Modine, Derek Jacobi, John Cleese, Stuart Townsend, Fiona Glascott, Morgana Robinson, and Jason London. This post-modern existential drama follows Steve, an ailing movie director, as he begins to shoot what he believes to be his final work of art. A rousing closing night festival celebration will follow at the venue As Above So Below. 

Festival events will be held throughout the city, showcasing the beauty and artistry of Santa Fe to our guests in venues from the Scottish Rite Temple Theater, the New Mexico History Museum, to the restored Jean Cocteau Theater, to Boxcar, to Herve’s Wine Bar, the Edition One Gallery and The Crafted Tasting Room at Inn & Spa at Loretto, and Vara, among others. 

Honored guests and filmmakers will stay in style with generous support from the Downtown Hilton, The St. Francis Hotel, and La Fonda.

Enjoy delicious local cuisine and drinks courtesy of festival sponsors like What the Truck, Casamigos, Sunora Bacanora, Rolling Still Distillery, Premier Distributing Company and more. 

SFFF 24 is also set to partner and expand this year, taking many of the films to neighboring festivals in Los Alamos, Las Vegas and down the Rio Grande to TorC and Las Cruces (details to follow). 

With esteemed guests like this year’s festival honorees Danny Trejo and Veronica Falcón, and returning Lifetime Achievement winner and the Academy-Award winner OPPENHEIMER cast member Matthew Modine, artist Val Kilmer and animator Bill Plympton, the line-up this year is nothing short of dazzling. Don’t miss this unprecedented gathering of creative brilliance.


Nani Rivera 

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