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Flicks on 66

12th annual Santa Fe Film Festival

The Santa Fe Film Festival is back again. After a great outing last year, with more than 9,000 in attendance, the festival promises to be even bigger this year. The festival, which runs from Wednesday through Sunday, will showcase some of the best films from around the world and even some selections from our own backyard.

The Santa Fe Film Festival has more to offer than merely films. It includes parties, receptions, book signings, art shows, panel discussions and other events worthy of a visit. Santa Fe is going to be transformed into one big movie house. Films will be showing all over town and parties will be happening all night long.

The opening night will be a spectacle. Kicking off the festival in a different manner, viewers have the opportunity to choose from five different feature films. Festival goers can pick "Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner" from Canada at The Screen, the world premiere of "Slam America" at the Plan B Video Hall and "Mortal Transfer" at Plan B. The official start date of the festival is Thursday and will offer "Charlotte Gray" and "Italian for Beginners," both playing at the Lensic Performing Arts Center.

The festival will also feature four films that are in the running for an Oscar for best foreign language film. "Italian for Beginners" from Denmark, "Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner" from Canada, "No Man's Land" from Bosnia and "Dark Blue World" from the Czech Republic range immensely in their scope and represent the best of what these countries have to offer.

Lone Sherfig's "Italian for Beginners" is the story of a group of people who enroll in an Italian class to spice up their lives. "No Man's Land" follows two soldiers who are trapped during the Bosnian war. "Dark Blue World" from the director of "Kolya" is the story of two pilots who at first are fighting against the Nazis, then end up fighting over the same woman. Finally, "Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner" is a mystical story of two brothers who cope with betrayal, jealousy and demonic spirits.

Each foreign language film has potential for greatness and New Mexico has rarely had the opportunity to showcase such outstanding obscure cinema. I recommend that you try and catch as many films as possible.

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Ismail Merchant, Felipe Cazals and Mary Woronov are the three recipients of the Luminaria tributee who will be honored at the festival for their achievements in the medium of film. Merchant, a producer, joined James Ivory in 1960 and formed Merchant Ivory Productions. Merchant and Ivory have combined to create many lasting films.

One of Mexico's greatest directors, Cazals, also will be on hand to accept a Luminaria. His films have earned critical acclaim internationally. The final Luminaria will be going to Woronov, who is an actress, author and painter. She got her start in the "Silver Factory" by Andy Warhol and has had close to 75 screen appearances. The festival will be screening films from each artist's career.

Other notable films that will be gracing the screens in Santa Fe are: "Lantana" a film by Ray Lawrence, starring Geoffrey Rush and Anthony Lapaglia and "In the Bedroom," directed by Todd Field, starring Sissy Spacek. "Lantana" is a thriller about the disappearance of a resident from a small town, and "In the Bedroom" tells the story of a close family that begins to fall apart when the son becomes involved with a sexy older woman. Both films have won awards and have received loads of critical praise.

The Santa Fe Film Festival will be screening more than 70 programs.

Feature films, documentaries, shorts and retrospectives will make up the scheduled events at the festival. I recommend that you make your way North. The festival organizers did a good job last year, and I expect nothing less with the lineup of films they are offering this year.

An all-festival pass costs $350, with a film pass running for $275. For more information about individual ticket prices and show times, check out the Santa Fe Film Festival's Web site at or call (505) 988-5225.

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