Tag Archives: santa fe

Santa Fe Independent Film Festival

This year’s Santa Fe Independent Film Festival kicked off Oct 15-19 all around the city. Being a working Albuquerquean, I didn’t leave myself time to attend the full event. In fact, I didn’t leave myself time to attend any of the event. After all, we had a festival here in town that I attended, so there was no need to haul up to Santa Fe for theirs.

It happens that on Friday I was on my way up to Santa Fe to go the Artisan Art Expo to pick up some discount art supplies, but that’s another story. While I was up there, I decided to check out the DIY Filmmaking workshop with Laura Terruso. It was an eye-opening experience. I arrived early, I always mis-calculate driving time when the plaza is involved. I got a wonderful tour of the Santa Fe Contemporary Art Musuem’s theater set up. They have a small black box theater where the lecture was and a beautiful redone main theater. Being a completely independent entity, they are able to showcase a wide variety of movies, more then many of the other theaters in New Mexico.

The workshop itself feature two Indie movies that Laura Terruso had made in her home base of New York City. She talked about her feature films “Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same” and “The Foxy Merkins”. She went into detail about how to turn your weakness into strengths. By not having a budget to shoot with in NYC she was able to use the city as the background in both movies. But she cautions, “When your asking people to donate their time to a project, feed them. Feed them well.” Both of these movies were made with below minimal budgets and came out beautifully. Those of you with a Netflix account can check out “Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same”.

I walked out of the 90 minutes lectures feeling inspired to take on the world of film. It was a good thing too, because that night I jumped into my first 48-hour movie challenge. Now that I have recovered from it, and gone over my notes from Laura’s lecture, I feel ready to turn my weaknesses into strengths and go make a movie.

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The Hillerman Legacy Continues

911860.spiderwomansdaughterJournalist, turned novelist, Anne Hillerman has been writing from an early age, following in her father’s footsteps. From article writing to editing and now restaurant reviews, Hillerman ran the gambit in the newspaper world. Back in 2004, for she began the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference in honor of her father, and now has written her first novel picking up the series her dad left behind.

Anne began her career over twenty years ago, starting out as a copy editor, and then moving into reporting. She started at the Santa Fe New Mexican and then moved on to work for the Albuquerque Journal. Moving into reporting was a learning experience that Hillerman wouldn’t trade for the world. It helped her learnto write against deadlines, hone her skills to word counts, and gave her confidence in her writing abilities. Fact sorting was the most relevant skill she learned for her later career as a fiction writer. There are so many facts and details that a writer can add to a story or an article. It takes discernment to know which of these facts or details is going to impact the reader. It’s a skill that most writers spend lifetime learning. Hillerman states, “Being a reporter introduced me to some many different kinds of people and gave me a lot of confidence.” Taking on the role of editor allowed her to work with some talented writers. While helping other writers tighten their work and create stronger prose, Hillerman learned to refine her own writing.

Hillerman and her husband, Don, worked together to produce many books on New Mexico including: Santa Fe Flavors: Best Restaurants and Recipes (winner of the 2009 New Mexico Book Award), The Insider’s Guide to Santa Fe, and many other titles, none of which were novels. After her father, Tony HIllerman’s, death in 2008, she decided to write the next book in the series that her father had created. Hillerman wrote Spider Woman’s Daughter in 2013, partly cathartic, partly to honor her father’s memory, and, of course, to pay homage to the characters. The story, number 19 in the series, picks up with Leaphorn, Bernie, and Chee, with the addition of some new characters. Staying true to the main characters in the story, she gave her own twist to the new mystery and allowed all the characters to grow in the addition. Devote readers maybe be surprised who solves what in this installment of the series, but it will keep you guessing right up until the end. She is in the process of completing number twenty and signing a book deal for three more installments. These characters will be around to save New Mexico from the criminal elements for years to come. “I loved his stories,” Hillerman shares. “I love his characters… his setting.”

Wordharvest, founded in 2002 by Hillerman and Jean Schaumberg, supports the art of writing. They began the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference in 2004, now celebrating its tenth year, Tony participated in the inaugural conference that was focused for mystery writers. Originally intended to be a one time event, the conference went over so well that it became an annual event. It was opened up to create a space where writers of all genres could come to learn and share experiences in the 2010 Writers Conference. The event is three days long and held in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Day one consist of hands on writing workshops, day two the craft of writing, and day three the business of writing. The conference days are packed with speakers, special guests, and panels to give new and seasoned writers information on writing from all angles. Along with the conference, they run a contest for new mystery writers every year. “We thought it would be fun to shine the light on the wonderful talent that New Mexico has in terms of writers,” says HIllerman. Writers who have not published a mystery before can submit their mystery novel for a chance to win a $10,000 advance. Submission deadline is June 1st, and it must take place in the Southwest. Please visit www.wordharvest.com for details.

Anne Hillerman – talented writer, inspiring editor, and community involvement keep her busy and traveling all over New Mexico. She still finds time to do restaurant reviews during her travels. If you’re a mystery reader, or a writer, Anne Hillerman should be on your list of people to follow. She is doing amazing in the writing world and you can be a part of her journey.


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Nightlife in Santa Fe

Pulling into Santa Fe around 8, food was calling our name. First stop Second Street Brewery on 2nd street, in its original location. They had a live band playing in the middle of the floor; an Irish couple on the night in question. The wait was short and made short by the large selection of in-house brews. After a good beer, and some great music, we moved on with our evening.

The Matador is a well-known little gem just off Santa Fe’s famous plaza. A basement dive bar with blaring punk rock, and an eclectic crowd, it’s a perfect place to begin or end your night. In this case we did both. Don’t be fooled by the poster on the wall and ratty bar stools. The Matador can hold its own with any bar in town. Open for seven years, you can enjoy the old movies on the TV or get a seat in the other room around the stripper pole – the choice is yours.

Just down the street from The Matador is The Den. DJ Luna was spinning some serious EDM (electronic dance music). A complete 180 from Matador’s dive bar personality, The Den has high-end furnishings with fireplaces burning. The light show is hypnotic and has well-dressed bartenders serve up of drinks.

The best part about Santa Fe – it’s all right there, so you don’t have to choose. You can cover just about every kind of music you want within a single block next to the plaza.

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George R R Martin

By Winter Flack & Teresa Ewers

Many have witnessed the thrill of the HBO series Game of Thrones. But there are those who have been fans for years because of the writer, the 5’6″ bearded legend we know as Martin – George R.R. Martin. Going as far back as 1971, George has been writing science fiction for the mass. He began with publishing more then fifty short stories by 1977. His first novel was published in 1977, hitting a total of four by the early eighties. The fourth novel called The Armageddon Rag was a contemporary novel set in the 1980’s. It got great reviews, but it was a commercial disaster. With a black mark on his record, he couldn’t find a publisher who would touch him.

“Luckily for me when that door was closing, another door was opening in Hollywood,” shared Martin.

The book that almost ended his career was optioned for a film adaptation. Although the movie was never made, it introduced George to movie making. CBS at the time was looking to bring back The Twilight Zone. The shows producer turned to science fiction writers to create scripts for the shows, even writers with no screenwriting experience. Martin did a script for the show, followed by another, and then, before he knew it, he was on staff out in Los Angeles. He never left Santa Fe, needing a calm place to call home. Working in Los Angeles was an amazing time and he worked with some marvelous people, but he wanted to come back and live in New Mexico.

After his time in Hollywood, he decided it was time to put his own shows in development. It was a time of learning in his life. In Hollywood, you can pour a year of your life into developing characters and a story, and, through no fault of your own, they will kill your show idea. Martin decided, at that point, he needed an audience that he could entertain. He wanted to create things that people could enjoy, no matter what four guys in suits had to say. With this in mind, he went back to his first love – writing. He put his effort into writing Ice and Fire, which became Game of Thrones, currently playing on HBO. After five years of trying to write something that would turn into a TV show, his most long and complicated work becomes a hit. Martin loves the way the show has turned out, being that the books are his babies. Each one is about 1500 words. These take him years to write, so he found a great team – David Benioff and D.B. Wiess – to handle the majority of the show’s writing. They write about seven, out of the ten, episodes a season. He does write one script a season for the show. He wishes they could run for twelve episodes so that they could get more of the books into the show itself.

Martin continues to be an acclaimed writer and is now a theater owner. George R.R. Martin re-opened the Jean Cocteau Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2013. The theater had originally opened in the 1970’s and George had watched many movies there in his time. Citing his main reasons – one of them being they had the best popcorn in all of Santa Fe – the darkened theater sitting empty made him sad. After months of wondering why someone wasn’t reopening the theater, he realized he should be the one to take on the challenge. Now, they show movies, music, and magicians in the theater. If your lucky, you can catch the showings of Game of Thrones. “A little piece of Santa Fe history and the Santa Fe community bought back to life,” says Martin, who is involved in picking out what comes through the theater, but most of the decision runs through Jon who manages the theater. Jon has ties with the film community in Santa Fe and sets up great finds for everyone, of every taste, to come and enjoy at the theater. “I occasionally chime in from the owner’s box and say I want to see Red Planet.” jokes Martin. “We opened with my favorite science fiction movie and we had Robbie the Robot here.” In case there are a few of you out there who aren’t into theater, they also have book signing and author events from time to time at the theater. There is no excuse if you live in Santa Fe to miss out on this little theater.

When Martin has some down time, he spends it with his wife, Parris, who both offer support to The Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in New Mexico. He also does a lot of reading these days and science fiction & fantasy has been his go-to for literature. It started at a very young age with comic books and has just continued to grow. Nickel paperbacks to full novels, he has never been able to kick his habit. He likes to throw in a good mystery, or historical fiction, every once in a while.

When asked what he would like his legacy to be, he turned to one of his most inspired writers, J. R. R. Tolkien. “I think every writers dreams that his books will last. That’s what I hope of.” says Martin. “I was very flattered a number of years ago when People magazine called me the “American Tolkien” because I’m a huge fan. I read him in high school. He was the man who redefined modern fantasy. Just being mentioned in the same reference as him is a great compliment. And if my books are read 100 years after I wrote them and I can become a candidate of fantasy like Tolkien’s books have, that would be enough legacy for me.” He has a goal for the theater as well. “I hope that the Jean Cocteau here will last. I hope the revived Cocteau last another 22 years where people can watch movies, listen to music and eat our popcorn, which is still the best popcorn in New Mexico, with real butter!”

George R.R. Martin is a multi-talented individual who puts his heart and soul into everything he does, hoping to entertain people along the way. Make sure you check out the Jean Cocteau Theater in Santa Fe and enjoy the hit series Game of Thrones on the big screen or pick up the book. Either way, you will step into a world beyond your wildest imagination.

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