An interactive and unique experience in and around Route 66
At Hip and Trippy, we are not particularly star obsessed or deluded by big business, nor do we pretend to be more than lovers and promoters of local-art culture (okay, maybe some international as well). I am happy to report that Ivan Wiener and Lainie Sevante, the founders of the inaugural Albuquerque Film and Media Experience (AFME), also share in these qualities.
For those unfamiliar, AFME is a six-day long film and media event that begins June 3rd. The event aims to unite “filmmakers, storytellers, artists, [and] visionaries… through educational workshops, lectures, screenings and events.” Wiener and Sevante explain that the event was conceived to create growth, opportunity and economic development for local filmmakers and artists. Furthermore, they hope it will help “take care of future generations” by culturing a lasting community in New Mexico. Perhaps these are bold ideas and aims, but the event has gained much credibility and support from a myriad of local businesses, the Nob Hill Main Street association and the city. “Yes, it’s a really big sponsor list,” Wiener said, “and that shows the involvement. You know, one comment we’ve heard from everyone has been, ‘Albuquerque needs us.’ ” Sevante added that the city has been very instrumental, especially Ann Lerner, Director of the Albuquerque Film Office.
When asked if it was difficult balancing local and big-budget films during the event’s conception, especially in obtaining funding, they agreed that it was an easy process. They explained that they felt honored “having locals involved in every aspect” and that they believed that the event was already a huge success from a community perspective. They were also quite excited to be showcasing what they claimed to be “incredible local films” and fantastic local industry discussions. Blaze You Out, a New-Mexican-made film, recently picked up by Lions Gate, was the first movie out of their lips. Made in New Mexico, a documentary that explores the political, economic and educational opportunities of the local-film industry was also a favorite. Other local highlights include an intimate conversation with Santa Fe local, Wes Studi, and discussions with casting veteran Jo Edna Boldin and actor and Albuquerque native Chad Brummett. There will also be a selection of films from the Albuquerque 48 Hour Film Festival. So don’t fear, there is plenty of local fare to be had. Wiener did however admit with a laugh, “We do have some big films too.”
The event plans to be a multi-faceted: There is Taste of Film, a seven course meal where each dish is thematically paired with a short film, a discussion with Robert Redford, and a plethora of film screenings that range from the Roswell ‘Cover up’ to a celluloid encounter with the Dali Lama. For you filmmaking types there are interesting discussion panels like Comic Books in Film, Television & Gaming, Visual Effects, Financing Your Film & Distribution and even Make-Up. You have various options for attending the AFME: event passes, partial passes and reasonable tickets to individual screenings and discussions. There is also a 20% discount being offered on passes to students (they didn’t forget about you). This proves to be one of the most interesting events of the summer and year.
Editorial: Wiener and Sevante are focused on the creative networking and community that will hopefully come from this event. As a writer, filmmaker and enthusiast of all things filmic, I look forward to exploring everything the AFME has to offer — and more importantly — I can offer. It is my belief that infrastructure can only survive within a community that holds itself up; it’s a basic framework that requires a foundation beyond that of mere tax incentives. I hope that these events continue to grow and multiply. I believe New Mexicans can make a unique mark on film history via cultural capitol. Let’s support one another.
Speaking of community: thank you to our readers for your continued support and the UNM DCA for honoring and surprising me recently with the Gus Blaisdell Memorial Prize in Critical and Creative Writing. And of course a special thank you to Ivan Wiener and Lainie Sevante for sitting down with me.