The New Mexico Movie Premier of “Bless Me, Ultima” Opens the Santa Fe Independent Film F

Editor | - August 28, 2012

"The Opening night party will be held at Zia Diner with a special menu based on recipes from 'Bless Me, Ultima' "

The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival is thrilled to announce that it will open its 2012 festival with the New Mexico premiere of "Bless Me, Ultima," the film based on the beloved classic, "the book that was banned, burned, and forbidden."

"Bless Me, Ultima," written by treasured New Mexico author Rudolfo Anay,  will kick off the fourth year of the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival on October 17 at Warehouse 21, heading up a full festival schedule that spans five days in four venues in downtown Santa Fe. Santa Fe IFF runs October 17 to 21 with more than 75 film screenings, filmmaker workshops and after-parties.

The opening night party will be held at Zia Diner with a special menu created by local restaurateur Beth Koch based on recipes from "Bless Me, Ultima." The Awards Ceremony takes place Saturday October 20 at The Lensic Performing Arts Center. This year, Santa Fe IFF inaugurates its New Mexico Tin Pie Plate Awards created by Fred Ray Lopez of to hold their signature Pie Awards homemade by the executive eirector's mom.

Rudolfo Anaya's "Bless Me, Ultima" is a drama set in New Mexico during WWII, centered on the relationship between a young man and an elderly curandera who helps him contend with the battle between good and evil that rages in his village. Many New Mexicans can remember growing up reading this incredible book, and have long awaited the movie. "Bless Me, Ultima" is an award-winning classic, however, it has been controversial and has been banned in school curriculum and public libraries, as recently as this year in Arizona.

Opening the festival with "Bless Me, Ultima" represents Santa Fe IFF's commitment to supporting films made in New Mexico featuring a New Mexican cast and crew. Executive Director Jacques Paisner states, "The mission of Santa Fe IFF is to show that New Mexico is the best place to watch and make films. We are especially excited to present the New Mexico premiere of Bless Me Ultima written here by a beloved New Mexico author and filmed in our state."

Santa Fe IFF is excited that Southwest CARE Center has come on as a contributing partner to bring the timely critically acclaimed film "Call Me Kuchu" to the 2012 fest. David Kato, the first openly gay man in Uganda and his fellow activists work tirelessly to defeat a new bill that threatens to make homosexuality punishable by death, while combating vicious persecution in their daily lives."Racking up awards from the Berlin Film Festival to Toronto's Hot Docs, and closing this year's Human Rights Watch Film Festival at NYC's Film Society of Lincoln Center..."Call Me Kuchu"... is one of those rare docs that manages to enlighten, uplift and enrage in equal doses." Lauren Wissot (Santa Fe IFF Director of Programming, Filmmaker Magazine Contributing Editor) "Call Me Kuchu" will screen at CCA (Center for Contemporary Arts) on Friday, October 19. For info on Santa Fe IFF 2012 festival passes and tickets go to or call 505 349-1414.

The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival was founded four years ago by local filmmakers to bring the best of independent film to Santa Fe and reignite the historic love affair between Santa Fe and film. 2012 marks the fourth year of Santa IFF's all volunteer organization offering a growing festival for independent film, filmmakers and film lovers. Santa Fe IFF is dedicated to the economic development of our city and New Mexico film.

Santa Fe IFF is committed to attracting a growing number of people who make and love films from all over the world to join this year's Fest to enjoy independent films and the unique charm of Santa Fe. The Fourth Annual Santa Fe Independent Film Festival continues its mission of exhibiting the best of independent film to diverse audiences, creating educational opportunities, and building community partnerships.