Film Festival features author John Nichols

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Author John Nichols will be the honored guest at the second annual New Mexico Film Festival. The festival is scheduled for, Feb. 8, on the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus in Academics 101. It will start at 9 a.m.

The focus of the festival is on film and New Mexico. Screenings for this year’s festival include films shot in New Mexico. The festival starts with “Milagro Beanfield War,” directed by Robert Redford, which is based on the novel of the same name by Nichols.

That will be followed by “The Milagro Man,” directed by Kurt Jacobsen, is about the life of author/screenwriter Nichols, who now resides in Taos.

Nichols will be one of several panelists who will discuss film and New Mexico. Other panelists include Steven Gould, author; Ann Lerner, director and the Albuquerque City Film Office representative for the New Mexico State Film Office; Jay Torrez, stuntman, actor and Screen Actors Guild member from Tomé; Brandy Mantano, camera operator on the television show “Breaking Bad” and major films, who is from Albuquerque; Dr. Richard Melzer, UNM-Valencia history professor and author; Levi Romero, New Mexico Centennial poet; David Lindblom, film maker; Deryle Perryman, filmmaker; Bill Nevins, UNM-Valencia English faculty; Bryan Konefsky, UNM faculty and filmmaker; Jonathan Sims, UNM-Valencia Digital Media Arts faculty and film maker; and Keith Sanchez, Belen-born rock musician and recording artist.

Nichols, and other authors, will be available for a book signing in the early afternoon of the festival.

The book signing will be followed by screenings of “Easy Rider,” the classic road movie shot mostly in New Mexico and directed by Dennis Hopper, and “Road Kings,” an updated 21st century tribute version of “Easy Rider.”

Various short films are also scheduled to be screened in Academics 133 during the festival. Films include “Good Luck Mr. Gorski,” “Too Much Coffee Man,” “Poetry of Atrisco” and “Best of Breaking Bad.”

Three filmmakers will be on hand to participate in Q-and-A sessions after their films are screened. They include Jonathan Sims, whose short documentary is still untitled; poet Levi Romero, whose short film is untitled; and Brian Konefsky, who will screen a few short films.

Excerpts from films are also on the schedule. They include “Committing Poetry in Times of War,” “Dangerous Highway” and “Jumper.”

Excerpts from “Jumper” will be followed by a question-and-answer session with New Mexico author Steven Gould. His book was the basis for the science fiction feature.

The festival is free and open to the public and is sponsored in part by the Albuquerque Film Office. For more information about the festival and a complete schedule, call (505) 925-8600.