Film critic Andrew Sarris October 31, 1928 – June 20, 2012
Sarris was primarily responsible for the auteur theory of film criticism, which in a nutshell said great directors and their visions make for great movies. I think that’s especially applicable to NM. If we are to develop a long term, sustainable business model it needs to be not only below the line (BTL) crew (I will modestly say we have the best BTL crews of any state between the coasts) but it also must be above the line (ATL). Great producers, writers, actors, and directors attract projects. Where would New Zealand be without Peter Jackson? Australia without Peter Weir or Baz Luhrmann? New York without Scorsese? Closer to home, Austin would be a minor threat without Rodriquez or Linklater. We’ve really started to move in that direction. If you watch our continuing TV series you will see many more NM actors, though I think we can do a much better job of advancing their cause. We have gone from one or maybe two front line producers to a competitive field of highly qualified producers and production managers, even Oscar winning executive producers such as Tony Mark and Robert Redford. In writers we have our “deans” such as Kirk Ellis and Mark Medoff along with a strong up and coming band nipping at their heels including Carl Lucas in Roswell.
It’s the directors who will bring their vision and eventually the work here. We are truly fortunate to have a national icon right here at Santa Fe University of Art & Design in Chris Eyre. If you think that is too much hyperbole go back and watch the body of his work including “Smoke Signals.” Chris will be creating noise about NM filmmakers, hopefully for years to come. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a heartfelt and sincere thank you to Alicia Keys and Peter Touche for their faith in NM and NM ATL crew in particular. Their work with Mateo Pumphrey & Diego Joaquin Lopez on “Blaze You Out” and Rajeev Nirmalakhandan on “The Odd Way Home” takes courage, especially when it’s your own money involved. When we look back on the history of the NM film business the two of them will hold a prominent place. Mark my words: we will find and promote great directors together. And to Larry, before you even go there – they shoot union when they can.