Published on May 31st, 2013 | by Natural Awakenings Staff


First Annual Film Festival Experience

This month marks the first annual Albuquerque Film & Media Experience (AFME). Festival Coordinator, Lainie Sevante Quirk, took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to share some thoughts on the event.

NA: The Albuquerque Film & Media Experience is finally here. Has the original vision of the Festival changed from when it was conceived a year and a half ago?

LSQ: It’s been a really quick year and a half. There’s been so much planning involved in AFME. We knew we were creating an event that was going to involve many people coming together in all facets of life – The mayor and city/county governments, the local businesses and neighborhood communities, the media and New Mexicans who live throughout the state. We really felt and still feel our concept has the strength to make a significant impact to the city of Albuquerque, to the film industry and to all those who want to see Albuquerque put on the map from a national and International perspective as a leading city for the burgeoning film industry.

Our original vision of creating oneness through the power of film and the arts hasn’t changed. If anything, the planning has anchored the platform even stronger with the unfoldment of the films being screened, the actors and filmmakers showing up to be on panels and intimate conversations, and the generous time and energy of celebrities such as Mr. and Mrs. Redford and Robert Lynch.

NA:  What have you learned most about the process of creating a citywide community event?

LSQ: We’ve learned how important co-creation and collaboration is. Creating a large scale event that has the potential to shift the entire paradigm as we know it is something that takes a dedicated involvement and participation from just about everyone—sponsors, local businesses, city council, the county, the city, the state, and many neighborhood association and the media. It requires a multitude of volunteers who are dedicated to the success of the event.

NA:  So, now that the first Festival is underway, what’s next for AFME?

LSQ:  Well, that’s probably why we’re so tired. As we launch 2013, we’re also gearing up for 2014 and 2015. Our intention each year is to feature a spotlighted country. As we highlighted The U.K. and Israel this year, next year we are featuring the countries of Asia, such as India and Nepal. We’ll see a lot of influence in Bollywood Culture, films representing Tibet and other areas of Asia. As it turns out, we did have a few very strong films this year from this region, such as Road to Peace featuring HH Dalai Lama and Pad Yatra, which focuses on a group of women who trek hundreds of miles through the Himalayas picking up trash. In 2015, we plan to honor the countries of South and Central America along with Mexico. We plan to reflect as many Spanish speaking countries as possible. It should make for some very interesting storytelling on the big screen.

NA:  Anything else you’d like to share with the Natural Awakening’s audience?

LSQ:  Yes. We’d love to share your story. Come tell it, share it, and learn about others at AFME, June 3-9. Whether you are curious to know what it takes to make a film, are an avid moviegoer and want to hop from one movie to another, or are interested in the live events such as Taste of Film (where we’ll feature seven courses of gourmet themed food to pair with seven movies from our lineup), there’s plenty to come and experience. We’ll look forward to having people here from all parts of New Mexico.
Listings of films and schedules, along with tickets and passes for all events, can be found at


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