Top three movies from the Santa Fe Film Festival

After screening over 100 films across three venues, the annual Santa Fe Film Festival wrapped up last weekend. Since I volunteered at the festival, I was able to watch a random selection of eight of them. Here are my top three.

No. 3: ‘My Dead Dad’ (2021)

This movie checks all the boxes for the stereotypical independent movie. Road trip, edgy young adults, an apartment building full of quirky characters and an estranged, dead parent, obviously.

Still, there is often a reason that tropes are tropes, and My Dead Dad gives indie films a good name.

The plot follows Lucas, who inherits the position of landlord from his recently deceased father, someone he’s heard nothing from in over a decade. However, what Lucas thought would be a quick way to make some cash turns into the final straw of emotional burden that ends up causing self-discovery.

When eavesdropping on others in order to get a bit more diversity for my reviews, it did seem like I enjoyed this a bit more than others in the theater.

It was written by Pedro Correa and Fabio Frey. The former stars in it while the latter directs. It’s available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

No. 2: ‘Delicate State’ (2021)

At the Santa Fe Film Festival, the only two things said about this film was that it was shot in Los Angeles over the course of the actual pregnancy of Paula Rhodes, the star and director. Also, all but one scene was unscripted. The double entendre title was also explained to those in the audience, that the family and country are both in a “delicate state.”

I highly recommend only knowing the aforementioned when you go to watch it. But if you want to catch your lower jaw before it hits the floor, the first third or so of the movie feels like a documentary in which Charlie and Paula, the expecting parents, chronicle their daily life to make a movie for their child. As the United States’ political climate heats up to the brink of civil war, Charlie and Paula wonder if they will be able to provide a safe childhood for their unborn son.

The way the film made me aware of how sheltered I am made it easily one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen.

It’s available to watch on Prime Video, VUDU, YouTube and Apple TV.

No 1: ‘The Big Bend’ (2021)

This film follows two families, made up of close college friends turned into closed-off parents, vacationing together in rural Texas, shot on location.

Even though I have never experienced much of what the characters go through, a combination of talented actors and awesome cinematography made The Big Bend feel really intimate. I became invested in not wanting the characters to hurt more.

In a talk-back after the movie, writer and director Brett Wagner said he based the emotional high stakes on “what [he’s] actually afraid of.” And it absolutely works.

Outside of its brilliance, it is also wildly creative, even though it plays the “oh no, there’s an escaped convict on the loose” card.

Unfortunately, when searching for where others can watch this masterpiece, I was able to find nothing except a documentary of the same name.

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Top three movies from the Santa Fe Film Festival