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AFME fest June 1-8:Films, music, parties, panel discussions, and much more!

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PART 1: June 1 - 4

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There is a wonderful bounty of films, music, and unique events at this year's Albuquerque Film & Media Experience. This article will just give you a taste of the first four days and a second article to be published June 3 will cover June 5-8. Check out the AFME website for details on the whole shebang. Here is a link about info for tickets (which range from single event tickets, to day passes, to an all-access pass).

On June 1 at the KiMo from 2-6 pm, you can meet the Alumni of the Buddy Rich Alumni Tribute Band, listen to a panel discussion, then hear them perform a concert at 4 pm. Jazz is alive and well in Albuquerque, and this band, under the direction of Bobby Shew and featuring former Journey drummer Steve Smith, will get the party going.

On June 2, from 5:30-8:30 pm at The Simms Building, there is the Reel 2 Table Benefit Dinner. Tickets are pricey at $125 but this is a fundraiser for the New Mexico AIDS Services and the AFME Foundation. Top chefs of New Mexico will be creating dishes from appetizers and five different courses to desserts and specialty drinks, all based on themes from several of the films being screened. For instance, Israeli salad, falafel and tzatziki served on a bed of quinoa is paired with "Brave Miss World," an Israeli documentary.

"Sold," the Opening Night Film, is screening at the KiMo on June 3 at 7:00 pm and there's a Q& A afterwards with the film's producers. Also screening on June 3 are the New Mexico Shorts Program (KiMo from 4 -6 pm) and "Stop Traffick" (a short screening with "Sold"). Meanwhile, at the AFME Lounge at Tech Love, Lisa Kristine's photo exhibit opens at 5 pm that day. This award-winning photographer, who just received the 2013 Lucie Humanitarian Award, inspired one of the characters in "Sold" (played by Gillian Anderson).

"Sold," in fact, is one of several films featuring stories from India that are screening at the AFME. Irish films are screening beginning June 4 with three videos (mentioned below) and a Jewish series begins June 7.

Meanwhile, on June 4 at The Guild from 2-4 pm, catch a documentary and a short. "Triple Divide," narrated by Mark Ruffalo, looks at the fracking controversy from all sides. "Awakening in Taos" is a short film about a woman and her life and marriage to a Tiwa Indian from Taos Pueblo beginning during times before women in America were even "emancipated."

June 4 also is the first day of films on horses screening from 2-4 pm at the KiMo, including "Roaming Wild" about the federal government's wild horse roundup. From 5-7 pm, you can watch at the KiMo "Passionate Politics" about human rights activist Charlotte Bunch and then listen to her in the special speaking event arranged after the film.

A series of movies filmed in New Mexico opens June 4 with "Drunktown's Finest," Sydney Freeland’s feature film debut. This film, screening at 8:00 pm at the KiMo, is Freeland's response to a news story that labeled Gallup - her hometown - as "Drunktown, USA" and is told through the eyes of three unique characters. This film is paired with the world premiere of "A Man Named Paul," a narrative short created by Joshua Perez, a recent grad of UNM. Perez based this story on his brother's life, which was down and out until he had help from an "unexpected traveler."

June 4 is a great night for music beginning at 6:00 pm at The Guild when three films in the Irish series are presented, two of which focus on musicians. "Unforgettable Fire *the story of a U2 Tribute Band" is a documentary about one of the longest running U2 tribute bands. "Foy Vance-Recording Nothing," is a short about Foy Vance writing and recording his album. "Becoming Men" is a short that contrasts the life of daredevil young boys with memories of an older man as he recalls his canal diving days. Also screening at the Guild this night is a locally-produced music video - "Puget Sound, WA," created by the Albuquerque band Great States (who are performing later at the after party noted below).

Finally, on June 4, Vivian Nesbitt puts on "The Bark & The Tree," a one-woman play based on Nesbitt's journey to learn the truth about her great-great grandmother, Irish poet Eva O'Doherty. This is a comedy about identity and roots, and Nesbitt's discoveries surprise herself. This play is performed at the Aux Dog Theater from 8-9 pm.

Don't forget the after parties. Monday, June 2 from 9:00 pm to midnight it is at Laru Ni Hati with music by Kady Bow. Tuesday, June 3 go to Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro Cellar Lounge and listen to the music of Marty York. Wednesday, June 4, the party is at the Apothecary Rooftop Lounge at the Hotel Parque Central and listen to the music of Great States after you have (presumably) seen their music video at the Guild.

Choices are many at the AFME and this is just a hint at the variety and breadth of the offerings from June 1-4. A follow-up article will cover the presentations June 5-8. Check out the AFME event calendar for more information.

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