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El Corazon de Santa Fe

Silver Horn Entertainment Documentary Wins Bronze Palm Award at Mexico Int'l Film Fest June 15, 2010

Over 100 actors participated in the recreation of the journey on the El Camino Real.

This is a very special honor for us because Santa Fe is my hometown and the documentary is my personal way of honoring Santa Fe on her 400th birthday, being celebrated this year. The following information is from the press release to announce the award:

"El Corazon de Santa Fe, directed by Tony Martinez of Silver Horn Entertainment, has been chosen as a recipient of the Bronze Palm Award at the 2010 Mexico International Film Festival. 
No more than 20 films in each competition category were chosen to be recognized with this esteemed honor. In conferring the honor, Festival Director Joe Coury stated that El Corazon demonstrated excellent and outstanding filmmaking, deserving of special recognition. Fest judges rated El Corazon as among the very best submitted from over several dozen countries around the world.

In the context of Santa Fe's 400th anniversary, the film explores the city's fascinating treasures of art, history, faith, lore, and legend. From the ancient pre-history of native peoples to the famed courtesan
Dona Tules in the 1800s, Santa Fe has been home to icons and characters of every kind and description. Through interviews with famous historians and outspoken critics, with archival materials and
historic reenactments, the film explores the drama that has unfolded on the Royal City' stage since time immemorial. From the depths of the Basilica's catacombs to secret sects in remote mountain villages,
never-before-seen footage takes the viewer across space and through time to reveal the sacred collective memory of Santa Fe."

We began production of the documentary in June 2008 and wrapped in May 2009.  The program has over 60 original interviews and focuses on how faith played such an important role in the city's founding and history. 

Joey Curry from The Creative Spin developed the graphics and outstanding special effects with the still images. Barry Kirk of Southwest Productions in Albuquerque, Arnold Payne and Kevin Spivey provided some inspiring cinematography, and the Cathedral choirs recorded authentic original music for the film. El Rancho de las Golondrinas was the site for much of the historical re-creation that helped provide the visual texture that we are coming to expect from documentary film. 

It is amazing to me how religion is such a controversial topic. At the premiere in Santa Fe in July 2009, one viewer told me she liked the doc but was disappointed that it had so much religious content. I replied that the film was funded by the Santa Fe Community Foundation and the Cathedral Basilica in Santa Fe. Its hard to imagine that a program even partially funded by the Catholic Church would not contain religious content.  It certainly pays to know how programs get funding — because whether its whales in Japan, faith in New Mexico or childhood obesity in America, programs are funded by groups promoting an agenda.  If you think documentaries are purely journalistic efforts then every one of them would be produced by either wealthy individuals pursuing a passion or produced for free with the editorial team working for free. Yea right.

I tried to write an objective piece using faith as a cornerstone and presenting both sides of the role the Church played in the establishment of Santa Fe ... but it’s later in the film when the content focuses on the Church today that turns some people off. The abuses are minimized and those influenced by the church in a positive way are highlighted. This is not an admission of failure — just a reflection of my idea of creating a piece that celebrates Santa Fe's success stories rather than her mistakes. As historian Marc Simmons told me, "you learn a lot more from history by studying what worked rather than what went wrong."  But I'm sure that is an opinion that could generate strong opinions on both sides. 

One of the concepts we followed was to create a piece for the target audience, the generations of families that established Santa Fe, rather than appealing to a broader nationwide audience. I'm not sure I made the right decision because the film has not been successful at some of the mainstream festivals.  Most people don't care for the good news, that's not nearly as appealing as exposing the flaws and problems. But I just felt that the people who were really going to care about the film are the people from Santa Fe and New Mexico. I'd love your feedback on the film and your opinions about this important editorial decision all documentary filmmakers face. It is for sale at the Cathedral and in several stores in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

You can view the documentary here.