A New Home for Experimental Cinema in Santa Fe

A screening celebration at No Title Cinema in Santa Fe in collaboration with Basement Films (courtesy No Title Cinema)

SANTA FE — In the hyper-capitalistic entire world of mainstream filmmaking, there is not much place for experimental or nonlinear narratives, or for prioritizing entry and company higher than exclusivity and gain. But that elusive cinematic place has uncovered a household in midtown Santa Fe thanks to a few relative newcomers to New Mexico’s capital city.

Hailing from Oakland, No Title Cinema co-founders Justin Clifford Rhody and Abigail Smith, who are also partners in marriage, relocated to Santa Fe in 2018 and satisfied collaborator Ben Kujawski, a recent transplant from Los Angeles, before long following. The 3 turned quick close friends, bonding in excess of a shared desire in experimental cinema and subsequently finding a absence of entry to it in the City Distinctive.  

The inside of experimental micro-cinema No Identify Cinema all through a screening (courtesy No Identify Cinema)

“It felt like there was a little something of a gap, a hole. There’s a lot of movie-associated exercise in New Mexico, especially currently, but it is all very marketplace-centric and mainstream,” Rhody explains (Netflix and NBCUniversal have not too long ago proven studios in Albuquerque). “We felt like there was a authentic lack of something experimental, artist films, issues working in the underground.” The seed of an plan was planted before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered cinemas from coast to coastline. In New Mexico, the state public health and fitness order tied reopening to county an infection premiums, retaining some theaters shut for above a 12 months.

But the notion persisted, very first manifesting as remain-dwelling-era Twitch screenings. When No Title Cinema opened its doors in November 2021, Rhody admits the timing wasn’t ideal, with the pandemic’s fourth wave just beginning to ebb. But when they acquired of reasonably priced warehouse room for hire in Santa Fe’s notoriously dear true estate market place, they went for it. Masks are continue to needed in the microcinema’s enclosed space, and Rhody states their patrons appear to be to enjoy that.  

From “Misery Machine” (2018), dir. Ben Kujawski (courtesy the artist)

Even in a metropolis like Santa Fe with worldwide art position, believing that an experimental micro-cinema could debut and thrive in the course of an ongoing pandemic calls for a defiant sort of optimism. Rhody’s anticipations had been far more very low-essential. “We required to begin it since we wished it to exist. When we commenced out, we literally said out loud, ‘If two individuals show up, that would be brilliant,’” Rhody recollects. 

From an anti-company, donation-dependent ticketing product to transgressive programming and a aim of creating a participatory arts group, No Identify Cinema defies mainstream policies and norms at every turn. But, with just about every rule collectively discarded by its co-founders, the response from a broad-ranging group of local movie enthusiasts has been to present up — even when that signifies standing up. 

From “Move Outs” (2020), dir. Justin Clifford Rhody (courtesy the artist)

“We can seat 40 people and there have been a number of activities and screenings where it’s standing space only, and persons select to stand all through,” claimed Rhody. “At the smallest screening, there was a turnout of 15 men and women, which is continue to fantastic and way above our initial expectations. It has been a broad, varied team — there are teens and individuals in their late-eighties, and they are all inquiring thoughts during the Q&A.”

No Title Cinema’s achievements is all the a lot more remarkable due to the fact everybody involved functions a working day job. Rhody manages the cinema at Santa Fe’s Center for Present-day Arts, while Smith, a collage artist, is an archivist and info science professional by working day at the New Mexico Museum of Artwork. Kujawski works as a author and filmmaker. When it will come to running the cinema, all people will make popcorn, promotions with tech, distributes flyers, and is effective the door. The enterprise is not producing anybody wealthy and its co-founders have had to complement money raised by donation. 

A Fulcrum Fund grant has presented the collective with some money protection for potential slowed participation. Rhody posted facts on allocating that funding through the cinema’s Instagram account. The cinema’s on-line and ephemeral aesthetic was also made by Rhody, whose practical experience arranging and selling Do-it-yourself experimental and punk shows organized him for the obstacle of thoughtfully curating months’ worthy of of weekly activities. 

Abigail Smith, untitled (2020), collage, 8 1/2 x 11 inches, exhibited at No Identify Cinema January through March of 2022 (courtesy the artist)

Having said that, Rhody reveals that the primary carryover from his Diy earlier is deeper and additional intrinsic. “The interest that I had in punk music—it was not a selected drumbeat. What I identified inspiring and what carries on, what translates and suggests so substantially, was that it wasn’t exactly about the audio or trend. It was that punk tradition was participatory culture.”  

After a jam-packed period where No Name hosted at least just one function each and every 7 days, the cinema’s 2022 summer program is additional relaxed but programming is in place through August. In addition to screenings, No Name Cinema strives to present additional value to occasions with exhibitions — like the Irving and Paula Klaw erotic pin-up prints on view through June 12 — as very well as zines, opening shorts and, when achievable, in-individual filmmaker Q&A classes. 

The latest and approaching situations contain a minimal-spending budget UFO documentary marathon offered on VHS an expanded cinema performance function with Wind Tide a system of shorts curated by Nicole Peterson to symbolize the feminine-figuring out physique expertise and a repertory screening of LA Rise up icon Billy Woodberry’s “Bless Their Minor Hearts” alongside contextually related shorts.

Paula and Irving Klaw, vintage print from the “bizarre fetish underground” photograph archive, 4 x 5 inches, exhibited at No Identify Cinema, March 12 – June 12, 2022 (courtesy No Title Cinema)

No Identify Cinema also hopes to inspire regional filmmaking by reissuing its open up simply call submission screenings two times for each yr and continuing to perform on building a paid cinema operations internship with Santa Fe Neighborhood University. 

For Rhody, the objective of fostering engagement in the arts looks as significant as his curatorial eyesight. He hopes to stimulate men and women to dismiss arbitrary, field-pushed notions of who can be a filmmaker and to encourage them to build, declaring “There are people today working in a manufacturing unit correct now who are just as likely [as industry veterans] to make exciting perform and have interesting tips.”