Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More success for NM New Visions Winners: Red Mesa

The NM New Visions Contract Award program really seems to be hitting its stride with more and more funded projects winning awards -- and highlighting filmmaking here in New Mexico. The latest is Ilana Lapid with her film, "Red Mesa".

From Ilana:
"I shot "Red Mesa," my USC thesis film, on a cattle ranch in southern NM (near Las Cruces) under the mentorship of Mark Medoff, in collaboration with CMI, with the generous support of Eric Witt, Lisa Strout and the NM Film Office, FTTP and Jon Hendry. As well as with tremendous help from Mike Laurance - who passed away several months after production, and to whom the film is dedicated. We premiered at the NY Latino International Film Festival, and will be playing next at Santa Fe Film Festival..."
She's currently in New Haven, CT where she's currently Artist in Residence at Slifka Center at Yale. She hopes to return to NM to shoot her first feature film after her residency is completed.


Ilana Lapid’s Red Mesa, a fictional drama set on the U.S.–Mexico border, was awarded Best Short Film during the closing night gala for the 2009 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF). The awards ceremony took place at the Paramount Studios lot in Hollywood on October 16.

Red Mesa tells the story of Lynn, who is unable to share her beloved grandfather’s dreams for her future and charts her own path by seeking love beyond familiar borders. Caught in the crossfire of her affection for her grandfather and her secret love with an undocumented worker, Lynn must decide which borders she is willing to cross. Set on a cattle ranch on the U.S.– Mexico Border, Red Mesa is a powerful cinematic exploration of love, loyalty and coming of age through a young woman’s struggle with difficult choices. The film stars veteran actor Tom Bower along with newcomers Jessica Spotts and Gabriel Rivera.

350 short films were submitted to LALIFF this year, of which 37 were selected to screen in the festival. Red Mesa was chosen to receive the Best Short Film award by a jury panel including director Patricia Riggen, visual effect artist Charlie Iturriaga, and actors William Marquez and Jeremy Ray Valdez.

LALIFF is an Oscar® qualifying festival, which means that Red Mesa may now be considered for a Best Live Action Short Film Academy Award.

Ilana Lapid is a 2008 graduate of the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts. Red Mesa was her USC MFA thesis film, shot on 35mm in southern New Mexico with support from an inaugural New Visions/New Mexico Contract Award given by the New Mexico Film Office. To date, Lapid has produced three award-winning USC films and directed 11 short films, for which she was awarded both the Jack Nicholson and the John Huston Directing Awards from USC.

Red Mesa will next screen at the 2009 Santa Fe Film Festival, taking place December 2–6 in New Mexico. The film made its world premiere at the 2009 New York Latino International Film Festival in July. More details on the film can be found at


For more information about Red Mesa or to inquire about
interviews, please contact Lisa Y. Garibay at or 213-840-3517.

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