Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

‘Thirteen,’ ‘Twilight’ director Catherine Hardwicke to receive SFiFF Visionary Award

Director Catherine Hardwicke will be honored at the Santa Fe International Film Festival with the Visionary Award. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Decades into her film career, Catherine Hardwicke is still experiencing milestones.

The legendary director recently completed three projects in one year – two features and directing an TV episode.

“It’s all good, creative stuff,” Hardwicke says. “I’ve worked hard, but I’ve also been very fortunate to keep creating after all these years.”

Hardwicke is best known as the director of “Twilight,” which launched the worldwide blockbuster franchise, “The Twilight Saga.” Her directorial debut was the critically-acclaimed, “Thirteen,” which won the 2003 Director’s Award at the Sundance Film Festival, two Golden Globe nominations, an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and an Independent Spirit Award.

She’s also been at the helm of “Red Riding Hood,” “Miss Bala,” “Lords of Dogtown” and her newest film, “Prisoner’s Daughter.”

The Santa Fe International Film Festival is awarding its Visionary Award to Hardwicke on Sunday, Oct. 23, at the Jean Cocteau Cinema. Santa Fe resident Wes Studi will present the award. SFiFF kicks off on Wednesday, Oct. 19 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 23

“It’s so exciting to be honored,” Hardwicke says. “I love Santa Fe and I’ve been crazy about New Mexico. I’m working on projects that are supposed to film in New Mexico. It’s called ‘Land of Enchantment’ and I’ve sold it to Netflix. We’re waiting on the green light to begin production.”

Hardwicke is looking forward to spending some time in Santa Fe for the festival.

“I get to slow down a little,” she says. “I was at the Toronto Film Festival and it was more of a fly by. I showed up for a few hours and had to be back on set. This time, I’ll get to take in the environment.”

Hardwicke is also participating in an actors workshop from 2:30-4 pm Saturday, Oct. 22, at Santa Fe Playhouse.

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“There are three local painters that I’ve written short scripts based on,” she says. “These scripts will be performed by local actors who will have the chance to be directed by me. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to direct new actors.”

Over the course of her time in the film industry, Hardwicke has worked her way up through the ranks.

While she loves directing, she knows that there are many facets in getting a project completed.

“I was shooting in Rome and it was work the whole time,” she says with a laugh. “I wish I would have gotten to see the sites. But I’d go back to the hotel and do my shot list and do the budget. I figure out how I can shoot in the most creative way. My goal is to always get more time with the actors so they can really get into the roles.”

Hardwicke says her time as a production designer has also made her job as a director easier.

“My love for film has only grown,” she says. “I love it when I can see beautiful films and I feel like I’m there. I can suspend my disbelief.”

Hardwicke also knows that there are plenty of red lights and “no’s” in life.

When she was directing “Thirteen,” her dilemma was making a film that was rated R because of its heavy subject, but also making it for teenage girls.

“Every studio said no to me,” she says. “I’m always told that I can’t have another day of shooting or a certain actor. You’re always trading. There are times I will use less extras for the day to get a piece that completes my vision.”

Filmmaking can also be dangerous. With her 2019 film, “Miss Bala,” the production filmed in Tijuana, Mexico.

“This was very real,” she says. “We did have cartel incidents where they wanted to shut us down. We filmed as quickly and quietly as we could. It’s an interesting, yet fruitful, industry to be in.”

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