Santa Fe

Director: Andrew Shea
Screenwriters: Mark Medoff, Andrew Shea

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


Religious cults, New Age lifestyles, and state politics are just a few of the topics du jour Santa Fe reckons with in this deft dramatic comedy. Topically set in the breathtaking Southwest, the film is a wondrous combination of poignancy, truth, and original storytelling.

Paul (Gary Cole) returns to Santa Fe, anxious to reunite with his wife Lea (Sheila Kelley) and daughter Crystal (Tina Majorino) after spending eight months recovering from a traumatic ordeal as an undercover police officer and practically the only survivor of the Culpepper cult in Wyoming. To his dismay, Lea has begun a relationship with Dan, a New Age acupuncturist healer. To make matters worse, both Lea and Crystal have begun subscribing to the local self-help guru, Eleanor Braddock, played perfectly by Lolita Davidovich. Paul is forced to live with his sister, a political advocate involved in a heated election with the mayor, recently transplanted from L.A. Understandably, Paul is extremely weary of cults and gurus and tries to make his family steer clear of Eleanor. But when Crystal convinces him to begin socializing by placing a singles ad, Eleanor turns out to be his mystery date.

Sometimes serious, other times madcap, Santa Fe skillfully plays with a variety of styles and genres. Andrew Shea’s and Mark Medoff’s screenplay and Shea’s direction shine in this truly entertaining film that continuously challenges its audience with images of obsessive-compulsive behavior and destructive patterns in today’s world. Wonderfully cast and expertly photographed, this unconventional film is an enriching and exciting experience.

— Lisa Viola

Screening Details

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