Val Kilmer has landed a major New Mexico film honor just weeks after he was portrayed as an enemy of the state by angry neighbors in Santa Fe. The actor was forced to make a public apology to officials in New Mexico in June for critical remarks he had made about the state and the people who live there in past interviews.
"The Doors" star accepted an offer from San Miguel County officials to explain himself and attended a commission meeting on June 23, where he attempted to make amends for sleights about New Mexicans, explaining he understood why locals would be upset when they "hear negative things about a place you love". He maintained he was misquoted in Rolling Stone and Esquire magazine articles.
The officials had stalled a decision on whether or not to allow Kilmer to rent out guest houses on his estate near Santa Fe until after he appeared before them. The actor has since been granted permission. And now it seems he's a beloved adopted son of the state - Kilmer has been named the honorary chairman of the upcoming Santa Fe Film Festival in October. A longtime supporter of the film festival, the actor volunteered the use of his Pecos River Ranch in Rowe for a fundraising event on behalf of the SFFF on June 27.
Kilmer says, "The Santa Fe Film Festival is a wonderful event offering the opportunity for everyone in Santa Fe and the surrounding areas to see amazing films from around the world and meet the filmmakers that made those films. And I look forward to helping bring some of the best filmmakers I know and have worked with to enjoy our city and see firsthand, why I love it and have made it my home."
Festival co-director Michael Hare adds, "Val has been a champion of this film festival for years and this announcement only serves to put an official stamp on the unwavering support he has offered to this event and this area."
Kilmer is still at odds with Latinos in Santa Fe - they claim he has chased them off his land and blocked off once-public trails and streams.