Featuring post-film live music and a Q&A with writer/director star Cheryl Nichols and star Arron Shiver!
After a canceled tour, flailing musician Jesse Lirette seeks out an old flame in a small town in Northern New Mexico. When an arrogant attempt at inserting himself into her family fails, he must confront the mistakes of his past on his own. Cortez begins with self-involved musician Jesse Lirette (Arron Shiver) on a small solo tour with his enabling manager and best friend Eric (Drago Sumonja). Jesse begins to spiral out when his new album tanks and low ticket sales cancel half the tour dates. In an act of self-preservation, he walks away from the tour to seek out a simpler life.
“Cortez is a beautiful film … focuses on the wild, unpredictable nature of the Southwest.” – Ali Shimkus, Slug Magazine
The first stop on his journey is a small, hippy town in New Mexico where he suspects an old girlfriend to be living. Jesse finds Anne (Cheryl Nichols) working in a bar. Though she is reluctant at first and suspicious of his motives, Anne finally gives in and accompanies Jesse on an adventure through the town of Cortez. Jesse is entranced by the wild beauty of the place, colorful locals, and the prospect of starting over. The flame has been rekindled, but Anne is gone by morning. Jesse takes a tip from a townie, and now, accompanied by Eric, stubbornly goes to Anne’s house, convinced she is the answer to whatever ails him. What Jesse doesn’t know is that Anne is hiding a secret that will alter the course of his life. Inspired by southwest dramas of the 1970s, Cheryl Nichols’ evocative debut is a classic, slow- burning, deeply human voyage into the tangled landscape of a fractured American family. (Dir. by Cheryl Nichols, 2017, USA, 99 mins., Not Rated)