By: Joanthan Baca, Senior Reporter
Small business owner Michael Palombo said he is on a mission to make the world a better place one cup of locally roasted coffee at a time.
Fans of Film Café, located at 504 Yale SE, aims to bring together people who enjoy art, film, music, and good food with a new concept; the micro-cinema café, he said. Just a few minute’s walk from Main campus, Palombo said he hopes his coffee shop will bring good food to a neighborhood sorely in need of a community hang out.
“I’ve been in this building for three years, and I had wanted to try this idea of a micro-cinema café. I would like to bring better food closer to CNM, because there isn’t a lot of that around here,” said Palombo.
Palombo said he is committed to keeping things local, serving locally roasted coffee, and organic burritos and pastries delivered daily from Santa Fe’s Chocolate Maven Café and Bakery. While the food and coffee will be top notch, Palombo said the main focus of the café is in the name.
“The focus is definitely on film. We’ll have regular screenings here, and eventually we’ll be streaming old movies on the projector all day long,” he said.
He said he plans to have a monthly screening, focusing on small, independent and local films. Along with the screening will be an art show, premiering a new featured artist whose work will be on display all month.
“You’re not just coming here to see a film. You’re going to get to see some art, hear some music, and have a great time. It pulls two crowds and two different art forms together,” he said.
Fans of Film works closely with local artists’ co-op Cosmic Trading Post, said Palombo.
Their first art show, organized by Priscilla Garcia, is a collection of paintings, drawings, and photographs donated by artists from the local community and as far away as Massachusetts, said Garcia. The show was organized to benefit Chance Catz, cofounder of Cosmic Trading Post and owner of local music festival Three Sided Hole, who is battling cancer, she said.
“The art has come from all over the community. Mike has been a part of Cosmic Trading Post, and now he is giving back,” said Garcia.
Palombo’s roots in the local film scene go deep. Before its current incarnation as a café, Fans of Film provided resources and support to local productions and aspiring filmmakers, as well as offering a community for creative minds to meet, mingle and make connections, said Palombo. He said he has worked with many graduates from CNM’s film program.
“CNM has a great film program, and I’ve seen a lot of students come through there and go on to do great things in the industry,” he said.
Fans of Film is currently the subject of a documentary being shot by former student Chandra Brown. Brown said she had worked with Palombo on another film, and she felt her favorite coffee shop would be the perfect subject for her first documentary.
“I was thinking about the most interesting people I knew, and I thought about Michael, because he is a Renaissance man. I think it is important to celebrate your community, and I think this sort of thing is what makes a community strong,” said Brown.
Music is also on the menu at Fans of Film, said Palombo. CNM students Jemie Alderman and Gwen Maitreya, members of the belly dancing troupe Cecile Amore, performed at the art show, and are planning a show in December to benefit Toys for Tots.
“We love it here. It’s very cozy and intimate, and it’s just a great place to hang out. We’re really happy there is a place like this now so close to CNM,” said Alderman.