“Pie Lady of Pie Town” Kathy Knapp and the film director Jane Rosemont premiered their documentary at the 2015 Santa Barbara International Film Festival in February. The film is an inspiring documentary made by two very talented women from Santa Fe, who are on a mission to tell the world about the special rewards of pie making. This month they were in Geneva, Switzerland and New Delhi, India. next month they are on their way to WorldFest-Houston, Arizona Film Festival in Tucson, and the Kansas City FilmFest.


Cherry pie from Kathy Knapp, the subject of a documentary short titled “The Pie Lady of Pie Town” that has been winning national and international film festival awards. (Courtesy of Jane Rosemont)


The film is the story of Kathy Knapp, a Dallas advertising executive driving down New Mexico’s Highway 60 on a family trip in the mid-1990s when she spotted a sign for “Pie Town.” As the story goes, despite its name Pie Town didn’t have any pies for hungry travelers. Pie Town, with a population today of 186, was established in the 1920s along U.S. Highway 60 only 136 miles from Albuquerque. The name Pie Town originally came from a bakery established there in the 1920s by Clyde Norman. Kathy saw sign on the decrepit trading post which read: “There used to be pie, but there ain’t no more. For sale.” As they drove away, disappointed, Knapp’s mother, Mary Mundan, kept repeating: “It should have pie. It’s just not right.”And that’s how Knapp came to buy the old trading post and cafe for her mother to bake pies. Some time after, her mother got sick and had to go back to Chicago. Knapp stepped in to run the cafe and found a whole new life in Pie Town as chief pie maker (with much advice from her mother via phone).

“Pie is something you put together with a few ingredients and a desire to please,” Knapp says, “and when you set it down in front of people and they enjoy it, you’ve given them something. You’ve given them part of yourself.”

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Jane Rosemont & Kathy Knapp “Pie Lady of Pie Town” at the 30th Santa Barbara International Film Festival.


Along came Jane – driving along Highway 60 near Albuquerque filmmaker Jane Rosemont happened to wander into Knapp’s pie shop, Pie-O-Neer, on a road trip in 2006, she was struck by how the place had given life back to the town and what it meant to everybody who lived in this sparsely populated part of the desert. The shop in a minuscule town of 186 inhabitants. Rosemont knew The Pie Lady would be the perfect subject for a short film.

The film tells the story of why Kathy Knapp, a successful businesswoman, decided to leave her charmed life to bake pie in a dumpy old town with no traffic light, no gas station, and no motel in a location filled with real Old West characters? “Pie Lady of Pie Town” shows Kathy’s determination, and strength of character in the face of heartache that becomes healing inspiration, and how pie brings people together as a vehicle for love and peace. Pie is the deal in Pie Town, New Mexico, and the name is for real.

Store front of Pie O Neer in Pie Town

Store front of Pie O Neer in Pie Town

Knapp is described by visitors to her business as a totally authentic gal. She makes everything by hand, uses only the best ingredients and has become a sort of pie guru, inspiring everyone to make and eat pie. I found her to be a bundle of fun at the SBIFF. Kathy and Jane were having so much fun on the red carpet that they had all the photographers in stitches. They are very charismatic, a bit outrageous and clearly are loving what they do. In the film, she sings, plays the violin, dances and says: “I think I’ll probably bake pie until I feel I’ve baked enough pies for one lifetime and I don’t know how long that will take. I’m just now starting to hit my stride.”

Kathy and Jane are a lovable duo who have won hearts, awards and recognition everywhere they have traveled, and the 30th Santa Barbara International Film Festival was no exception. I found them fascinating and I heard people sharing how fantastic Kathy and Jane were to work with and that their ‘pie humor’ and sense of fun had to be the dough holding this pie adventure together. It’s no small wonder they have received so many accolades from major film festival judges. To date they have won a very respectable number of awards for “Pie Lady of Pie Town”. If you love pie, you should head to www.pieladyofpietown.com/ to see if it will be screened in a town near you soon or enjoy a sneak peak trailer.



by Bonnie Carroll