The Pumpkin King, a couple of weary Thanksgiving travelers and one of the world’s most beloved groups of animated toys join the big-screen fun in this year’s Texas Gas Service FREE Holiday Movies at the Plaza Theatre, part of the City of El Paso’s fourth annual WinterFest.
Texas Gas Service is sponsoring the free movies (no tickets required) in partnership with the El Paso Community Foundation, the Plaza Classic Film Festival and El Paso Live. WinterFest is presented by The Hospitals of Providence and Providence Children’s Hospitals. This year’s series — the ninth overall presented by the Plaza Classic Film Festival — features eight movies, which will be shown over five Sundays from November 24 to Dec. 29.
Remember, they’re FREE. No tickets required. Seating is first-come, first-served.
It opens with Tim Burton’s animated musical The Nightmare Before Christmas, about the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town gives Christmas a try. It will show at 3:30 p.m. November 24, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, in the Plaza Theatre.
It will be followed at 7 p.m. that day by John Hughes’ comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles, about two very different holiday travelers (John Candy and Steve Martin) who go to great lengths to get home for Thanksgiving. Parental note: It is rated R for profane language, most of which is in one scene.
The series continues at 1 p.m. with Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and Robert Zemeckis’ computer-animated favorite The Polar Express at 3:30 p.m.
Will Farrell stars as the adorable, human Elf at 1 p.m., followed by that Red Ryder-loving Ralphie in A Christmas Story at 3:30 p.m.
The movies continue at 3:30 p.m. with the most beloved Christmas movie of all time, Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life.
The free movie series concludes at 1 p.m. with the Disney Pixar favorite Toy Story, about the lovable toys that come to life when their owner is away.
In true Plaza Classic style, organists Ken Fedorick, Richard Garven and Laurie Koval will perform on the Plaza Theatre’s original, restored Wyler Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ before each movie.
WinterFest, which includes El Paso Live’s WinterFest Ice Skating Rink in Arts Festival Plaza, runs November 23 through January 5. The rink opens for skating at noon November 23 and will remain open daily through January 5. Go to epwinterfest.com for details.
The Plaza Classic Film Festival returns July 30-August 9. Discounted Festival Passes will be on sale November 29-December 31 at plazaclassic.com/tickets.
The Plaza Classic Film Festival has added a second FREE show of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at 9 p.m. Saturday, August 10 on Oregon Street, between San Jacinto Plaza and the Mills Building.
It was shown at its regularly scheduled time on August 3, the day of the tragic massacre at the Walmart on the city’s east side, but we have had numerous requests for it since.
This is our 11th straight year showing Rocky outside, but the first time we will show it a second time in one PCFF.
Come downtown if you are ready, let your hair down, and may the rice and toast fly at cinema’s first truly interactive — and now cathartic — camp musical.
Jaimielynn Amato, the Songbird of El Paso, will open with a set of original music at 7:30 p.m.
We apologize to those who were planning to attend our outdoor screening of Dirty Dancing, and will attempt to show it next year. Thank you for your understanding.
To give to the victims and their families, go to epcf.org/victims.
The El Paso Community Foundation is waiving all credit card and administrative fees.
We are working with El Paso County and the City of El Paso.
The El Paso Community Foundation and Plaza Classic Film Festival are saddened and shocked by the tragic events that occurred today in our beloved city of El Paso.
Please keep the victims your thoughts and prayers.
It is important to keep everyone safe. It is important that we start to heal. We are not going to let this destroy our ability to come together as a community.
Most of the Plaza Classic Film Festival events will go on as scheduled. We are working with Destination El Paso, El Paso Live and other partners to present a communal and safe experience for our patrons.
If would like to help the victims and their families, the El Paso Community Foundation has created the El Paso Shooting Victims’ Fund at epcf.org/victims. 100 percent of donations will go to assist those families. EPCF is waiving all fees, including credit card fees.
A diverse mix of horror, comedy, drama and experimental short films make up this year’s Local Flavor showcase at the 12th annual El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival. A total of 13 projects were selected from a field of 36 locally connected submissions. Local Flavor is the area’s largest local film showcase.
“One thing became apparent in this year’s Local Flavor submissions – the borderland is evolving in its cinematic dialogue – technically and artistically,” co-curator Zach Passero said. “There is a breadth and growth shown in this years’ pool of shorts. It is something that one hopes to see in a flourishing film community - a variety of stories, genres, voices, and perspectives; each with a unique tilt that feels of this region.”
“This year’s submissions to the Plaza Classic shorts program have been absolutely stellar. There is a much more eclectic variety of genres, tones and styles which is a clear indicator that the El Paso film scene is beginning to bloom into a full on movement,” said co-curator Lucky McKee. “The Plaza Classic is a crucial ally in this movement, giving these artists a wonderful platform to share their fresh and exciting cinematic voices.”
The films will be split into two programs in the Philanthropy Theatre. Filmmaker Q&As will conclude each program. The series culminates with the second Local Flavor Awards on August 11 in the Foundation Room, 333 N. Oregon. Local Flavor is sponsored by the Texas Film Commission. The Local Flavor Awards are sponsored by the Public Relations Association of the Southwest.
Click here to see what films were selected and when they will be shown.