El Paso, TX

July 29 - August 8, 2021 • El Paso, TX Twitter iconFacebook icon

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PCFF is returning to the Plaza Theatre!


May 05

After a year’s absence, the El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival will return to the Plaza Theatre this summer.

The 14th annual Plaza Classic Film Festival will be July 29-August 8 in and around the Plaza Theatre in downtown El Paso.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last year’s Plaza Classic moved outdoors for a series of 11 pop-up drive-ins at various locations around El Paso, and five days of digitally streamed films and interviews. This year’s Plaza Classic will be more traditional, but with COVID safety protocols in place, such as mandatory mask wearing, social distancing, disinfecting, and seating capacity limits, including assigned “pod” seating to ensure physical distancing.

“It will be good to be home,” said Doug Pullen, the festival’s director and Program Director for the El Paso Community Foundation. “The Plaza Classic Film Festival was inspired by the historic Plaza Theatre. It belongs there. We’ll go out of our way to make it a memorable — and safe — experience.”

Seating capacity limits will necessitate the move from the Plaza Classic’s secondary venue, the Philanthropy Theatre, to the Abraham Chavez Theatre nearby. The same safety measures will be in use at the Chavez Theatre.

El Paso Live, which manages both theaters for the City of El Paso, has installed GPS Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization air filtration systems in both theaters. The filtration systems significantly reduce airborne particulates, pathogens, and viruses. El Paso Live recently received Star Facility accreditation from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council for its coronavirus safety protocols.

“As a long-time partner of the Plaza Classic Film Festival, El Paso Live is beyond excited to welcome this event back to our venues,” said Bryan Crowe, General Manager for El Paso Live. “The Plaza Classic Film Festival is a staple in our community and we can’t wait to welcome movie-goers in the late summer.”

More details will be announced in the near future, including movie titles, guests, ticket information and more. 2021 Plaza Classic Film Festival Passes are on sale now. Go to plazaclassic.com or its social media platforms for updates.

The Plaza Classic is accepting entries for its annual Local Flavor series, the area’s largest showcase of locally made and connected films. Entry deadline is June 14. Go to plazaclassic.com/localflavor.


Local Flavor submissions now being accepted


March 16

Action, local filmmakers! The El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival is now accepting submissions for Local Flavor, El Paso’s largest annual showcase of locally made and connected films.

There is no cost to submit a film. It’s FREE.

The film series, sponsored by the Texas Film Commission, is open to short and feature-length films of various types, including fiction, documentary, animation, experimental, and music video. Any type of film may be submitted. No works-in-progress will be accepted. If it’s not obvious, please details the local connection in your entry.

The showcase will culminate with the fourth annual Local Flavor Awards, which will award $2,500 to filmmakers. That’s up from $1,750 last year. Prizes are: $1,000 for First Prize; $750 Second Prize; $500 Third Prize (new category); and the $250 Audience Favorite.

Entry deadline is 11:59 p.m. Monday, June 14, 2021.

Click here for the rules and submission form.

Remember, it’s FREE.

The Local Flavor series is curated for the fourth year by El Paso film editor Zach Passero, director-producer Lucky McKee, and festival director Doug Pullen, program director for the El Paso Community Foundation.

The Plaza Classic Film Festival returns for its 14th year July 29-August 8, 2021.

Call 915-533-4020 or email us at local@plazaclassic.com for more information.

(Pictured: A still from last year’s Local Flavor Award winner Stillborn, by Brandon Gass of Las Cruces, N.M.)


No Holiday Movies at the Plaza Theatre this year


December 02

The pandemic continues to take its toll on our beloved traditions, including the annual Holiday Movies at the Plaza Theatre, produced by the El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival and El Paso Live as part of the City of El Paso’s WinterFest.

The popular series features holiday classics, such as It’s a Wonderful Life and Elf, for free in the Plaza Theatre as part of the City of El Paso’s annual WinterFest.

The Holiday Movies at the Plaza Theatre are expected to return in 2021.

The series began in 2008, the year the first Plaza Classic Film Festival was held. From 2008-2012, Holiday Movies at the Plaza Theatre was held over one weekend each December in conjunction with the tree lighting ceremony in San Jacinto Plaza and Christmas lights parade. The movies went on hiatus from 2013 to 2015 during the renovation of San Jacinto Plaza, and returned in 2016 as part of the first WinterFest.

This year’s WinterFest from December 5-January 3 will feature virtual events only. Go to epwinterfest.com for details.

The El Paso Sports Commission will offer Christmas Cheer Drive-in Mistletoe Movies from December 4-19 in the El Paso County Coliseum parking lot. Titles include The Polar Express, Elf and Home Alone. Go to Facebook.com/ElPasoColiseum for details.


Audience Favorite Winner announced


August 12

En Tus Brazos Esta Noche (In Your Arms Tonight) was the clear favorite with online voters in this year’s Local Flavor Awards, sponsored by El Paso Electric.

It’s a romantic drama with a dramatic twist from the fertile mind of writer-director Jonathan Gonzales.

Jonathan and his short film (pictured) were voted the Audience Favorite Award by patrons who watched the Local Flavor I and Local Flavor II programs streamed on plazaclassic.com last weekend. Jonathan will receive $250 for his efforts.

If the name sounds familiar, it is because Jonathan won the Audience Favorite Award in 2018 for his Act of Contrition.

In fact, Jonathan is one of two recent repeat award recipients. Las Cruces filmmaker Brandon Gass was chosen this year’s $1,000 First Prize recipient for Stillborn. Brandon took second prize last year with Worlds Away.

Former El Pasoan Ryan Riddle took the $500 Second Prize Award with his short The Music Box.

There was a delay in announcing the Audience Favorite honoree this year, our first live stream of the local filmmaker showcase. A ballot that was supposed to go live after the Local Flavor I program on August 7 did not appear. The ballot did appear after Local Flavor II on August 8. In the interest of fairness, ballots were emailed to those who purchased tickets to view Local Flavor I, but the email did not make it to them. A second email went out and the deadline to vote was extended to 10 a.m. today.

Congratulations to Jonathan and all of our honorees.


Local Flavor Awards update


August 11

Two graduates of New Mexico State University’s Creative Media Institute nabbed the top two prizes in this year’s Local Flavor Awards, sponsored by El Paso Electric and the Texas Film Commission.

Brandon Gass’ ruminative Stillborn, about a family dealing with the death of its matriarch, was selected First Prize Winner and will receive a $1,000 award for his short film, which clocks in slightly under 10 minutes.

The Music Box, Ryan Riddle’s subtle horror story about a father and daughter haunted by the death of a loved one, was chosen Second Prize Winner. He will receive $500 for his short film, which is in Japanese with English subtitles and is just under 25 minutes long.

Due to a technical issue, the selection of the $250 Audience Favorite Award has been postponed until Wednesday, August 12. Check this news blog tomorrow for an announcement.

Local Flavor was curated by filmmakers Zach Passero and Lucky McKee and Plaza Classic Film Festival director Doug Pullen. More than 40 entries were submitted, with 13 selected for inclusion in two Local Flavor programs, which streamed online for the first time in the Plaza Classic’s 13-year history. Both programs were followed by live Q&As with some of the participating filmmakers, which were hosted by Passero and McKee.