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PCFF to debut locally made Tony Romo documentary


June 19

The El Paso Community Foundation’s Plaza Classic Film Festival is proud to announce that it will debut El Paso filmmaker Chris Hanna’s new documentary, Now or Never: A Tony Romo Story.

The 90-minute film will be shown at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, August 4 in the Philanthropy Theatre, which is inside the Plaza Theater Performing Arts Centre annex.

Steve Kaplowitz of ESPN Radio 600 will conduct a Q&A with Hanna after the screening.

Now or Never: A Tony Romo Story examines Romo’s development as an unassuming, multiple sports star of Mexican heritage in Burlington, Wisconsin, to his emergence as the quarterback and on-field leader of the Dallas Cowboys. Now retired, Romo is a star football analyst for CBS Sports.

Hanna is a veteran of the Plaza Classic Film Festival’s Local Flavor series (the deadline for entering this year’s Local Flavor is June 23). He interviewed Romo as well as family members, and former players and coaches from his high school and college days. He is hosting a private screening for Romo and his family and friends later this month in Burlington, with another screening later in Dallas.

“As a lifelong fan of sports and the Cowboys, I always wanted to combine this passion with my love for film,” Hanna said. “After reading an article on Tony Romo and his perceived failures, I was inspired to make a film which would give his life and career justice. It has been a long journey, and a true honor to tell Tony Romo’s story through his family and community. As a product of both Mexico and the USA, it has been a privilege to tell a story which has ties to both countries. I am excited to show our documentary in my hometown of El Paso, as well as in Tony Romo’s communities of Burlington, Wisconsin, and Dallas.”

Festival passes are on sale now at plazaclassic.com/tickets or by phone, 915-533-4020.

Individual tickets go on sale July 2 at the Plaza Theatre Box Office.

Go to plazaclassic.com/schedule to see what’s showing this year. The list is almost complete.


Fay Wray-Robert Riskin biographer (and daughter) coming to PCFF 2019


June 12

Writer Victoria Riskin will appear at the El Paso Community Foundation’s 12th annual Plaza Classic Film Festival in August to talk about some of her parents’ movies and sign copies of her acclaimed new biography, Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir.

Ms. Riskin, the daughter of actress Fay Wray (King Kong, The Most Dangerous Game) and the great screenwriter Robert Riskin (It Happened One Night, Meet John Doe), will discuss her mother’s work as Ann Darrow in an onstage interview before a screening of the 1933 masterpiece King Kong at 7 p.m. Tuesday, August 6 in the Plaza Theatre.

She also will introduce one of her mother’s favorite movies, the 1928 Eric von Stroheim silent classic The Wedding March at 1 p.m. Tuesday, August 6, and one of her father’s most popular films, the 1938 romantic comedy You Can’t Take It With You, at 1 p.m. Wednesday, August 7. Both will be in the Plaza Theatre.

She will follow the You Can’t Take It With You screening with a book signing at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 7 in the Plaza Theatre.

Victoria Riskin is an award-winning television writer-producer (The Last Best Year, My Antonia, The Member of the Wedding), former president of the Writers Guild of America, West, and an activist who served on the board of Human Rights Watch.

Her mother starred in more than 120 movies and successfully transitioned from silent movies to talkies. Fay Wray met Robert Riskin — “Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor,” known for his nine films directed by Frank Capra — at a party in 1940. Their fairytale marriage ended with Riskin’s tragic death in 1955.

Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir has received rave reviews. The Associated Press wrote: “If there was an Academy Award for movie books, Victoria Riskin would be making room beside the Oscar her father won for writing the romantic comedy classic It Happened One Night.”

This year’s Plaza Classic Film Festival will feature more than 90 movies from August 1-11, 2019 in and around the historic Plaza Theatre.

In addition to Ms. Riskin, the Plaza Classic’s guests include husband-and-wife acting couple Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid at 7 p.m. Friday, August 2 and the 1978 cult classic The Legacy at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, August 3, both in the Plaza Theatre.

Among the titles announced so far are an 80th anniversary screening of The Wizard of Oz, the Plaza Classic debut of My Fair Lady, a new 4K restoration of 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1939’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and the 11th annual free outdoor showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Individual tickets go on sale in early July. Festival passes are on sale now at plazaclassic.com/tickets. Call 915-533-4020 for more information.


Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross to appear at PCFF 2019


May 29

Academy Award nominees Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross will be special guests of the El Paso Community Foundation’s 12th annual Plaza Classic Film Festival this August.

The couple will appear for on-stage interviews before a 50th anniversary screening of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid at 7 p.m. Friday, August 2, and the 1978 cult horror classic The Legacy at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, August 3, both in the Plaza Theatre. The Plaza Classic Film Festival also will honor Katharine Ross with its Plaza Classic Award for lifetime achievement.

The festival will be August 1-11, 2019 in and around the historic Plaza Theatre.

Katharine Ross co-starred in Butch Cassidy with Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Sam Elliott played a bit part as Card Player Number Two. The couple began dating while making The Legacy, which was directed by Richard Marquand (Return of the Jedi), and married in 1984.

Sam Elliott, whose parents were from El Paso, was a big hit at last year’s PCFF, appearing for the U.S. premiere of The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot. He was nominated this year for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Bradley Cooper’s remake of A Star Is Born, for which he also won a Best Supporting Actor award from the National Board of Review. Sam received the Plaza Classic Award last year for his more than 50-year career, including movies and TV shows such as Mask, Lifeguard, Conagher, Tombstone, and The Big Lebowski.

Katharine Ross appeared on various television shows in the early 1960s before receiving an Academy Award nomination for her performance as Elaine Robinson in 1967’s The Graduate. She won Britain’s BAFTA Award for Best Actress for her work as Etta Place in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and again for Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here. She also received a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress for Voyage of the Damned.

In addition to the couple’s appearances, PCFF previously announced an 80th anniversary screening of The Wizard of Oz, the Plaza Classic debut of My Fair Lady, a new 4K restoration of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the 1939 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. More titles will be announced soon. The Plaza Classic shows more than 90 movies each year.

Individual tickets go on sale in early July. Festival passes are on sale now at plazaclassic.com/tickets. Call 915-533-4020 for more information.


Special guests announced for April 26 premiere of "Hearts on the Gila"


April 15

Friday’s premiere of the moving new documentary Hearts on the Gila — which comes a week after New Mexico’s Gila River was named the most endangered river in the country — will include special guests from the film.

The premiere screening of the documentary will be at 7 p.m. Friday, April 26 in the El Paso Community Foundation Room, 333 N. Oregon, across from San Jacinto Plaza. It is the first stop on a six-city tour of the film.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Albuquerque-based director David Garcia, and Patrice Mutchnick and Jennifer Mahl, two of the three women featured in the work-in-progress documentary, which will be entered into film festivals later this year.

Doors open at 6 p.m. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be served. There will be a cash bar (beer and wine). Parking is available nearby at the Chase/Mills Plaza Parking Garage on Oregon Street.

Admission is $10 at the door, or in advance at epcf.org/gila.

Hearts on the Gila chronicles friends Jennifer Douglass, Mahl and Mutchnick as they journey down the Gila River, the last free-flowing river in New Mexico. They were in search of hope and solace on a tribute voyage to their teenaged children — Ella Jaz Kirk, Michael Sebastian Mahl and Ella Sala Myers — who died in 2014 in a plane crash while conducting an environmental research project in the Gila Wilderness.

Last week, the American Rivers conservation group named New Mexico’s Gila River 2019’s most endangered river in the country, citing climate change and a long-gestating diversion project.

Grecia Nunez, a public lands fellow with New Mexico Wild, will give an update on federal wild and scenic legislation for the river. Alexandra Tager, a board member of the Heart of the Gila preservation and advocacy nonprofit, will be on hand to answer questions.

The El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival hosts the screening, the first stop of a six-city tour that includes Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, Silver City and Mesilla in New Mexico. The tour is presented by Heart of the Gila, New Mexico Wild and the Center for Biological Diversity.

The filmmakers have launched a crowdfunding campaign to finish the film. Click here to contribute.

To learn more about the film or watch the trailer, click here.


EPCF/PCFF host 'Hearts on the Gila' benefit screening on April 26


April 05

Journey down the Gila River with three mothers in search of hope and renewal after the tragic loss of their children in a screening of the work-in-progress documentary Hearts on the Gila at 7 p.m. Friday, April 26 in the El Paso Community Foundation’s Foundation Room, 333 N. Oregon, across from San Jacinto Plaza in downtown El Paso.

Doors open at 6 p.m.

Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be served. There will be a cash bar (beer and wine).

Parking is available nearby at the Chase/Mills Plaza Parking Garage on Oregon Street.

Admission is $10 at the door or online at epcf.org/gila. Proceeds go to Heart of the Gila.

The El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival hosts the screening, the first stop of a six-city tour that includes Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, Silver City and Mesilla in New Mexico. The tour is presented by Heart of the Gila, New Mexico Wild, and the Center for Biological Diversity, nonprofit groups dedicated to protecting and promoting wild and scenic protection for New Mexico’s last wild river.

Albuquerque filmmaker David Garcia and some of the film’s subjects will participate in a Q&A after the screening.

Hearts on the Gila takes place four years after three mothers lost their teenage children in a tragic plane crash. The women embarked on a 36-mile kayak journey down the Gila River into the Gila Wilderness in southwestern New Mexico. Their children, passionate environmentalists who were inextricably linked to the Gila, were studying the effects of a devastating forest fire when their plane went down in high wind. The mothers look for hope and solace on the waters of one of America’s last wild rivers and one of America’s great natural treasures.

In Garcia’s film, the women learn about themselves, their children’s legacies, and the importance of wild river systems to the spiritual health of humanity in a world where wild places are rapidly disappearing.

The tour of this work-in-progress version of Hearts on the Gila — which will be submitted to major film festivals around the world when completed this year — is designed to raise awareness of the challenges facing the river, which runs through the nation’s first official wilderness area. The screenings will be an opportunity for audience members to engage in a direct way with the filmmaking process and to dialogue in person with the filmmaker and some of the film’s subjects.