El Paso, TX

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

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Watch the 'Health Care Heroes' documentary


September 08

If you went to see Raiders of the Lost Ark, Saturday Night Fever or Star Wars: A New Hope at this year’s Plaza Classic Film Festival, we hope you got there on time to see a locally made documentary honoring those working on the frontlines in the health care field.

Health Care Heroes, directed by El Paso native Ellie Ann Fenton, is a moving 12-minute documentary takes a personal look at the health care professionals, and one patient, who’ve been fighting the battle against COVID-19. It premiered at the Plaza Classic, screening in front of those three classic movies.

El Paso experienced one of the worst stretches of COVID-19 infections and deaths in the nation last year. In appreciation of those who continue that fight, the editors of El Paso Inc. chose to honor those doctors, nurses, techs and others who worked tirelessly in local hospitals and clinics, naming them collectively its El Pasoans of the Year for 2020.

The weekly teamed with the El Paso Community Foundation to produce Health Care Heroes, which was filmed over the summer, and includes footage from El Paso Inc.’s El Pasoan of the Year Awards Ceremony on June 10 at Southwest University Park. Fenton’s focuses on the experiences of various local health care workers and Patsy Stallworth, an El Paso Community Foundation donor, who battled to overcome the deadly virus.

Click the link below to watch.

ELPHC from Ellie Ann Fenton on Vimeo.


Women filmmakers sweep Local Flavor Awards


August 13

Jacqueline Barragan, a relatively new filmmaker, took the $1,000 First Prize and $250 Audience Flavorite Award in the 2021 Plaza Classic Film Festival Local Flavor Awards, presented by TFCU.

Barragan received the recognition for her 18-minute documentary JOSIE, about her mother’s battle to overcome abuse.

It was the first time in the awards’ four-year history that a filmmaker took top honors and was the top audience vote-getter.

It was also the first time in Local Flavor Awards history that female filmmakers claimed all of the honors.

The slightly mystical, Juarez-set Cenicero de Dios by Celina Galicia was selected for the $750 Second Prize. The comical Salvandor a Salvador by Luisa Gonzalez, “loosely” based on a true story, was chosen for the $500 Third Prize.

JOSIE and Cenicero de Dios also were selected for the 2020 Femme Frontera Showcase.

Seven of the 13 selections in this year’s two Local Flavor shorts programs were either directed by or produced by women, another first for the long-running local filmmaker showcase. Both programs were held in the Abraham Chavez Theatre, as was the awards ceremony.

The James Arrabito feature film submission, I See a Darkness, was screened out of competition in the Plaza Theatre.

Submissions for the 2022 Local Flavor showcase will open in March.

Pictured: JOSIE director Jacqueline Barragan (left) and Cenicero de Dios director Celina Galicia.

Photo by Diane Sierra


Illness forces Mariem Perez Riera cancellation


August 06

Director Mariem Perez Riera will not be appearing at the 14th annual Plaza Classic Film Festival. Illness has forced the director to cancel.

Riera was set to appear alongside her new documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It, a candid look at actress Rita Moreno’s life and career. The screening will proceed as planned on Saturday, August 7 at 2 PM in the Plaza Theatre.

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It deftly blends a lifetime of landmark achievements, including Moreno’s Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award wins, but doesn’t shy from the West Side Story star’s battles with low self-esteem, racism, sexism, a torturous romance with Marlon Brando, an alleged rape, and a suicide attempt. But Moreno, now 89, has clearly come out on the winning side of it all, as her acolytes, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Eva Longoria, Gloria Estefan, and others testify.

Tickets for Plaza Classic Film Festival movies are on sale at the Plaza Theatre Box Office, Ticketmaster.com and Plazaclassic.com.


Local Flavor 2021 selections announced!


July 23

A total of 13 short films, seven directed or produced by women, comprise this year’s two Local Flavor shorts programs.

The selections include documentaries, narratives, music videos, one spoof and one spooky song from a faux musical.

Seven entries will be shown in Local Flavor I at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 30 in the Abraham Chavez Theatre. Admission is $6.

The other six titles will be screened in Local Flavor II at 7:30 p.m. Friday, August 6 in the Chavez. Admission is $6.

Additionally, James Arrabito’s 78-minute drama I See a Darkness will be screened at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, August 7 in the Plaza Theatre. Admission is $6. It will not be in competition for prize money.

This year’s Local Flavor Awards will be at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, August 8 in the Chavez Theatre. Admission is free. Sponsored by TFCU, it will feature encore screenings of the top three films selected by curators and filmmakers Zach Passero and Lucky McKee, and festival director Doug Pullen, program director of the El Paso Community Foundation.

The Local Flavor showcase is sponsored by the Texas Film Commission.

Tickets for the Local Flavor programs are on sale at the Plaza Theatre box office, Ticketmaster.com and Plazaclassic.com/schedule.

A total of $2,250 will be awarded before the encore screenings — the $1,000 First Prize, $750 Second Prize, $500 Third Prize and the $250 Audience Flavorite Award. Ballots will be distributed and collected at the two Local Flavor shorts programs.

For a list of what will be showing and who directed or submitted it, click here.


Scheduling conflict forces Rita Moreno cancellation


July 22

Rita Moreno will not be able to appear at this year’s 14th annual El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival.

Ms. Moreno’s ability to participate in this year’s Plaza Classic Film Festival was predicated on her availability, but a recent scheduling conflict will prevent her from attending.

She was going to appear with West Side Story at 7 p.m. Friday, August 6, and the new documentary, Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It, at 2 p.m. Saturday, August 7, both in the Plaza Theatre.

Both screenings will go on. Just a Girl director Mariem Perez Riera, who was going to join Ms. Moreno for the documentary screening, will attend.

It would have been Ms. Moreno’s second Plaza Classic Film Festival appearance. She appeared at the sixth Plaza Classic in 2013. The Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner also headlined a fundraising concert at the Plaza Theatre in 1986, which enabled the El Paso Community Foundation to purchase the theater. She performed at the Plaza Theatre in early 2007, less than a year after the newly restored 1930 movie palace reopened.

Tickets for Plaza Classic Film Festival movies are on sale at the Plaza Theatre Box Office, Ticketmaster.com and Plazaclassic.com.