Recent MacArthur Fellows Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera will be special guests of this year’s Plaza Classic Film Festival, presented by the El Paso Community Foundation.
Ibarra is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, El Paso native, and Hanks High School graduate whose work focuses on border issues and culture. She has received fellowships from Soros, Rockefeller, Firelight Media, and the Sundance Women’s Initiative. Rivera is an award-winning narrative filmmaker whose work explores globalization, migration, and technology. The couple, based in Pasadena, CA., received MacArthur “genius” grants in 2021, the first married couple to do so in the MacArthur Fellowship’s 40-year history.
They will be the focus of a three-part series called Genius: Ibarra/Rivera. The series begins with Rivera’s Sleep Dealer (2008) at 3 pm Saturday, July 30 in the Philanthropy Theatre. It is a futuristic tale that deals with environmental and immigration issues. It won awards at the Sundance and Berlin film festivals. Rivera will appear for a post-screening Q&A with PCFF Program Advisory Committee member Jaime Mendez. Admission is $4.
The series continues with two of Ibarra’s short films at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 30 in the Philanthropy Theatre. It opens with the 15-minute comedy Dirty Laundry: A Homemade Telenovela (2000), followed by Las Marthas, a 2014 documentary about a Martha Washington-inspired debutante pageant in Laredo, TX. It aired on PBS’ Independent Lens in 2014. Ibarra will appear for a Q&A after the show with PCFF Program Advisory Committee member Stephanie Valle. Tickets are $4.
The series concludes with The Infiltrators at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 31 in the Plaza Theatre. The Infiltrators won multiple awards at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and aired on PBS’ POV in 2020. The documentary-thriller hybrid was directed by the couple and is based on a true story about a group of “Dreamers” who infiltrate a for-profit migrant detention center in Florida. Ibarra, Rivera and one of the film’s subjects, Claudio Rojas, will appear for a Q&A with El Paso Matters founder Robert Moore after the screening. Tickets are $6.
A reception for the couple will be at 6:30 pm Sunday, July 31 in the Foundation Room, 333 N. Oregon.
Tickets for all Plaza Classic Film Festival screenings are available at the Plaza Theatre Box Office (no service charges) and Ticketmaster.com. Festival passes are available at plazaclassic.com/tickets or by calling 915-533-4020.