El Paso native and recent Academy Award nominee Germaine Franco will appear at the El Paso Community Foundation’s 15th annual Plaza Classic Film Festival. The Irvin High School and Rice University graduate received her Oscar nominated for Encanto, for which she wrote the score. Franco made history this year as the first woman to score a Disney animated feature film and is the first woman of color to receive an Oscar nomination for best original score.
Franco will appear with Encanto at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 30 in the Plaza Theatre. Tickets are $10, on sale at Ticketmaster.com and the Plaza Theatre Box Office.
The former El Paso Youth Symphony Orchestra percussionist is a composer, producer, and arranger with a long list of accomplishments. In addition to her Oscar nomination, Germaine’s Encanto score was nominated for a Golden Globe, received a Society for Composers and Lyricists Award for Best Original Score, an Annie Award for best music in an animated feature, and a Variety Artisan Award.
She co-wrote and produced five of six original songs in Disney’s 2017 hit Coco, including Un Poco Loco and Proud Corazon. She wrote the score for the video game Kung Fu Panda Land of Awesomeness and Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest, theme park attractions that play daily at Universal Beijing Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood.
She scored the Netflix films Work It, The Sleepover and Someone Great, cowrote and produced the main title theme song for Nickelodeon’s The Casagrandes, and scored the movies Little, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Tag, and Dope, among others.
Franco believes strongly in music education and equity in her field. She is on the Advisory Board for Women in Media and The Neighborhood Music School. In 2018, Univision celebrated her work as one of “15 Latinas Who Are Changing the World as We Know It.” Her work is heard in concert halls around the world.
Germaine Franco joins a growing list of special guests for this year’s Plaza Classic Film Festival, including Rita Moreno, El Paso native F. Murray Abraham, and husband-and-wife filmmakers Cristina Ibarra, an El Paso native, and Alex Rivera. Among this year’s titles are Singin’ in the Rain, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Amadeus, Scarface, Thelma & Louise, Lawrence of Arabia, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Superman, and Sleepless in Seattle.
The grand prize in this year’s inaugural Plaza Classic Film Festival Screenwriting Competition just got grander. Founders of the Hollywood production and finance company Impossible Dream Entertainment will read the winning script, listen to a pitch from the winning screenwriter and consult the winner on the screenplay’s prospects.
This is in addition to the already announced $500 first prize, plus a Final Draft 12 package and a table read of the winning entry during the El Paso Community Foundation’s 15th annual Plaza Classic Film Festival, which runs July 28-August 7.
The deadline to enter the competition is at 11:59 pm Monday, June 27. Click here to submit.
Impossible Dream Entertainment was founded in 2017 by husband-and-wife producer team Shaun Redick and actress Yvette Yates Redick. Yvette grew up in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. The couple has appeared several times at the Plaza Classic Film Festival.
Shaun Redick is a former literary and packaging agent at iconic top global talent agencies, WME and ICM, and now a feature film and series Producer. Redick has developed and produced several recent movies including Get Out, which premiered at Sundance and went on to become one of Hollywood’s most profitable movies of all time. Get Out was nominated for 4 Academy-Awards® and won an Oscar® for Best Screenplay. Subsequently, Redick produced the Cannes Grand Prix Winner, BlacKkKlansman, which received 6 Academy Award® nominations and won an Oscar® for Best Adapted Screenplay. Both movies won the coveted AFI Award for Top Ten Movies of the year.
Before partnering with Shaun, Mexican-American Producer and successful Actress Yvette Yates Redick started producing stand-up comedy and produced groundbreaking comedy specials showcasing diverse veteran and upcoming BIPOC comedians. Yvette also starred in hit movies such as Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2x Academy Award® nominated Inherent Vice, and the action thriller El Gringo. The Redick duo has a combined box office of over $1.5 billion worldwide. Their movies have garnered 12 Academy-Award® nominations. They recently produced the upcoming Day Shift movie franchise at Netflix starring Academy Award® winner Jamie Foxx, and recently closed deals for new groundbreaking features and series. The screenplay for Day Shift won the Slamdance Writing Competition in 2017.
Their focus is on socially relevant commercial content and creating, developing, financing, and producing feature films and series content for a wide audience in North America and across the globe.
The spirit of Elizabeth Taylor returns to The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park for a special screening of Father of the Bride as part of this year’s El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival.
The 1950 classic, which also stars Spencer Tracey, will be shown outdoors at La Perla, the hotel’s 17th floor rooftop bar. The event starts at 8 p.m. Tuesday, August 2. The festival runs July 28 through August 7 in downtown El Paso.
La Perla formerly was a penthouse, where Elizabeth Taylor lived for a short time after her May 6, 1950 wedding to hotel heir Conrad “Nicky” Hilton Jr. She stayed at the hotel to plan the ceremony. MGM timed the movie’s release on June 16, 1950 to capitalize on the wedding’s publicity.
Seating is extremely limited. Tickets are $50 each and include a guacamole bar and dessert station. Tickets are on sale here or by calling 915-533-4020.
A limited number of tickets are available to The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park guests, who can take advantage of a special offer that includes two tickets to the movie, a three-course pre-fixed menu for two at Ambar Restaurante, and two specialty cocktails at La Perla. Click here for reservations.
Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park also is offering a 20% discount to guests who stay there for the Plaza Classic Film Festival. Reservations are available here.
Due to the special nature of this event, it is not part of the Festival Pass or Movies Only Pass.
The 15th annual Plaza Classic Film Festival will feature guest appearances by Rita Moreno, with Singin’ in the Rain and the 2021 version of West Side Story, and El Paso native F. Murray Abraham, with Amadeus and The Grand Budapest Hotel. It will screen more than 90 movies. Tickets go on sale June 27. Passes are on sale now at plazaclassic.com/tickets.
The legendary Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award winner Rita Moreno is returning to the Plaza Theatre and the El Paso Community Foundation’s Plaza Classic Film Festival!
The iconic singer, dancer, and actor will appear with 1952’s Singin’ in the Rain at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 28 and Steven Spielberg’s 2021 version of West Side Story at 7 p.m. Friday, July 29, both in the Plaza Theatre. Ms. Moreno is the last surviving member of the main cast of Singin’ in the Rain. The 15th annual Plaza Classic Film Festival will be July 28-August 7 in and around the Plaza Theatre.
She played Zelda Zanders, her first Anglo character in a feature film, in Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen’s classic. She won a supporting actress Academy Award for her portrayal of the fiery Anita in 1961’s of West Side Story. In the new version, she served as an executive producer, played the newly created character of Valentina, and performed the pivotal song Somewhere.
Miss Moreno has a long history with the Plaza Theatre and the Plaza Classic Film Festival. She headlined a benefit concert there in 1986, which enabled the El Paso Community Foundation to purchase the deteriorating 1930 movie palace and eventually restore it with the City of El Paso. She appeared again in 2007, the year after the theater reopened, and headlined the Plaza Classic in 2013. Since then, she starred in the Latinx remake of TV’s One Day at a Time, received considerable Oscar buzz for the new West Side Story and has roles in the forthcoming Fast and Furious sequel, Fast X, and Tom Brady’s Eighty for Brady.
Rita Moreno, 90, is one of the few performers to receive TV’s Emmy, music’s Grammy, cinema’s Oscar, and Broadway’s Tony awards. In addition to her Academy Award, she received Emmy Awards for The Muppet Show and The Rockford Files, a Grammy for contributions to the soundtrack of the children’s show, The Electric Company, and a Tony for her performance in the Broadway production of The Ritz. Her extensive credits include HBO’s Oz and the films The King and I, Carnal Knowledge, and The Four Seasons.
Miss Moreno joins the previously announced F. Murray Abraham, an El Paso native, as this year’s special guests. Mr. Abraham will appear with Amadeus, for which he won Best Actor Oscar, at 7 p.m. Friday, August 5 and The Grand Budapest Hotel at 4 p.m. Saturday, August 6, both in the Plaza Theatre.
Tickets will go on sale on June 27 at the Plaza Theatre box office and Ticketmaster.com. Festival Passes, which include admission to Plaza Classic movies and special events, and the new Movies Only Pass, are on sale at plazaclassic.com/tickets. Go to plazaclassic.com for more information or follow us on social media.
Academy Award-winning actor and El Paso native F. Murray Abraham will appear at this year’s 15th annual El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Festival. Abraham is a 1958 graduate of El Paso High School who won the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance as the envious composer Antonio Salieri in director Milos Forman’s Amadeus.
Abraham will appear for a pre-screening interview with the director’s cut version of Amadeus at 7 p.m. Friday, August 5 in the Plaza Theatre. He will follow that with a pre-screening interview with director Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel at 4 p.m. Saturday, August 6 in the Plaza Theatre.
Born in Pittsburgh to Syrian immigrant Fahrid “Fred” Abraham and Josephine Stello, the daughter of Italian immigrants, Abraham grew up in El Paso. He attended Vilas Grammar School, El Paso High School, and Texas Western College (now the University of Texas at El Paso), where he won an acting award before transferring to the University of Texas at Austin. He also studied acting with Uta Hagen in New York City.
The 82-year-old actor’s storied career is all about the work, with roots firmly in theater, where he has performed more than 90 plays. He won an Obie Award for Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, appeared in Broadway productions of The Man in the Glass Booth and Angels in America, and numerous Shakespearean plays. He received an Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame.
Abraham’s most visible work has been in movies and TV. His film credits include Scarface (also showing at this year’s Plaza Classic), The Name of the Rose, Finding Forrester, Last Action Hero, Mighty Aphrodite, Star Trek: Insurrection, and Inside Llewyn Davis. His extensive TV credits include 43 episodes of Showtime’s Homeland (with two Emmy Award nominations), plus appearances on The Good Wife, Louie, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Mythic Quest, The White Lotus, and Disney+’s Moon Knight, for which he voices the evil Khonshu.
Murray Abraham celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary to Kate Hannan this year. He has a son, Mick, and daughter, Jamili, and a granddaughter, Hannan.
The 15th annual Plaza Classic Film Festival will be held July 28-August 7, 2022. Among this year’s 90 titles are a 70th anniversary showing of Singin’ in the Rain, Sleepless in Seattle, Superman, Lawrence of Arabia, Bonnie and Clyde, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Festival passes are on sale for $200, with Movies Only passes available for $100 at plazaclassic.com/tickets. Individual tickets go on sale in July. Call 915-533-4020 or go to plazaclassic.com for more information.