All good things must come to an end, right? Well, at least for this year.
The El Paso Community Foundation’s seventh annual Plaza Classic Film Festival has come to an end. And what a festival it was.
• We started a day early, Aug. 6, with a little exhibition game, teaming up with the El Paso Chihuahuas to show “Field of Dreams” for an audience of about 1,000. It was a fun, feel-good way to start our “season” and celebrate the new jewel of downtown El Paso, Southwest University Park.
• We began in earnest Aug. 7 with “The Pride of the Yankees,” the first of five baseball movies on this year’s busy schedule, and celebrated our sponsors with one of Marilyn Monroe’s most iconic roles in “The Seven Year Itch.
• We closed out our first weekend Aug. 8-10 with appearances by Shirley Jones with “Oklahoma!” and “Elmer Gantry,” a big crowd for the DCP of “The Wizard of Oz,” intros and Film Talks by TCM’s Scott McGee, over 2,000 for “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” on Mills Street (it took our fabulous volunteers two hours to clean up the mess), a three-film celebration of Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp centennial, an emotional “The Long Ride Home,” a special appearance by El Paso-raised actress Yvette Yates, a sold-out Philanthropy Theatre for Cantinflas’ “El Bolero de Raquel,” overflow crowds for the 10th anniversary edition of “The Good, The Bad and Indie” and Local Flavor, and a Sunday night crowd that gasped when villain Raymond Burr spied Jimmy Stewart watching him in “Rear Window.”
• Our weekdays were full with guest appearances by screenwriters and playwrights Beth Henley on Aug. 12 (she appeared with her “Crimes of the Heart”) and NMSU’s Mark Medoff on Aug. 14 (with “Children of a Lesser God”), plus a huge house for the new 50th anniversary digital restoration of the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night,” sold-out children’s movies in the Philanthropy Theatre, strangely coincidental back-to-back shows of “Jumanji,” starring the late Robin Williams, and “The Shootist,” with the legendary Lauren Bacall, in the Philanthropy, and the return of Indiana Jones, this time in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”
• The final weekend was topped by the ever-suave and charming Robert Wagner with “The Towering Inferno” and “A Kiss Before Dying,” not to mention a book-signing that ran over by 30 minutes due to audience demand (and some fans who flew in from as far away as Germany), the return of hometown hero Ryan Piers Williams for the local debuts of his “X/Y” (which he wrote, directed and co-starred in) and “Kilimanjaro” (which he produced) and an informal brunch for fans and filmmakers, a crowd of 1,200 for an outdoor showing of “Grease” that was delayed by strong winds and splashed by the Chihuahuas’ post-game fireworks show, the local debut of Omar Rodriguez Lopez’s “Los Chidos,” intros and Film Talks by Roger Ebert’s former editor, Laura Emerick, and a Sunday finale that included Walt Strony’s imaginative organ accompaniment for Harold Lloyd’s elevated comedy “Safety Last!” and the Watergate-inspired “All the President’s Men.”
Work will begin very soon on next year’s Plaza Classic Film Festival, which returns Aug. 6-16, 2015.
Thanks to all of the guests, fans, pass holders, volunteers, Plaza Theatre staff and the production crew for making this a special year.
Make sure to vote for your People’s Choice movie! On Saturday, Aug. 16, we will be showing either Stripes, Enter the Dragon, or A Nightmare on Elm Street at 11PM. You can vote anytime on our website by clicking the “Vote” tab or by texting “Stripes,” Enterthedragon,” or “ElmStreet” to 22333.
This isn’t Iowa. This is El Paso, and we’re warming up for the seventh annual Plaza Classic Film Festival with a special showing of “Field of Dreams” at 8 p.m. today at Southwest University Park, the sparkling new home of the El Paso Chihuahuas.
The El Paso Community Foundation and the Chihuahuas welcome you to tonight’s special presentation. Check out the stadium, watch a movie, have a hot dog — and have fun!
A few things you should know:
• The box office opens at 6:30 p.m.
• Doors open at 7 p.m. Entry will be at the Santa Fe Street gate (south of the box office) and the Durango Street gate.
• Seating will be on the third base side of the field, which offers the best shot of the HD scoreboard, where the movie will be projected. THERE IS NO SEATING ON THE FIELD.
• The program starts at 8 p.m. There will be a few announcements, then the movie.
• Tickets are $5 at the door, $6 at plazaclassic.com and with a credit card. A 2014 Festival Pass will get you in the doors (no ticket required; just show your pass).
Call 915-533-4020 if you have any questions.
See you at the ball game, er, movie!
A part of Turner Classic Movies joins another classic, the Plaza Classic Film Festival, when Scott McGee joins us for our opening weekend, Aug. 8-10. Scott is a senior writer and producer with the classic movie channel’s programming and studio productions departments. He’s also part of the TCM Classic Film Festival and the TCM Classic Cruise. He’ll be on hand to introduce some of our classic movie offerings and give a couple of the free Film Talks at the Camino Real Hotel.
Longtime PCFF friend Laura Emerick will return for the second weekend, Aug. 15-17, the same weekend that Robert Wagner will be here. Laura was the Chicago Sun-Times entertainment editor, and worked with the late, great Roger Ebert, when she started attending the El Paso festival a few years ago. She’s not the digital editor for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She’ll help with intros and Film Talks.
Also, Elisa Sanchez, whose mother was involved with the strike depicted in the historic “Salt of the Earth,” which will show on the final weekend, will attend the screening and take questions from the audience. Her mother also was one of the non-professional actors in this intriguing movie, which is 60 years old this year. Elisa is a Las Cruces, N.M., resident who established a scholarship fund at New Mexico State University in her mother’s honor. Latino students
Two of El Paso’s most popular teams — the El Paso Chihuahuas and the El Paso Community Foundation’s Plaza Classic Film Festival — are teaming up to show “Field of Dreams” at 8 p.m. Aug. 6 at Southwest University Park.
The event is a new “pre-game” warmup to the world’s largest classic film festival that will turn the stadium’s sparkling high-definition scoreboard into a giant movie screen. General admission seating is $5 at the door, available at the Santa Fe and Durango street entrances the night of the show. They are available in advance for $6 at plazaclassic.com. It’s the perfect way to showcase the ball park and kick off the seventh annual Plaza Classic Film Festival, which will feature more than 80 movies and guests stars such as Shirley Jones and Robert Wagner from Aug. 7-17 at the Plaza Theatre and other downtown venues.
“It’s just cool,” said Eric Pearson, president and CEO of the El Paso Community Foundation. “We’ve got a Triple-A baseball team in a state-of-the-art stadium and a major league film festival in a state-of-the-art theater. We’re excited to share the experience and invite everyone to the stadium and the festival.”
“This event is a great example of the kinds of things that are possible in this amazing facility with our community partners,” said Brad Taylor, El Paso Chihuahuas general manager. “It can truly be used to bring families and friends together for more than baseball.”
The El Paso Community Foundation created the Plaza Classic Film Festival in 2008 to bring movies back to the historic Plaza Theatre, which it helped restore in 2006. The Festival has attracted more than 200,000 fans, shown more than 400 movies, created $1.5 million in annual economic impact and brought a glittering cast of special guests, including Al Pacino, Rita Moreno, Eva Marie Saint and El Paso native Debbie Reynolds.
The El Paso Chihuahuas, the Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, have been the talk of Minor League Baseball since the brand debuted on Oct. 22, 2013. The Chihuahuas have been embraced by fans worldwide, having sold merchandise in all 50 states and 10 countries. Since opening the gates at Southwest University Park on April 28, the Chihuahuas have sold out 32 of 42 times, surpassed the Minor League Baseball attendance record of 334,000 in El Paso and have been featured by ESPN, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, CBS Sports and FOX Sports, to name a few.
It’s the 25th anniversary of “Field of Dreams,” which stars Kevin Costner as an Iowa corn farmer who builds a baseball field after hearing a persistent voice that implores him to. It earned three Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and grossed more than $64,000,000 upon its release in 1989. “It transcends more than just baseball,” Costner has said. “It is about believing in the unbelievable. It’s about relationships. It’s about fathers and son and things that go unsaid for too long.” What: “Field of Dreams” When: 8 p.m. Aug. 6 Where: Southwest University Park How much: $5 general admission at the door, $6 in advance at plazaclassic.com. Information: 915-533-4020, plazaclassic.com.