El Paso, TX

July 18 - July 28, 2024 • El Paso, TX


Academy Award winner Sissy Spacek to appear at PCFF 2024

June 13

Academy Award winner — and Texas native — Sissy Spacek will appear at the 17th annual El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival, which runs from July 18-28 in and around El Paso’s historic and restored Plaza Theatre.

Spacek will appear with Coal Miner’s Daughter at 7 pm Saturday, Juy 27 in the Plaza Theatre. She received the Academy Award for her inspired portrayal of legendary country singer and songwriter Loretta Lynn in the 1980 Michael Apted classic, in which Spacek did her own singing.

Sissy Spacek has been one of the industry’s most respected actresses in a career spanning six decades. Her many honors include an Academy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, five additional Oscar nominations, a Grammy nomination, three Golden Globe Awards, and numerous critics awards.

Born in Quitman, Texas, Spacek aspired to be a singer-songwriter before her acting career took off. She first gained the attention of critics and audiences in Terrence Malick’s widely praised Badlands, on which she met production designer Jack Fisk, with whom she celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary this year.

Spacek earned her first Academy Award nomination for her chilling performance in the title role of Brian de Palma’s Carrie, based on the Stephen King novel (also showing in PCFF 2024). Other notable film credits include Three Women, Fisk’s Raggedy Man, and Oscar-nominated performances in Missing, The River, Crimes of the Heart, and In the Bedroom. Other film credits include The Straight Story, JFK, and The Help. She also starred in Netflix’s Bloodline, Hulu’s Castle Rock, and Amazon Prime Video’s Homecoming and Night Sky, with a recurring role in FX’s forthcoming Dying for Sex.

Tickets for this year’s Plaza Classic Film Festival go on sale at 10 am Friday, June 14 at the Plaza Theatre Box Office and Ticketmaster. Passes are on sale at plazaclassic.com/tickets. Go to plazaclassic.com for more information.

The Plaza Classic Podcast is now live!

May 23

The El Paso Community Foundation’s Plaza Classic Film Festival is in the podcast business. The Plaza Classic Podcast is now streaming on the Plaza Classic Film Festival website and streaming platforms.

The Plaza Classic Podcast is hosted by KVIA news anchor and three-time Regional Edward R. Murrow Award-winner and Borderland Crimes podcaster Stephanie Valle and EPCC Mass Communication Professor Lisa Elliott. Valle and Elliott are members of the Plaza Classic Film Festival Program Advisory Committee. The podcast is produced in partnership with EPCC and the El Paso Community Foundation.

Each episode features guests ranging from committee members to filmmakers who delve into a different aspect of the city’s No. 1 feel-good summer event, including this year’s schedule, the Local Flavor showcase, screenwriting competition, and more.

Episode 1, which examines the history of the festival and the popularity of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, is streaming now. The second episode features committee member and UTEP administrator Jaime Mendez and will be posted May 30. Episodes will be posted weekly through the end of the Plaza Classic. Future episodes feature El Paso filmmaker Josh Pulido, screenwriting competition coordinator Austin Savage, and 2023 screenwriting winner Carrie Silva.

“The Plaza Classic Film Festival is a gift to El Paso. We wanted to share behind-the-scenes details and introduce the people involved in the process,” Valle said. Added Elliott: “There’s also more to say about the films featured than can be covered in our introductions before festival screenings. A podcast was a natural way to do that.”

The 17th annual Plaza Classic Film Festival will be July 18-28, 2024, in and around El Paso’s historic Plaza Theatre. The festival will include movies based on Stephen King stories, a film noir thread, the Local Flavor Showcase and Awards, and movies such as Sunset Boulevard, The Shawshank Redemption, and our 16th annual FREE outdoor showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Passes are on sale at plazaclassic.com/tickets. Individual tickets go on sale in June.

PCFF screenwriting competition now open

May 7

Good writing will be rewarded in the El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival’s third annual screenwriting contest — including a $500 first prize.

The third Plaza Classic Film Festival Screenwriting Competition is accepting entries through July 3, 2024.

It will award a $500 first prize, a $250 second prize, and Final Draft 13 screenwriting software to the top two finishers.

The first prize winner also receives a consultation with El Paso writer-director Lucky McKee (Poker Face, Old Man, The Woman, May), and a table read of their screenplay.

The contest is open to anyone 18 and older. Entries must be feature-length scripts of no more than 120 pages. There are no genre restrictions. Go to plazaclassic.com/screenwriting or Film Freeway to enter.

The deadline is 11:59 pm July 3, 2024. Cost to submit is $30 through June 13, $40 from June 14 through July 3. An entrant may receive written feedback, or coverage, for an additional $15.

Screenplays must be uploaded in PDF format only, must be anonymous and include a cover sheet with only the screenplay’s title (name and contact details are on the entry form), a logline, and payment. Entries will be graded on a point system, with a 50-point maximum. Scripts will be awarded up to 10 points each for premise, plot, characters, dialogue, and the script’s prospects.

The top two finishers will be announced before the 17th annual Plaza Classic Film Festival, which is July 18-28.

The competition is sponsored by Final Draft, Coverfly, the El Paso Film and Creative Industries Commission, and the Texas Film Commission.

Plaza Classic Film Festival tickets go on sale in June. Passes are on sale at plazaclassic.com/tickets.

Details: 915-533-4020, local@plazaclassic.com.

PCFF now accepting Local Flavor submissions

February 26

Submissions for this year’s Local Flavor Showcase and Awards are now open.

A total of $3,650 in cash prizes will be awarded to filmmakers this year, including new awards for students films.

The deadline to submit your films is 11:59 pm Monday, June 17. It is FREE to submit. You can enter your film here.

The Plaza Classic Film Festival’s Local Flavor Showcase and Awards is accepting short and feature-length films (works-in-progress will not be accepted). Projects must have been completed on or after January 1, 2023 and must be made locally, set locally, or have a connection of some kind to the El Paso-Juarez-Las Cruces area, which should be noted in the online entry form’s Synopsis window.

A panel of judges will review all of the submissions and select finalists for this year’s showcase and awards program, which will be in the Plaza Theatre during this year’s Plaza Classic.

This year’s awards include the $1,500 First Prize, $1,000 Second Prize, and $750 Third Prize. A $250 Audience Favorite Award will be determined by a live text-to-vote during the showcase.

New this year: a $100 First Prize for a film by a college student; and a $50 First Prize for a film by a high school student.

Local Flavor is sponsored by the El Paso Film & Creative Industries Commission, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and the El Paso Community Foundation.

This year’s Local Flavor Showcase and Awards will be curated by El Paso-based, Emmy Award-winning Producer Javier Gonzalez; award-winning Las Cruces filmmaker and NMSU Creative Media Institute associate professor Ilana Lapid ; and Asia Saucedo, a member of the El Paso Community Foundation staff and longtime Plaza Classic Film Festival contributor.

Call 915-533-4020 or email local@plazaclassic.com for more information.

Iliana Sosa's 'God Save Texas: La Frontera' gets EP premiere Feb. 23

February 6

Fresh from its Sundance Film Festival debut, El Paso native Iliana Sosa will attend the El Paso premiere screening of her new HBO Original documentary God Save Texas: La Frontera at 7 pm Friday, February 23 in the Philanthropy Theatre in the Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Centre. A Q&A will follow the film.

Admission is FREE. No tickets are required.

The premiere is presented by the El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival and the El Paso Film & Creative Industries Commission.

The 54-minute La Frontera is a personal exploration of how neplanta, a Nahuatl word for the concept of being in between two worlds, characterizes Sosa’s relationship with her Mexican heritage and border hometown of El Paso, and how the city came together and healed after the devastating, racially motivated August 3, 2019 mass shooting there.

“My goal is to introduce the world to the hidden wealth of this borderland — a term that encapsulates diversity and vitality: neplanta,” said Sosa, a filmmaker, assistant professor of film at the University of Texas at Austin and Franklin High School graduate.

La Frontera is the third installment of the God Save Texas trilogy, based on the best-selling book by author Lawrence Wright. The HBO documentary trilogy, executive produced by Texas filmmaker Richard Linklater, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and debuts February 27 on Max. Linklater directed the first episode, God Save Texas: Hometown Prison. Fellow Texan Alex Stapleton directed part two, God Save Texas: The Price of Oil.

Sosa appeared at PCFF 2022 with her documentary What We Leave Behind, which debuted at the South by Southwest Film & TV Festival that year.

Pictured: Iliana Sosa (right) with her mother Maria Elia Sosa in a scene from ‘God Save Texas: La Frontera’
Photo courtesy of HBO