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July 28 - August 7, 2022 • El Paso, TX Twitter iconFacebook icon

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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.


PCFF tickets go on sale Monday, July 12


July 08

Tickets for the 14th annual El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival go on sale Monday, July 12 at the Plaza Theatre Box Office and Ticketmaster.com.

The Plaza Classic returns to the Plaza Theatre and downtown El Paso from July 29 through August 8. The bulk of the movies will be shown in the Plaza Theatre and its sister venue, the Abraham Chavez Theatre, which is new to PCFF this year.

Most tickets are $6 for matinees, $8 for evenings.

Among the movies showing in the Plaza Theatre are Rear Window, Raiders of the Lost Ark (40th anniversary), Top Gun, The Sound of Music, Forrest Gump, The Pink Panther, Saturday Night Fever, West Side Story (60th anniversary), Pinocchio, Star Wars: A New Hope, Doctor Zhivago, Meet Me in St. Louis, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Gandhi, Birdman of Alcatraz and Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times.

Additionally, the Plaza Classic will have a special presentation of a new documentary, Song for Cesar, about labor activist Cesar Chavez, as part of El Paso County’s Month of Unity and Healing. Walt Strony returns to accompany the Harold Lloyd silent classic The Kid Brother on the Wyler Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ.

Showing in the Chavez Theatre are The Shining, Contagion, Pretty in Pink, Do the Right Thing, The Thing, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Urban Cowboy, Groundhog Day, Night of the Living Dead, Nacho Libre, The Lady Eve, The War of the Worlds, El Patrullero 777, John Leguizamo’s Critical Thinking and The Bad and the Beautiful.

The Local Flavor filmmaker showcase and documentaries Luchadoras, The Marfa Tapes Film, and At the Ready will be shown there.

Free weekend outdoor movies will be screened Friday and Saturday nights at the Convention Center Plaza (home of Alfresco Fridays). This year’s offerings are our 13th annual showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Mamma Mia!, Grease and Zoolander. The Thursday night Mills Plaza Drive-in/Walk-up movies are Shaun of the Dead and The Wedding Singer, shown atop the Mills Plaza Parking Garage.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, seating capacity will be limited at all locations. Other safety protocols will be in place, including a 2-hour disinfection process after each screening. Mask-wearing and social distancing are strongly encouraged. Both theaters have new GPS Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization air filtration systems.

Click here for schedule information and here to purchase Festival Passes. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.