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.
Lights! Camera! Enter!
Sure, the Plaza Classic Film Festival is the world’s largest classic film festival, but it’s also the area’s premiere showcase of locally made and connected movies.
We’re bringing back New York-based, Hanks High School graduate Ryan Piers Williams on Aug. 16-17.
Ryan will introduce “Kilimanjaro,” a 2013 drama he produced, at 7 p.m. Aug. 16 in the Philanthropy Theatre.
He’ll follow that with the El Paso premiere of his second feature film, “X/Y,” which debuted at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, at 9:30 p.m. Aug. 16 in the Philanthropy.
Tickets for each screening are $4 at the Plaza Theatre box office and www.ticketmaster.com.
Additionally, Ryan will talk film, filmmaking and film gear at a free brunch at 11 a.m. Aug. 17 in the El Paso Community Foundation’s Foundation Room, 333 N. Oregon. Seating is limited.
We’re also bringing in El Paso filmmaker Zach Passero and Oklahoma-based director Lucky McKee to show their latest effort, the zombie horror movie “All Cheerleaders Die,” on which Zach was editor. That’s at 9:30 p.m. Aug. 8 in the Philanthropy ($4).
Coronado High graduate Yvette Yates will appear with producer Shaun Redick for a screening of “In the Blood,” which stars Gina Carano of MMA fame, at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 9 in the Philanthropy ($4). Yvette, who is in Paul Thomas Anderson’s upcoming “Inherent Vice,” and Shaun will talk about her quest to make it in Hollywood.
Las Cruces filmmaker Rajeev Nirmalakhandan will be here to show and discuss his 2013 project “The Odd Way Home,” which stars Chris Marquette and Rumer Willis, and was shot in Cruces and southern New Mexico. It screens at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 15 in the Philanthropy ($4).
Meanwhile, local filmmakers have until Aug. 1 to enter their newest projects. We’re accepting shorts, narratives, documentaries, animation, music videos and more. They have to have been completed after Jan. 1, 2012.
There’s no cost to enter. Go to the Submissions page at www.plazaclassic.com/localflavor to fill out your entry form.
They’ll be rounded up into three Local Flavor programs at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9 (the 10th anniversary of “The Good, The Bad, The Indie, Vol. 10”), 2 p.m. Aug. 10 and 7:30 p.m. Aug. 16. Selections from this year’s Ghostlight Creative 48-Hour Film Slam will be shown at 2 p.m. Aug. 17.
We’re moving them from the art museum to the El Paso Community Foundation’s Foundation Room, 333 N. Oregon, this year.
Admission is free.
Robert Wagner, whose career has evolved from movie idol to TV star to Hollywood elder statesman, will appear Aug. 15 and 16 at the El Paso Community Foundation’s seventh annual Plaza Classic Film Festival.
The festival will be Aug. 7-17 in and around the historic Plaza Theatre. More than 80 movies will be shown. Special guests include movie and TV star Shirley Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter Beth Henley and Las Cruces’ Tony Award-winning playwright and screenwriter Mark Medoff.
Wagner will appear in the Plaza Theatre with two of his best-known movies — the Academy Award-nominated 1974 disaster flick “The Towering Inferno,” at 7 p.m. Aug. 15 (tickets are $10); and the 1956 film noir “A Kiss Before Dying,” at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 16 ($6).
He will sign copies of his new book, “You Must Remember This: Life and Style in Hollywood’s Golden Age,” at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 16 in the El Paso Community Foundation’s Foundation Room, 333 N. Oregon. There is no admission charge for the signing, but copies of “You Must Remember This” will be available for sale.
Additionally, Wagner will appear at a private reception for Plaza Classic Film Festival pass holders.
“Mr. Wagner’s range of characters — from leading man to comic foil to villain — have given him a long and interesting career. We are lucky to have him come to El Paso,” said Eric Pearson, president and CEO of the El Paso Community Foundation.
Wagner, 84, is a Detroit native who broke into the Hollywood studio system in the 1950s, emerging as the cool, handsome young star of a series of 20th Century Fox hits such as “Beneath the 12-Mile Reef,” “Broken Lance,” “Titanic” and “A Kiss Before Dying,” where he played the villain. Other notable appearances include“The Pink Panther” and the all-star D-Day epic “The Longest Day” (PCFF will show “The Longest Day” at noon Aug. 13 in the Plaza Theatre, but Wagner will not appear with it).
Wagner became a TV star in the 1960s and continued through the ‘80s with the hit shows “It Takes a Thief” (opposite Fred Astaire), “Switch” (Eddie Albert) and “Hart to Hart” (Stefanie Powers). He enjoyed a resurgence in the late 1990s, thanks to a toothy British spy named Austin Powers. Wagner played Number Two in comedian Mike Myers’ ‘60s spy spoof trilogy.
Currently, Wagner has had recurring roles on TV hits “Two and a Half Men” and “NCIS,” and became an author with his 2008 autobiography, “Pieces of My Heart: A Life,” and this year’s “You Must Remember This,” a nostalgic look at a Hollywood that has faded. “It was a lesson to me that nothing lasts forever,” he writes in the book. “Except the movies.”
Festival passes are $200 and include admission to all Plaza Classic Film Festival movies. They are available online at plazaclassic.com and by phone, 915-533-4020.
Plaza Classic Film Festival tickets are on sale at the Plaza Theatre box office, Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com and 800-745-3000.
Shirley Jones, the Academy Award-winning stage and screen star, will appear with two of her most highly regarded movies — “Oklahoma!” and “Elmer Gantry” — at the seventh annual Plaza Classic Film Festival.
The El Paso Community Foundation presents the seventh annual edition of the world’s largest classic film festival Aug. 7-17 in downtown El Paso. More than 80 movies, concerts and other events will take place during the 11-day festival.
Shirley Jones will discuss the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Oklahoma!” at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, with a screening of the movie to follow. She will talk about the riveting drama “Elmer Gantry” at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, with the movie to follow. Both will be in the historic Plaza Theatre.
She also will sign autographs from 1-2:30 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Camino Real Hotel.
“El Paso is such a great American city, about to pay tribute to two great American motion pictures, ‘Oklahoma!’ and ‘Elmer Gantry,’” she said. “I am very proud of these films and honored that I was invited to be there for their screenings.”
Eric Pearson, president and CEO of the El Paso Community Foundation, added: “Since her debut in the 1950s, Shirley Jones has had a stellar career as a multi-award-winning actor and performer on the stage, the screen and TV. We are proud to have her here.”
The Pennsylvania native, who turned 80 this year, has enjoyed an illustrious — and still active — career spanning seven decades. She made her Broadway debut in “South Pacific” at age 19 in 1953 after composers Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II discovered her.
They cast her, over several bigger names, to play wholesome farm girl Laurey in the 1955 movie version of “Oklahoma!,” her film debut, which includes beloved standards such as “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’” and “People Will Say We’re in Love.” In 2007, it was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry.
Shirley Jones went on to star in other hit movies, including “Carousel” and “The Music Man,” but it was her first dramatic role — as a vengeful prostitute — in the 1960 drama “Elmer Gantry” that earned her an Academy Award for best supporting actress.
Shirley Jones the movie star became Shirley Jones the TV star after she was cast as the piano- playing matriarch of “The Partridge Family” from 1970-74 on ABC. The show co-starred her stepson, David Cassidy, and yielded a No. 1 hit song, “I Think I Love You.”
She has continued to work on stage and screen. Last year, Shirley became an author with the release of her best-selling autobiography, “Shirley Jones: A Memoir.”
Tickets for her appearance with“Oklahoma!” are $10, $6 for “Elmer Gantry.”
Tickets for the Plaza Classic Film Festival are on sale at the Plaza Theatre box office, Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com and 800-745-3000. Movies scheduled this year include “The Wizard of Oz,” “Rear Window,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”
Festival passes are $200 and include admission to all PCFF movies, discounts, special events and a jump-the-line option. Plaza Classic Film Club passes — for teens 14 to 18 — are $100 and include admission to all festival movies, a jump-the-line option and other perks.
They are available at plazaclassic.com or by calling 915-533-4020.