El Paso, TX

July 30 – August 9, 2020 • El Paso, TX Twitter iconFacebook icon

Festival

News
Circle content

Special guests announced for April 26 premiere of "Hearts on the Gila"


April 15

Friday’s premiere of the moving new documentary Hearts on the Gila — which comes a week after New Mexico’s Gila River was named the most endangered river in the country — will include special guests from the film.

The premiere screening of the documentary will be at 7 p.m. Friday, April 26 in the El Paso Community Foundation Room, 333 N. Oregon, across from San Jacinto Plaza. It is the first stop on a six-city tour of the film.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Albuquerque-based director David Garcia, and Patrice Mutchnick and Jennifer Mahl, two of the three women featured in the work-in-progress documentary, which will be entered into film festivals later this year.

Doors open at 6 p.m. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be served. There will be a cash bar (beer and wine). Parking is available nearby at the Chase/Mills Plaza Parking Garage on Oregon Street.

Admission is $10 at the door, or in advance at epcf.org/gila.

Hearts on the Gila chronicles friends Jennifer Douglass, Mahl and Mutchnick as they journey down the Gila River, the last free-flowing river in New Mexico. They were in search of hope and solace on a tribute voyage to their teenaged children — Ella Jaz Kirk, Michael Sebastian Mahl and Ella Sala Myers — who died in 2014 in a plane crash while conducting an environmental research project in the Gila Wilderness.

Last week, the American Rivers conservation group named New Mexico’s Gila River 2019’s most endangered river in the country, citing climate change and a long-gestating diversion project.

Grecia Nunez, a public lands fellow with New Mexico Wild, will give an update on federal wild and scenic legislation for the river. Alexandra Tager, a board member of the Heart of the Gila preservation and advocacy nonprofit, will be on hand to answer questions.

The El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival hosts the screening, the first stop of a six-city tour that includes Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, Silver City and Mesilla in New Mexico. The tour is presented by Heart of the Gila, New Mexico Wild and the Center for Biological Diversity.

The filmmakers have launched a crowdfunding campaign to finish the film. Click here to contribute.

To learn more about the film or watch the trailer, click here.


EPCF/PCFF host 'Hearts on the Gila' benefit screening on April 26


April 05

Journey down the Gila River with three mothers in search of hope and renewal after the tragic loss of their children in a screening of the work-in-progress documentary Hearts on the Gila at 7 p.m. Friday, April 26 in the El Paso Community Foundation’s Foundation Room, 333 N. Oregon, across from San Jacinto Plaza in downtown El Paso.

Doors open at 6 p.m.

Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be served. There will be a cash bar (beer and wine).

Parking is available nearby at the Chase/Mills Plaza Parking Garage on Oregon Street.

Admission is $10 at the door or online at epcf.org/gila. Proceeds go to Heart of the Gila.

The El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival hosts the screening, the first stop of a six-city tour that includes Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, Silver City and Mesilla in New Mexico. The tour is presented by Heart of the Gila, New Mexico Wild, and the Center for Biological Diversity, nonprofit groups dedicated to protecting and promoting wild and scenic protection for New Mexico’s last wild river.

Albuquerque filmmaker David Garcia and some of the film’s subjects will participate in a Q&A after the screening.

Hearts on the Gila takes place four years after three mothers lost their teenage children in a tragic plane crash. The women embarked on a 36-mile kayak journey down the Gila River into the Gila Wilderness in southwestern New Mexico. Their children, passionate environmentalists who were inextricably linked to the Gila, were studying the effects of a devastating forest fire when their plane went down in high wind. The mothers look for hope and solace on the waters of one of America’s last wild rivers and one of America’s great natural treasures.

In Garcia’s film, the women learn about themselves, their children’s legacies, and the importance of wild river systems to the spiritual health of humanity in a world where wild places are rapidly disappearing.

The tour of this work-in-progress version of Hearts on the Gila — which will be submitted to major film festivals around the world when completed this year — is designed to raise awareness of the challenges facing the river, which runs through the nation’s first official wilderness area. The screenings will be an opportunity for audience members to engage in a direct way with the filmmaking process and to dialogue in person with the filmmaker and some of the film’s subjects.


'BlacKkKlansman' benefit screening is this Thursday, March 21


March 18

Award-winning journalist Bob Moore will join best-selling author Ron Stallworth and his wife, Patsy Terrazas-Stallworth, for a special benefit screening of the the Oscar-winning film BlacKkKlansman at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 21 in the Foundation Room, 333 N. Oregon.

Doors open at 6 p.m.

Ron and Patsy will take part in a Q&A after the screening. Former El Paso Times editor Moore will moderate. The movie is based on Ron’s book, Black Klansman.

Hosted by the El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival, the screening is a benefit for the Migrant Families Relief Fund in the El Paso Community Foundation.

Tickets are a suggested donation of $50, available at epcf.org/bkkk and at the door. Souvenir tickets will be handed out at the door.

Stallworth, who was a guest at last year’s Plaza Classic Film Festival, has described his Hollywood experience with the film and his book as “once in a lifetime.” The El Paso-based author’s memoir details how the Austin High School graduate and Colorado Springs police detective infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the late 1970s.

It was published independently in 2014 and reissued in 2018 by McMillan’s Flatiron Books, becoming a New York Times best-seller.

Pre-signed copies will be available for sale at the event from 6 to 8 p.m.

Director Spike Lee’s film version, BlacKkKlansman, has grossed more than $90 million since its Focus Features release on August 10, 2018. It was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It won the Oscar, Lee’s first, for Best Adapted Screenplay.

The New York Times called it one of Lee’s “greatest” films.

BlacKkKlansman is rated R.

The Migrant Families Relief Fund was created in 2018 to assist four El Paso nonprofits that provide shelter, legal services, advocacy and other support for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the U.S. — Annunciation House; the Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee; Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services; and Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center.

Go to epcf.org/families to donate.


PCFF 2019 now accepting Local Flavor submissions


March 07

The 12th annual El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival is accepting submissions for Local Flavor, the region’s largest showcase of locally made and connected films.

This year’s film festival will be August 1-11, 2019 in and around the Plaza Theatre.

Local Flavor entry is FREE.

The film series, sponsored by the Texas Film Commission, features short and feature-length films of various types, including fiction, documentary, animated, experimental and music video.

More than $1,500 in cash will be handed out in the second annual Local Flavor Awards, sponsored by the Public Relations Association of the Southwest.

Entry deadline is 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 16, 2019.

Submissions may be made at plazaclassic.com/localflavor.

Any type of film may be submitted. No works-in-progress will be accepted. Projects must have been completed January 1, 2018 or after, and must be made locally, locally set or have a connection of some kind to the El Paso-Juarez-Las Cruces area (such as a director originally from El Paso).

Entries selected for the Local Flavor series will be announced in July and screened during the festival.

Returning to curate Local Flavor are El Paso filmmakers Zach Passero (The Weird Kidz, The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot, Wicked Lake, Motel, Glimpse), who has been involved with the Plaza Classic Film Festival since it began in 2008, and Lucky McKee (Kindred Spirits, The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot, The Woods, The Woman), who first appeared at PCFF with his All Cheerleaders Die in 2014. That’s Zach pictured on the left, Lucky on the right at last year’s PCFF.

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


Author Ron Stallworth to headline 'BlacKkKlansman' benefit screening


February 20

Best-selling author Ron Stallworth will appear at a benefit screening of the Oscar-nominated 2018 film BlacKkKlansman at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 21 in the Foundation Room, 333 N. Oregon. Doors open at 6 p.m. Ron and his wife Patsy Terrazas-Stallworth will participate in a Q&A, moderated by journalist Bob Moore, after the screening.

Hosted by the El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival, the screening is a benefit for the Migrant Families Relief Fund in the El Paso Community Foundation.

Tickets are a suggested donation of $50, available at epcf.org/bkkk and at the door if available.

Stallworth is the El Paso-based author of the best-selling memoir Black Klansman, which details how the Austin High School graduate and Colorado Springs police detective infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s. It was published independently in 2014 and reissued in 2018 by McMillan’s Flatiron Books, becoming a New York Times best-seller.

Pre-signed copies will be available for sale at the event.

Director Spike Lee’s film version, BlacKkKlansmen, has grossed more than $90 million since its Focus Features release on August 10, 2018. It received a standing ovation and the Grand Prix award at France’s Cannes Film Festival last May. It is nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Lee’s first Best Director nomination. The Oscars are February 24. The movie is rated R.

The Migrant Families Relief Fund was created in 2018 to assist four El Paso nonprofits that provide shelter, legal services, advocacy and other support for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the U.S. — Annunciation House; the Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee; Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services; and Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center.

Go to epcf.org/families to donate.