Get a jump on the City of El Paso’s WinterFest — and the holiday season — with a FREE showing of Tim Burton’s wondrous The Nightmare Before Christmas, a stop-motion animated musical about the Pumpkin King’s attempt to kidnap “Sandy Claws” and take over Christmas.
It will be shown on the Plaza Theatre’s BIG screen at 7 tonight (Thursday, November 17), the first of nine movies included in our FREE Holiday Movies at the Plaza Theatre, sponsored by GECU and in partnership with El Paso Live. Seating begins at 6:30 pm, with Rick Garven playing the Wyler Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ.
The 1993 Disney release — it’s hard to believe that it will be 30 years old next year! — features a voice cast including Chris Sarandon as Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, Catherine O’Hara (Kevin’s mom in Home Alone) as Sally, the object of his affections, William Hickey as the evil Dr. Finkelstein, and Patrick Stewart as the narrator. The film’s luminous songs were written by Oingo Boingo’s Danny Elfman, who sings Jack’s role.
It’s just a spicey taste of what’s in store for this year’s Holiday Movies, which are FREE, meaning there are no tickets needed. Seating is first-come, first-served in the historic, 2,044-seat Plaza Theatre, which opened in 1930 and was restored by the El Paso Community Foundation and the City of El Paso in 2006.
The series continues with double features on Sundays, November 27 through December 18.
1 pm: A Christmas Story (PG, 1983)
3:30 pm: Home Alone (PG, 1990)
1 pm: Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009, PG)
3:30 pm: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000, PG)
1 pm: Elf (2003, PG)
3:30 pm: The Polar Express (2004, PG)
1 pm: Four Christmases (2008, PG-13)
3:30 pm: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989, PG-13)
For more on WinterFest, go to epwinterfest.com.
For more on the Holiday Movies and the Plaza Classic, go to plazaclassic.com.
The El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival teams up with El Paso Live to bring back the Free Holiday Movies at the Plaza Theatre, sponsored by GECU. This year’s schedule, part of the city’s annual WinterFest celebration, includes audience favorites Home Alone, Elf, and The Polar Express, and some new additions, including Ron Howard’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
The movie series will begin with Disney’s The Nightmare Before Christmas at 7 pm Thursday, November 17. The other eight seasonal movies — including a Jim Carrey double-bill on December 4 — will be shown at 1 and 3:30 pm Sundays November 27 through December 18, all in the historic Plaza Theatre. The movies are FREE. No tickets are required.
They will be presented “Plaza Classic style,” with an introduction and a 30-minute performance by Richard Garven and Ken Fedorick on the Wyler Mighty Wurliltzer Pipe Organ before each movie.
Here’s the schedule:
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
7 pm (PG)
A Christmas Story (1983)
1 pm (PG)
Home Alone (1990)
3:30 pm (PG)
Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009)
1 pm (PG)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
3:30 pm (PG)
1 pm (PG)
The Polar Express (2004)
3:30 pm (G)
Four Christmases (2008)
1 pm (PG-13)
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
3:30 pm (PG-13)
The movies are presented in partnership with El Paso Live, which this year is moving the ice rink from Arts Festival Plaza to the Convention Center Plaza. The Rink, presented by Chick-Fil-A, will open daily from November 19 through January 1. Tickets go on sale November 14. Go to epwinterfest.com for details.
The 16th annual Plaza Classic Film Festival will be July 20-30, 2023 in and around the Plaza Theatre. Festival Passes will go on sale for a discounted price from November 25 to December 31 at plazaclassic.com.
The Plaza Classic Film Festival is movin’ on up — by one week.
The 16th annual edition of the El Paso Community Foundation’s popular movie marathon will be July 20 through 30, 2023 in and around the Plaza Theatre.
That’s a week earlier than normal, the better to reduce overlap with the start of the school year for elementary, middle and high school students, their families, and educators.
It also allows us to bring back some of the children’s and family programming that was reduced for the 2021 and 2022 editions of the festival, which coincided with the earlier start of the school year. Most of that programming was packed into weekends instead of being spread throughout the festival.
The 2022 version of the festival ran July 28-August 7 and featured appearances by special guests Rita Moreno, El Paso native F. Murray Abraham (pictured), fellow El Paso native Germaine Franco (composer for Encanto), MacArthur fellows Cristina Ibarra (a Hanks High School graduate) and Alex Rivera, and Austin documentary filmmaker Iliana Sosa, a Franklin High School product.
Passes for next year’s festival are available at plazaclassic.com/tickets.
Las Cruces filmmaker Brandon Tyler’s evocative short film Arkansas, etc., took First Prize in the Plaza Classic Film Festival’s 2022 Local Flavor Awards, sponsored by Raiz Federal Credit Union and the Texas Film Commission. Tyler receives $1,000 for his efforts.
The $750 Second Prize went to Ryan Rox, also of Las Cruces, for the autobiographical That Tingling Sensation, a story rooted in the loss of a father.
Third Prize went to El Pasoan Christopher Rakas’ experimental short film Dada Noise 2. The prize is worth $500.
This year’s Audience Favorite was Melody, an animated short by Lauren Roman of Las Cruces (pictured). The vote was conducted via text, with 140 audience members participating. She receives $250.
Katie Kelly of the Texas Film Commission was on hand for the awards ceremony, which followed this year’s Local Flavor showcase, the first time it was held in the Plaza Theatre. An after-party was held at the patio at the Hotel Paso del Norte.
In related news, the winner of the first Plaza Classic Film Festival Screenwriting Competition is The Secrets of Professor Thomas, which is based on a true story about a cellist’s dream to impart his love of classical music to children. It was written by Joni Ravenna of Palm Springs, CA, and Joshua Townshend-Zellner of Los Angeles, CA.
They will receive $500, a Final Draft 12 software package and a consultation with Impossible Dream Entertainment.
A free table read of the screenplay will be this year’s Filmmakers Brunch event at 11 am Sunday, August 7 in the Foundation Room, 333 N. Oregon.
Congratulations to all who participated this year!
This is not so cheesy: Monday’s A Cheesy Affair dinner is SOLD OUT!
There’s no room left at the inn, er, Foundation Room.
If you purchased tickets online and don’t have them in hand, just come to the Foundation Room. We’ll check you off the list and hand you your souvenir dinner ticket and your ticket to Sleepless in Seattle.
Dinner is from 5-6:30 pm in the Foundation Room, 333 N. Oregon, with a menu from chef Omar Carranza inspired by the movie.
The movie Sleepless in Seattle is at 7 pm Monday in the Plaza Theatre.
If you’re not going to the dinner, you can still get tickets to the movie. They’re $8 at the box office.