El Paso, TX

July 18 - July 28, 2024 • El Paso, TX


Local Flavor selections announced

July 12

Nine films — seven shorts and two features — were selected for Plaza Classic Film Festival Local Flavor showcase, sponsored by the El Paso Film and Creative Industries Commission and the Texas Film Commission.

The main program, the Local Flavor Showcase and Awards, features the seven shorts, submitted by filmmakers from El Paso, Ciudad Juarez, Las Cruces, NM and Los Angeles. It will be at 4 pm Sunday, July 30, the last day of the festival, in the Plaza Theatre. Tickets are $6 at the Plaza Theatre Box Office and Ticketmaster.

It will be followed immediately by a free reception for filmmakers in the Foundation Room, 333 N. Oregon, across from San Jacinto Plaza.

All seven shorts will be screened, followed by the presentation of the Local Flavor Awards — $1,500 first prize, $1,000 second prize, $750 third prize, and $250 for the audience favorite, which will be determined by a text-to-vote during the program.

Two feature-length submissions, which also are in the running for awards, will be shown separately at the El Paso Museum of Art.

This year’s selections were chosen by a panel consisting of filmmaker and New Mexico State University film professor Ilana Lapid of Las Cruces, film producer Javier Gonzalez of El Paso and El Paso Community Foundation staff member Asia Saucedo, a veteran of the Plaza Classic Film Festival.

Click here to see what’s in this year’s Local Flavor!

PCFF 2023 to premiere 'People of the Crossing' documentary

July 9

People of the Crossing: The Jews of El Paso will have its world premiere at this year’s El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival.

The one-hour documentary by California filmmaker Isaac Artenstein will be shown at 1 pm Sunday, July 23 in the Plaza Theatre. El Paso Matters founder Robert Moore will interview Artenstein on stage after the film. Tickets are $6, on sale at the Plaza Theatre Box Office (no service charge) and Ticketmaster.com (service charges apply).

A free public reception will follow from 2:30 to 4 pm that day in the Foundation Room, 333 N. Oregon.

People of the Crossing is a multi-layered portrait of El Paso’s Jewish community as told through family stories that explore the culture, customs, and history of this important gateway between continents, people, and languages. We learn from descendants of 19th century Jewish pioneers, current community leaders, artists, and historians about the uniqueness of Jewish El Paso, with its multicultural congregations made up of European, American, Mexican, and Middle Eastern Jews. Their testimonials are richly illustrated with historic photographs, film footage, and compelling cinematography from land and air highlighting El Paso’s geographic location at the foot of the Franklin Mountains and the shores of the Rio Grande.

Among those appearing in the documentary are Cliff Eisenberg, Mimi Reisel Gladstein, Chabad Lubavitch Rabbi Levi Greenberg, Hal Marcus, Susan Novick, Deborah (Feinberg) Rosen, Gerald Rubin, B’Nai Zion President Felicia Rubin, Stuart Schwartz, Lee Schwartz, Peter Svarzbein, and Temple Mount Sinai Rabbi Ben Zeidman.

People of the Crossing is the fifth in director Artenstein’s Jews of the Borderland series. Artenstein, who founded Cinewest Productions with wife Judith Artenstein, is the director and producer of several narrative films and documentaries, including Breaking Dawn, Love Always, A Day Without a Mexican, Ballad of an Unsung Hero and Challah Rising: The Jews of New Mexico, part of the Jews of the Borderland series.

The premiere is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of El Paso & Las Cruces and El Paso Matters, with support from the Feinberg Family Foundation and Felicia Rubin.

The Plaza Classic Film Festival returns for its 16th year July 20-30 in and around El Paso’s historic Plaza Theatre. More than 100 movies and events are planned, including an opening night screening of Casablanca at 7 pm July 20, and guest appearances by actors Edward James Olmos with Stand and Deliver (7 pm July 28) and The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1 pm July 29), and Helen Hunt, with As Good As It Gets (7 pm July 29) and Twister (1 pm July 30). Also screening are The Silence of the Lambs, Peter Pan, Psycho, When Harry Met Sally, Kramer vs. Kramer, Mrs. Doubtfire, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Batman, children’s movies and much more. The complete schedule is posted here.

Tickets are on sale at the Plaza Theatre Box Office and Ticketmaster.com. Festival passes are on sale here. Call 915-533-4020 for more information.

PCFF Tickets on Sale Now!

June 23

Mamma Mia! Tickets for the highly anticipated 16th annual Plaza Classic Film Festival are on sale now! You can purchase tickets at the Plaza Theatre Box Office and Ticketmaster.com.

Prepare yourself for an unforgettable cinematic experience at this year’s festival, which will be from July 20 to July 30.

We are thrilled that this year’s festival will feature special appearances by renowned actor Edward James Olmos, who will appear with two of his most iconic films, Stand and Deliver and The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez. And Academy Award-winner Helen Hunt will grace us with her presence to discuss her acclaimed performances in As Good As It Gets and Twister.

Transform the Plaza Classic Film Festival into an unforgettable family outing. We’re happy to present an extensive lineup of family-friendly movies that are guaranteed to bring joy to all ages. Our selection includes beloved classics such as Ponyo, Finding Nemo, and School of Rock, ensuring there’s something for everyone in your family. To enhance your movie-watching experience, we’re bringing children’s movies back to the Philanthropy Theatre, including Anastasia, The Muppet Movie, Babe, and Willow. Nestled upstairs within the historic Plaza Theatre, this intimate 200-seat venue adds a touch of elegance and charm for your viewing pleasure.

Don’t forget we will screen many familiar classics such as The Silence of the Lambs, Batman (1989), the original theatrical version of Psycho, and When Harry Met Sally. Our free outdoor screenings return, including Mamma Mia!, and our 15th annual showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Tickets are now available for individual films, allowing you to curate your own festival experience. However, for the ultimate movie lover, we are offering two exclusive passes. The Festival Pass, priced at $200, grants you access to almost all ticketed festival movies, along with the added perks of an express lane, reservations for Philanthropy Theatre movies, and invitations to special events. If you’re looking for a movies-only experience, our Movies Only Pass is available for $100, offering admission to most of the ticketed movies in the Plaza Classic Film Festival. You can purchase passes at plazaclassic.com/tickets.

Don’t miss this opportunity to immerse yourself in the magic of cinema and rub shoulders with some of the industry’s finest. Secure your tickets now and be part of the 16th annual Plaza Classic Film Festival!

Helen Hunt to appear at 16th PCFF

June 20

Academy Award winner and four-time Emmy Award winner actor, director, writer, and producer Helen Hunt will appear at the El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival, which returns for its 16th year July 20-30 in and around the Plaza Theatre in downtown El Paso.

Hunt will appear for on-stage, pre-screening interviews with 1997’s As Good As It Gets, for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress, at 7 pm Saturday, July 29, and the 1996 blockbuster Twister at 1 pm Sunday, July 30, both in the historic Plaza Theatre.

Helen Hunt grew up in the creative arts. Her father Gordon Hunt was a TV and stage director, mother Jane Hunt was a photographer, and her uncle Peter Hunt was a film and stage director. Helen’s career started as a child actor, appearing on episodes of TV’s The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bionic Woman, The Swiss Family Robinson and others before branching into movies as a teenager. Her early career credits include stints on TV’s St. Elsewhere and roles in movies, including Peggy Sue Got Married and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

It was her performance as PR specialist Jamie Buchman on TV’s Mad About You that catapulted her to superstardom in the 1990s. Hunt won four Emmy Awards for Best Lead Actress during the series’ seven-season run on NBC (a limited-run revival ran on Spectrum Originals in 2019). Hunt’s success coincided with her growing appeal at the box office, including starring roles in As Good As It Gets, What Women Want, Twister, Castaway, Pay It Forward, Dr. T and the Women, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, and The Sessions, for which she was nominated for an Oscar.

She wrote and directed the films Then She Found Me (with Bette Midler) and Ride, and has directed episodes of numerous television shows, including Mad About You, The Politican, Feud: Bette and Joan, This Is Us, Life in Pieces, House of Lies, and Californication. She currently stars as the mother of an imprisoned son in the Starz series Blindspotting, and acts on the stage, with Our Town and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night among her credits.

Hunt joins fellow multi-hyphenate Edward James Olmos as this year’s Plaza Classic special guests. They’re part of an 11-day film festival that includes screenings of Casablanca, The Silence of the Lambs, Peter Pan, Psycho (the original theatrical edition), When Harry Met Sally, Kramer vs. Kramer, Steamboat Bill Jr. and many more.

Individual tickets go on sale Friday, June 23 at the Plaza Theatre Box Office and Ticketmaster.com. Passes are on sale at plazaclassic.com/tickets.

Edward James Olmos is coming to PCFF 2023

June 8

Legendary actor Edward James Olmos will appear at the 16th annual El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival, which is July 20-30 in and around the Plaza Theatre.

Olmos will be interviewed before two of his signature films — 1988’s Stand and Deliver, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, at 7 pm Friday, July 28; and The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982), the first film produced by his Olmos Productions, at 1 pm Saturday, July 29, both in the Plaza Theatre. Tickets will be $10 for each event, and will go on sale June 23 at the Plaza Theatre Box Office and Ticketmaster.com.

Edward James Olmos has achieved extraordinary success as an actor, producer, director, and humanitarian. The Tony-, Emmy-, and Academy Award-nominated actor’s career spans more than 50 years. He created a signature style and aesthetic that he applies to every artistic endeavor, often grounding his characters in reality and gravitas. He’s known around the industry and the world for his dedication to his craft.

Olmos earned a Tony Award nomination for his portrayal of El Pachuco in Luis Valdez’s Zoot Suit (a role he reprised in the 1981 film). He received a Golden Globe for his characterization of inspirational real-life educator Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver, and has starred in numerous classic films, including Blade Runner, Selena, American Me (which he directed), and My Family/Mi Familia. He also starred in Walking With Herb, filmed in Las Cruces.

He has been a formidable presence on TV, playing the iconic characters on Battlestar Galactica, Miami Vice (for which he was nominated for two Emmys and Golden Globes), The West Wing, and Mayans M.C., now in its last season.

Olmos, who recently overcame a bout with throat cancer, also is known for his humanitarian work with organizations such as Thank You Ocean, the Project Hope Foundation, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, The Boys and Girls Club of America, and The River Keepers. He makes frequent speaking appearances at schools, universities, and corporations.

Individual tickets go on sale June 23 at the Plaza Theatre Box Office and Ticketmaster.com. Passes are on sale at plazaclassic.com/tickets.