The Nightmare Before Christmas, Elf, It’s a Wonderful Life, Die Hard (yes, Die Hard!), Frozen, and The Polar Express are among this year’s FREE Holiday Movies at the Plaza Theatre, presented by the El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival in partnership with El Paso Live as part of the City of El Paso’s sixth annual WinterFest.
This year’s free film series features 11 movies over six weekends from November 21 to January 2. It includes the R-rated films Love Actually (language, nudity, adult situations) and Die Hard (violence, language), both making their Holiday Movies debuts.
The schedule is:
1 p.m. — The Nightmare Before Christmas (PG)
4 p.m. — National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (PG-13)
1 p.m. — A Christmas Story (PG)
4 p.m. — Home Alone (PG)
1 p.m. — Elf (PG)
4 p.m. — The Polar Express (G)
2 p.m. — It’s a Wonderful Life (PG)
7 p.m. — Love Actually (R; language, nudity, adult situations)
1 p.m. — The Santa Clause (PG)
4 p.m. — Die Hard (R; violence, language)
1 p.m. — Frozen (PG)
In true Plaza Classic style, organists will perform on the Plaza Theatre’s original, restored Wyler Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ before each movie.
Masks are strongly encouraged. The seating area will be disinfected after each show.
WinterFest runs November 20 through January 2 in downtown El Paso. El Paso Live’s WinterFest Ice Skating Rink and Texas Gas Service Warming Tent will be in Arts Festival Plaza. It opens from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. November 20. The rink’s hours will be: 4-9 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays; 4-11 p.m. Thursdays; 4 p.m.-12 a.m. Fridays; 12 p.m.-12 a.m. Saturdays; and 12 p.m.-9 p.m. Sundays through January 2. Sessions are 50 minutes. Cost is $8 to skate; $5 for 5 and under.
Go to epwinterfest.com for details.
The Plaza Classic Film Festival returns for its 15th year July 28-August 7, 2022.
Discounted Festival Passes will be on sale November 26-December 31 at plazaclassic.com/tickets.
Go to plazaclassic.com for more information.
ABC affiliate KVIA aired a 3-minute 21-second piece on noted El Paso film historian and collector Jay Duncan on Tuesday’s 10 pm newscast, shortly after the network aired the special A Night in the Academy Museum special, which focused on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science’s expansive new museum in Hollywood.
Many people know Jay from his years hosting movies on local TV, codirecting the It! Came From the ’50s sci-fi festival and founding the Sunset Film Society. He’s also a member of the Plaza Classic Film Festival’s program advisory committee, and can be seen during the festival introducing movies and giving lectures as part of its free Film Talks series.
Click here to watch Jay’s interview with KVIA’s Jerry Najera.
If you went to see Raiders of the Lost Ark, Saturday Night Fever or Star Wars: A New Hope at this year’s Plaza Classic Film Festival, we hope you got there on time to see a locally made documentary honoring those working on the frontlines in the health care field.
Health Care Heroes, directed by El Paso native Ellie Ann Fenton, is a moving 12-minute documentary takes a personal look at the health care professionals, and one patient, who’ve been fighting the battle against COVID-19. It premiered at the Plaza Classic, screening in front of those three classic movies.
El Paso experienced one of the worst stretches of COVID-19 infections and deaths in the nation last year. In appreciation of those who continue that fight, the editors of El Paso Inc. chose to honor those doctors, nurses, techs and others who worked tirelessly in local hospitals and clinics, naming them collectively its El Pasoans of the Year for 2020.
The weekly teamed with the El Paso Community Foundation to produce Health Care Heroes, which was filmed over the summer, and includes footage from El Paso Inc.’s El Pasoan of the Year Awards Ceremony on June 10 at Southwest University Park. Fenton’s focuses on the experiences of various local health care workers and Patsy Stallworth, an El Paso Community Foundation donor, who battled to overcome the deadly virus.
Click the link below to watch.
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
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.