El Paso, TX

Aug 3-13, 2017 • El Paso, TX Twitter iconFacebook icon

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Richard Dreyfuss


Born Richard Stephen Dreyfus in Brooklyn, New York, Richard Dreyfuss worked his way up through bit parts in movies (he has a line near the end of The Graduate) and TV before gaining attention with his portrayal of Baby Face Nelson in John Milius’ Dillinger. He gained prominence as a college-bound young man in George Lucas’ American Graffiti and as a nervy Jewish kid in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.

By the latter part of the 1970s, Dreyfuss was a major star, playing leads (and alter-egos) for Steven Spielberg in two of the top-grossing films of that decade — Jaws (1975) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). He won the Academy Award for Best Actor as an out-of-work actor in The Goodbye Girl.

After a brief lull in the early 1980s, a well-publicized drug problem and a string of box-office disappointments, a clean and sober Dreyfuss re-established himself in the mid-’80s as one of Hollywood’s more engaging leads. He co-starred with Bette Midler and Nick Nolte in Paul Mazursky’s popular Down and Out in Beverly Hills. He provided the narration and appeared in Rob Reiner’s nostalgic Stand By Me. He followed that with Nuts, opposite Barbara Streisand; Barry Levinson’s Tin Men, with Danny DeVito; and the two Stakeout movies, with Emilio Estevez.

Dreyfuss worked steadily through the 1990s, most notably in Mazursky’s farce Moon Over Parador, Spielberg’s Always, Mike Nichols’ Postcards From the Edge, and Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. He received some of the best notices of his career in the title role of 1995’s Mr. Holland’s Opus, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award.

Other movie credits include Once Around, What About Bob?, Lost in Yonkers and The American President. Dreyfuss has remained active in the theater (Death and Maiden) and on TV, including the title role in 2016’s Madoff and this year’s Shots Fired. He has a handful of movie projects in production or pre-production.

Richard Dreyfuss will appear for on-stage interviews with Jaws at 7 p.m. Saturday, August 12, and Mr. Holland’s Opus at 1 p.m. Sunday, August 13, in the Plaza Theatre. He also will sign autographs from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, August 12, in the Foundation Room.


Kathleen Turner


Mary Kathleen Turner is an American film and stage actress who was born in Springfield, Missouri. She studied theater in college, earning a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She landed a role on the TV soap opera The Doctors soon after and has built a career that includes two Golden Globe Awards, two Tony Award nominations and one Academy Award nomination.

She rose to fame in the 1980s, first as the sexy femme fatale Matty Walker in 1981’s Body Heat. Starring roles followed in The Man with Two Brains, with Steve Martin, and Ken Russell’s Crimes of Passion, but it was the surprise 1984 hit Romancing the Stone, in which she played romance novelist Joan Wilder opposite Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito, that earned Turner her first Golden Globe Award.

She was nominated again for Prizzi’s Honor (1985) and reprised the Wilder role in the Romancing the Stone sequel Jewel of the Nile. She won numerous awards and an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of the conflicted Peggy Sue Bodell in *Peggy Sue Got Married *(1986).

Known for her sultry voice, Turner was chosen to provide the voice of the voluptuous Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. She continued to play leading roles into the 1990s, including in V.I. Warshawski, Serial Mom and The Virgin Suicides, but her career was slowed by a lengthy and painful battle with rheumatoid arthritis.

Turner also has found success on the stage, receiving Tony Award nominations for starring roles in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? She also starred in London and Broadway productions of The Graduate.

Notable TV roles include Chandler Bing’s drag queen father on NBC’s Friends, the sex-crazed Sue Collini on Showtime’s Californication, and Brenda Roberts on Hulu’s The Path. She also stars in the forthcoming comedy/drama movie Someone Else’s Wedding.

Kathleen Turner will appear for on-stage interviews with Peggy Sue Got Married at 7 p.m. Friday, August 4, and Romancing the Stone at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, August 5, in the Plaza Theatre Kendle Kidd Performance Hall. She will sign autographs from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, August 5, in the Foundation Room.


Don Bluth & Gary Goldman


Don Bluth is one of the most prestigious animators in the industry and one of the strongest voices in support of traditional hand-drawn animation. Bluth designs all the characters in his films, serves as key storyboard artist, and has been known to write clever songs to accompany his lively and amusing characters.

He was born into a family of seven children in El Paso, where he became interested in drawing as a boy. After watching a 1944 reissue of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Don decided he wanted to work for Walt Disney. He later grew up on a farm in Payson, Utah, and completed high school in Santa Monica, CA. After high school, Don landed a position in the Disney animation department as an in-betweener. He worked for Disney from 1955 through 1956 on the classic motion picture Sleeping Beauty (1959).

Gary Goldman was born in Oakland and raised in Watsonville, CA. He studied piano and enjoyed model-making and drawing as a boy. He served as an electronics technician in the United States Air Force (1962-1967). He received his Associate of Arts Degree (1969) from Cabrillo College near Santa Cruz, CA, and two years later graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Life Drawing and Art History from the University of Hawaii.

After his initial stint with Disney, Don spent 30 months as a Mormon missionary in Argentina, then enrolled at Brigham Young University, spending his summers working for Disney. He returned to animation as a layout artist for Filmation Studios, a television production company, where he soon ran the animation department. In April 1971, Bluth joined Walt Disney Productions as an animator, beginning what would be considered a skyrocket ride to the top of the field. Goldman joined Disney in 1972 and they became fast friends, sharing a desire to restore the heritage of classical animation to today’s films.

Don started as an animator on Robin Hood (1973) and was promoted within two years to directing animator on Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974) and The Rescuers (1977). Gary worked as an in-betweener for Disney animation legend Frank Thomas on Robin Hood, and was an animator on the Winnie the Pooh short. Bluth and Goldman were directors of animation on Pete’s Dragon (1977). Later, Bluth produced and directed the short The Small One (1978), on which Goldman was director of animation.

Inspired by many of Disney’s classics and filled with a desire to restore that quality to animated films, Bluth began a short project in his garage with Goldman and fellow Disney animator John Pomeroy. They worked on Banjo the Woodpile Cat (1979) for more than four years in their spare time. It aired on ABC three years later, won the National Film Advisory Board Award for excellence and the Golden Scroll Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films.

In September 1979, the trio resigned from Disney to start their own independent animated production company, Don Bluth Productions Inc. Three years later, they released The Secret of NIMH (1982), based on Robert C. O’Brien’s award-winning novel, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of N.I.M.H. It won the Saturn Award for Best Animated Feature. Their follow-up effort, An American Tail (1986), ushered in a new era of success for the full-length animated feature, becoming the highest-grossing animated film of its time. The film’s theme song Somewhere Out There, received two Grammy Awards and an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.

Bluth and partners ventured into the video game world, creating the first interactive laser disc game, Dragon’s Lair (1983), and two more titles, Space Ace (1983) and Dragon’s Lair II: Timewarp (1991). Dragon’s Lair received the Inkpot Award for the First Interactive Laser Disc Arcade Game and an Arkie Award for Best Arcade Audio/Visuals. It was a Top 10 best-seller through 1999.

In 1986, they moved their entire operation to Dublin at the invitation of the Irish government. Their third feature film, The Land Before Time (1988), was their first created entirely in Ireland. Released by Universal Pictures during Thanksgiving, it achieved a record-breaking opening weekend gross for an animated film. Their subsequent efforts include All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989), Rock-A-Doodle (1991), Thumbelina (1994), and A Troll in Central Park (1994).

Bluth and Goldman left Ireland in 1994 to lead the Fox Animation studio in Phoenix. The first production completed by the studio was the hit animated musical Anastasia (1997), which received two Oscar nominations and inspired the recent Broadway musical. They also released the direct-to-video musical, Bartok the Magnificent (1999) and the animated space opera Titan A.E. (2000). In early 1999, Bluth formed a new company with Goldman, Pomeroy, Rick Dyer, and David Foster to develop a 3D version of Dragon’s Lair, which was released in 2002.

Don continues independent filmmaking with Gary, establishing their new company Don Bluth Films Inc. in Phoenix. They have begun work on a movie version of Dragon’s Lair and recently launched Don Bluth University to teach animation online. Don has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1976. Gary joined in 1978.

Don Bluth and Gary Goldman will appear for an on-stage interview with The Secret of NIMH at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, August 12 in the Plaza Theatre. They also will appear for a Filmmaker’s Brunch Q&A at 11 a.m. Sunday, August 13 in the Foundation Room.


Karen Cadle


With a contacts list that reads like a who’s who of the entertainment world, veteran television producer and director Karen Cadle has produced and directed hundreds of celebrity interviews. She has run her agency, Karen Cadle International — one of the leading sources of celebrity guests at memorabilia and autograph conventions — since 1996. Karen first gained recognition for her eight-year stint on TV’s Hour Magazine, where she produced and directed presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and stars such as Robert Redford, Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett. In demand as a celebrity producer and director, she has produced specials with Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis and others. Her producing credits include Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and The Whoopi Goldberg Show.

*Karen Cadle will interview Richard Dreyfuss with Jaws at 7 p.m. Saturday, August 12, and Mr. Holland’s Opus at 1 p.m. Sunday, August 13, in the Plaza Theatre Kendle Kidd Performance Hall. *


Laura Emerick


British rock icon Morrissey refuses to watch films released after 1970. Laura Emerick, digital content editor for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and formerly the arts editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, agrees in principle with that philosophy, if not to that extreme. Her all-time favorite films all predate that watershed year: Vertigo (1958), The Leopard (1963), Sweet Smell of Success (1957) and The Grapes of Wrath (1940). Golden-era films are among her passions, and that’s why the Plaza Classic Film Festival has become one of her favorite annual destinations. At the Sun-Times, she served for 20 years as the editor for film critic Roger Ebert, who used to insist that “if a movie is in black and white, there’s a better than 50 percent chance it will be worth seeing.” She’s looking forward to this year’s screenings of the silent Sherlock Holmes, Fail-Safe, El Señor Fotografo, Citizen Kane (one of Roger Ebert’s favorite films) and Enamorada. This will be Laura’s ninth appearance at the Plaza Classic Film Festival.

Laura Emerick will introduce several movies at this year’s Plaza Classic Film Festival.


Scott McGee


Scott McGee is in his fourth year of sharing his extensive movie knowledge with Plaza Classic Film Festival fans. Scott is the director of program production at Turner Classic Movies and its new streaming service, FilmStruck, a collaboration with the Criterion Collection. As part of the team behind the TCM Classic Film Festival and the TCM Classic Cruise, he has programmed and introduced films and interviewed special guests at both events. He serves as host of the TCM Podcast, and has spoken at the George Eastman House, the Plaza Classic Film Festival, the Atlanta Film Festival, the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, as well as various universities and civic clubs. He is currently researching a forthcoming book on stunt work in movies.

Scott McGee will interview Kathleen Turner before Peggy Sue Got Married at 7 p.m. Friday, August 4 and Romancing the Stone at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, August 5 in the Plaza Theatre. He will introduce several movies at this year’s Plaza Classic Film Festival.


Zach Passero


Writer, director and animator Zach Passero is an El Paso native who, from a young age, knew he wanted to make visual stories — an inkling fueled mainly by cartoons and Jim Henson. Zach attended the USC Cinema School, focusing on production and animation. He has been working as a director, editor and animator for films, television and commercials. He frequently collaborates as editor for Lucky McKee’s films (Red, The Woman, Tales of Halloween and and PCFF 2014 inclusion All Cheerleaders Die). He also edited horror sleeper Jug Face and NBC/Universal’s Brian Keene’s Ghoul. His animation sequences have been featured on Showtime’s Masters of Horror. In 2008, Passero’s directed the feature film, Wicked Lake. It and his Motel, Glimpse have been shown at the Plaza Classic Film Festival. His animated shorts, created with his wife Hannah, have been touring the world in film festivals. Zach has been a part of the film festival from the start in 2008.

Zach Passero will host a screening of his animated work in progress Weird Kidz at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, August 5 in the Foundation Room, part of the Local Flavor series sponsored by the Texas Film Commission.


Walt Strony


Known as one of America’s premiere concert and theater organists, Walt Strony has performed at five Plaza Classic Film Festivals, having accompanied The Phantom of the Opera in 2016, The Mark of Zorro in 2015, Safety Last in 2014, The Thief of Baghdad in 2013 and The General in 2010. Walter, a protege of organist Al Melgard, made his public performing debut at age 18 with films and symphony orchestras all over the world, and is frequently featured at conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the American Theatre Organ Society, which twice voted him its Organist of the Year and inducted him into its hall of fame in 2011.

Walt Strony will accompany three silent shorts during Plaza Days at 1 p.m. Thursday, August 3, will perform before our screening of The Graduate at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 3 and will accompany the 1916 silent classic Sherlock Holmes at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, August 6. All of those events are in the Plaza Theatre.


Bart Weiss


Bart Weiss is an award-winning independent film and video producer, director, editor and educator from Dallas. He is mostly known as the director and founder of the Dallas VideoFest. He produces the TV show Frame of Mind on KERA TV in Dallas, and is the artistic director of 3 Stars Cinema. He has traveled to Nigeria, Pakistan and China to show American documentaries for the U.S. State Department. He has taught film and video at Texas A&M’s Visualization Lab, Southern Methodist University, UT Austin, and West Virginia State College, and is currently an associate professor at UT Arlington. He is a former president of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), former (and founding) board member Dallas Artists Research and Exhibition (DARE), past vice president of the Texas Association of Film and Tape Professionals (TAFTP), founder and past president of the West Virginia Filmmakers’ Guild, and co-founder of the Dallas Video Festival and the Video Association of Dallas. He has been a video columnist for the Dallas Morning News, Dallas Times Herald, and United Features Syndicate. Bart received an MFA in Film Directing from Columbia University in 1978 and a B.A. in Radio TV and Film from Temple University in 1975.