Plaza Classic Film Festival is the World’s Largest Classic Film Festival!
By Guest Writer Cristina Vigil Salas & Cynthia Griffing
El Paso, TX (The Hollywood Times) 8/13/2014. ~ Summer brings The Largest Classic Film Festival back to The Plaza Theater. The Plaza Theater was constructed in 1929, by Louis L. Dent, who wanted to bring something to the people of El Paso. At the time Louis L. Dent told the El Paso Times, “El Paso has been good to me, and I am going to put something everybody will proud of.” The Plaza Classic Film Festival is doing just that! The festival is produced by the El Paso Community Foundation and will run August 7 – August 17.
Special guest attending the Plaza Classic Film Festival to meet fans of their films are;
Shirley Jones, “South Pacific”, “Oklahoma!”, “Carousel”, “The Music Man,” and “Elmer Gantry” for which she won an Academy Award. “The Partridge Family,” and her book “Shirley Jones: A Memoir.”
Robert Wagner, “Broken Lance,” “Beneath the 12-Mile Reef,” “Prince Valiant” and “A Kiss Before Dying,” for 20th Centrury Fox. Also known for his work in “The Pink Panther”, starring in three out of the park hits, “It Takes a Thief” (with Fred Astaire), “Switch” (with Eddie Albert) “Hart to Hart,”(Stefanie Powers and Lionel Strander). Most recently seen in “Two and a Half Men” and “NCIS.” Also the author of two books, his autobiography, “Pieces of My Heart: A Life” in 2008, and the reminisce “You Must Remember This: Life and Style in Hollywood’s Golden Age,” published in March 2014. Beth Henley, a Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award winning playwright/screenwriter/actor from Mississippi for “Crimes of the Heart”. “Crimes of the Heart” starred, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange and Sissy Spacek. Her other works include, “Nobody’s Fool,” “True Stories” and “The Miss Firecracker Contest.” Beth Henley’s plays, include “The Wake of Jamey Foster,” “The Debutante Ball,” “The Lucky Spot,” “Abundance,” “Signature,” “Control Freaks,” “L-Play” and “Impossible Marriage.” Mark Medoff, a playwright,/screenwriter/ director/ currently a member of the New Mexico State University faculty. He assisted in founding NMSU’s Creative Media Institute Film School. Mark Medoff is a Tony Award recipient , as well as, a London’s Olivier Award for his play “Children of a Lesser God,” which debuted on in Las Cruces on the NMSU’s. “Children of a Lesser God”, went on to become a movie (1986), starring Marlee Matlin and William Hurt. The screenplay garnered Mark Medooff an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1987. Mark Medoff is also credited with “Clara’s Heart” featuring Neil Patrick Harris, of Ruidoso, “Off Beat,” “City of Joy,” “Homage” and “Santa Fe”. “Santa Fe” was shown at the Sundance Film Festival. Mark Medoff has directed, “Children on Their Birthdays” and “Refuge”. Laura Emerick, is the digital content editor for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and formerly the arts editor of the Chicago Sun-Times. Scott McGee, is a senior writer/producer at Turner Classic Movies. Lucky McKee, is a writer/ director/ author. Lucky McKee’s first feature film in 1999, “All Cheerleaders Die,” a zombie movie written and directed with Chris Sivertson. Lucky McKee, has directed, “May” (2002), “The Woods” (2007), and “The Woman” (2011). Lucky McKee has collaborated with Jack Ketchum in writting two books, “The Woman” and “I’m Not Sam.” “I’m Not Sam” was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award and a Shirley Jackson Award for best long fiction. Look for the 2014’s re-imagining of “All Cheerleaders Die” (also with Sivertson). Rajeev Nirmalakhandan,is the writer and director of “The Odd Way Home”. Zach Passero, founder of ZP Studios which are based in El Paso, TX. Zach Passero, is a 20 year veteran working as director/editor/animator. Phillip Rodriguez, is an award-winning filmmaker, fellow at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism and winner of the first annual United States Artists Broad Fellow Award in 2006. Phillip Rodriguez works have been shown at festivals, universities, museums and theaters around the world, including Centre Georges Pompidou, the Guadalajara International Book Fair, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Smithsonian National Gallery and the AFI International Festival. “Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle,” about the El Paso-raised Los Angeles Times journalist, premiered on PBS in April and won Best Documentary at the 2014 San Antonio CineFestival and the 2014 Denver XincanIndie Festival. “RACE 2012: A Conversation About Race and Politics in America” was awarded a 2013 CINE Golden Eagle Award. “Latinos ’08” received a 2009 CINE Golden Eagle Award. “Brown is the New Green: George Lopez and the American Dream” was awarded the 2008 Imagen Award for Best TV Documentary. Shaun Redick, a leading movie producer with credits for “The Messenger,” with Woody Harrelson. “Powder Blue,” starring Forest Whitaker and Patrick Swayze, “And So It Goes
,” with Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas, on which he served as an executive producer and the action film. “In the Blood,” with MMA star Gina Carano, on which he was a producer. “La Bare,” Joe Manganiello’s documentary about a Dallas male strip club. Among MPC’s most recent ventures is Slasher Films, formed with former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, which released “Nothing Left to Fear” in 2013. Elisa Sanchez,is the daughter of Angelina G. Sanchez, who played Consuelo Ruiz in 1954’s “Salt of the Earth.” Walter Strony, has returned to the Plaza Theater as a well known premiere concert and theater organists, Walter Strony has recorded more than 30 albums, written books about theater organs and designed his own line of the instruments for the Allen Organ Co. Ryan Piers Williams, writer,/director,/producer/actor from El Paso, who attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Ryan Piers Williams has worked for Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney on several productions, including “Ocean’s Twelve,” “Ocean’s Thirteen,” “Goodnight and Good Luck” and “The Good German”. Ryan Piers Williams premiere of “The Dry Land,” which costarred America Ferrera, premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Dallas International Film Festival and Best International Feature at Scotland’s Edinburgh International Film Festival. He produced “Kilimanjaro,” a drama, which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in 2012. His second feature film, “X/Y,” about the complicated relationships of a group of friends in New York, debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2014. Yvette Yates, has had a number of roles in a variety of independently produced feature films. They include the comedy “Without Men” (with Eva Longoria Parker and Maria Conchita Alonso), plus playing the female lead in the action film “El Gringo,” a senator’s assistant in “Water & Power,” an undercover narcotics agent in “Free Ride,” a sexy sorority girl in “Sorority Party Massacre,” a kidnap victim in “The Red House,” a nurse in the action movie “In the Blood” and a part in Paul Thomas Anderson’s forthcoming project, “Inherent Vice.” Her performance in the title role of “Nina Quebrada,” which deals with the issues of human trafficking and child prostitution, was singled out for recognition at the Malibu International Film Festival, the Imagen Awards and the Los Angeles Latino Film Festival.
Vote for The Peoples Choice Award! Candidates are Stripes, Enter The Dragon, and A Nightmare on Elm Street.
About The Plaza Theater
The Plaza Theater has since been through, a decline in the 1050’s due to television, Drive-In theaters, and city development. The Plaza Theater was slated for demolition in 1973, being spared this by the Dipp Family. Many of the outstanding features had been auctioned off, including the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ. with that is when the El Paso then a rebuilding effort that came together in 2000, with Rita Mereno, coming through at the eleventh hour to help the fund raising efforts. One piece of trivia about the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ: In 1973, the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ was sold at auction and housed at the home of a private collector in Dallas. In 1998 the organ was restored and returned to El Paso as a donation by the late Karl O. Wyler Sr.. During renovations of the theater, the organ was put on display at Sunland Park Mall located in Northwest El Paso. The organ was rebuilt by Pipe Organ Artisans of Arizona, Tucson, and re-installed. The Opus 2123 console was returned to its original finish. For more information on the Plaza Theater in El Paso, TX please go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plaza_Theatre_%28El_Paso%29