News Column

The curtain closes on the Seventh Annual Plaza Classic Film Festival

August 17, 2014

By Alex Hinojosa, El Paso Times, Texas



Aug. 17--2014 Plaza Classic Film Festival schedule

The 7th annual Plaza Classic Film Festival will draw its curtains Sunday.

This year's festival, produced by the El Paso Community Foundation, began on Aug. 7 and featured 80 movies. The festival showcased films from 1914 to 2014. About 40,000 attended the festival, officials said.

"This festival has been as smooth as it could possibly be," said Eric Pearson, president and CEO of the El Paso Community Foundation. "We expanded and broadened our festival this year."

Special guest stars were Oscar-winning actress Shirley Jones, who introduced "Oklahoma!" and "Elmer Gantry," and Oscar-nominated actor Robert Wagner who introduced "The Towering Inferno," and "A Kiss Before Dying."

Wagner also signed autographs for his book, "You Must Remember This: Life and Style in Hollywood's Golden Age," on Saturday.

Sunday, the film festival will feature a brunch with El Paso native and filmmaker Ryan Piers Williams at 11 a.m., at the Foundation Room at 333 N. Oregon. The brunch is free but seating is limited.

"One thing the foundation wanted to do was support local artists and that is why we started featuring local filmmakers and bands," Pearson said. "We want to show that we have pride to showcase local filmmaker films, but also provide some opportunities for people to talk to those from here who have dipped their foot into the movie industry."

Williams, who is the husband of actress America Ferrera, produced the feature film "Kilimanjaro," and wrote and directed the film "X/Y." Williams has worked for George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh on "Ocean's Twelve," and "Ocean's Thirteen." He also wrote and directed "The Dry Land."

Williams said the inspiration for the film "X/Y" came while he was observing people in New York City.

"I would see people on the streets every day and I was just noticing their every day interactions," Williams said. "I noticed that it seemed like people were having such a hard time with their relationship and this constant struggle to find deep meaningful relationships. I thought -- here we are in a world where we are hyper connected to a world of technology, and we can connect with people and their lives. But as a society we have lost a little bit our ability to really connect with each other one on one."

The festival's closing movie will be "All the President's Men" at 7 p.m. It will feature an introduction by El Paso Times editor Robert Moore.

"All the President's Men" is an American political thriller from 1976 that was based on the 1974 book by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, the two journalists who investigated the Watergate scandal for the Washington Post that eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. The film stars Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.

Moore was the 2013 recipient of the Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award from the National Press Foundation, the nation's oldest and most prestigious award for newspaper and magazine editors. Bradlee was the longtime editor of the Washington Post, including during the Watergate saga that was the focal point in "All the President's Men." He was portrayed in the movie by Jason Robards, who won an Academy Award for the performance.

"I think the film holds up well almost 40 years later. It does a good job of capturing the persistent, incremental nature of difficult investigative work," Moore said. "Most importantly to me, it captures the romantic notion that journalists can be a positive force for change, which is what drew me to the profession."

Tickets for the festival's final film showing are $8.

Since it began in 2007, the festival has attracted more than 225,000 fans, and shown more than 400 movies and created $1.5 million in annual economic impact, foundation officials said.

Alex Hinojosa may be reached at 546-6137.

Times reporter Margaret Gallardo contributed to this report.

Plaza Classic Film Festival Schedule

--Brunch with filmmaker Ryan Piers Williams, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., The Foundation Room, free.

--"Becket" (1964), noon-3 p.m., Philanthropy Theatre, $4.

--"Harvey" (1950), 1-3:30 p.m., Kendle Kidd Performance Hall, $6.

--"Whale Rider" (2002), 2-4 p.m., El Paso Museum of Art, free.

--Ghostlight Creative 48-Hour Film Slam, 2-4 p.m., The Foundation room, free.

--"Zoot Suit" (1981), 3:30-5:30 p.m.Philanthropy Theatre, $4.

--"Safety Last!" (1923) with live organ accompaniment by Walter Strony, 4-6 p.m., Kendle Kidd Performance Hall, $6.

--Film Talk: "All the President's Men," 6-6:30 p.m., Camino Real Dome Bar, free.

--"All the President's Men" (1976), 7-10 p.m., Kendle Kidd Performance Hall, $8.

For more schedule information, visit plazaclassic.com.

___

(c)2014 El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas)

Visit the El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas) at www.elpasotimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: El Paso Times (TX)


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