‘Bless Me, Ultima‘ to premiere in the Sun City
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
With the collaboration between the El Paso Community Foundation and Arenas Entertainment of Los Angeles, the premiere of “Bless Me, Ultima” will take place Sept. 17 in El Paso’s Plaza Theatre.
“Bless Me, Ultima” is an adaptation of the Chicano novel written by New Mexico native Rudolfo Anaya. The story is set in World War II and follows a boy and a curandera (medicine woman) as they attempt to make sense of the battle between good and evil in their village.
According to Julie Talwater, EPCF program officer, El Paso was selected as the premiere city based on its market size, the Plaza Theatre as a venue and the cities affinity for the novel.
“I enjoyed Anaya’s ability to describe place, people and culture in a vivid manner. It is a lovely story of growing up, faith and family,” Talwater said. “(Premiering the film here) brings attention to the fact that El Paso is recognized for its support of arts and culture and that our historic Plaza Theatre is a source of great things for the region.”
The Plaza Theatre’s recent rank of 31 on Pollstar’s list of performing arts facilities, along with the success of the Plaza Classic Film Festival, had an impact in encouraging the film’s producer’s to premiere the film in El Paso, according to Talwater.
Jacqueline Aleman, senior art education major, was captivated by the novel’s spirituality and culture. She said she grew up reading Anaya’s novel.
“I believe that the Hispanic culture is keen in spirituality and folklore,” Aleman said. “This region has a historical and beautiful past which relates to the setting of the book.”
According to Aleman, “Bless Me, Ultima” is for people who love a story that’s rich with symbolism and mysticism.
Bridgette Montgomery, senior English and American literature major, said it’s a great idea to make the film since it would bring to life a lot of the imagery from the book.
“I think that it (‘Bless Me, Ultima’) premiering here in El Paso is a good way to bring this story to more people because not everyone has time to sit and read,” Montgomery said. “This is something that is familiar to us and seeing it in a film makes us realize things we don’t see about a culture that is familiar to us.”
The film was written and directed by Carl Franklin, his credits include the Denzel Washington thriller “Out of Time” (2009) and episodes from the HBO series “Rome” and “The Pacific.”
Many students such as Sergio Ramos, senior music education major, relate to the story and are looking forward to the film. According to Ramos, El Paso is a good location for this movie to be premiered because a great percentage of the population is Hispanic and are able, more or less, to connect with the material of the text.
“I think the novel retains elements that are very realistic and capable of being enacted,” Ramos said. “If the novel is recreated adequately it should make a fine film.”
The red carpet premiere on Sept. 17 will be a private event, but the film will open in theaters around El Paso Sept. 21.
Mario Simental may be reached at email@example.com.