Plaza Classic Film Festival continues to showcase local talent
Published: Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
The Local Flavor section of the Plaza Classic Film Festival is giving local filmmakers the opportunity to expand their reach.
“The Local Flavor program has been around since the beginning of the Plaza Classic Film Festival,” said Carlos Corral, head organizer of Local Flavor. “Even before the Plaza festival existed, Gilbert Chavarria had begun showcasing indie films from El Paso filmmakers with The Good, The Bad, The Indie (GBI) program back in 2004.”
According to Corral, since the festival and GBI began at around the same time, Chavarria, GBI founder, and Charles Horak decided to combine forces and have GBI open the festival.
“GBI is now in its 8th year and the Local Flavor scene that spawned from it continues to grow,” Corral said.
The Local Flavor section caters to voices found in the region, it’s not explicitly dedicated towards them but the venue is distinctly for them, Corral said.
“The goal of the Local Flavor program is to showcase the entire film culture of West Texas, Southern New Mexico and Northern Mexico region,” Corral said. “You don’t have to live in this area, but if you grew up here in the Southwest region and you’re a filmmaker, this is the place to showcase your work and really express the roots one has here in (the) Southwest area.”
Jesus Olivas, a senior digital media production major, is entering his short film “Proper” which will be screened by GBI within Local Flavor.
“The Local Flavor series is great because it consolidates some of the best film-related material within the area and puts it front and center for the entire El Paso community to come out and enjoy,” Olivas said. “It’s inspirational as a student because it allows your work to be shown on a grand scale and it’s a really great thing to strive for, for younger up-and-coming students at UTEP. We all want our films to be screened and this is a great place to have it done.”
Corral feels Local Flavor is less restrained than the festival in its ability to showcase films with various focuses that venture into the most pleasantly unexpected.
“With the DSLR revolution, films are becoming easier to make and submit. The amount of entries we’ve received have been close to what we received years before. The Local Flavor series doesn’t really focus on a specific genre,” Corral said. “Aside from a few war films this year, we’ve got low-riders, zombies, narcos, exorcisms, police brutality, and burros.”
Corral is encouraged by the growing attendance of the Local Flavor over the years and has noticed the improvement to advertising via word-of-mouth.
“GBI always (has) the biggest turn out when it comes to the Local Flavor programs, although the shorts programs we added last year are start ing to catch on as well. The shorts programs are held in the El Paso Museum of Art Theater and range in 50 percent to 60 percent capacity during those screenings,” Corral said. “One hundred percent is what we all wish for of course. I’m hoping audiences come and give their love and support to our shorts programming because the films are only getting better and better.”
Filmmaker Charlie Minn, director of the Juárez trilogy, will be screening his film “8 Murder’s a Day” (2011) as part of the Local Flavor. A New York trained filmmaker, Minn has grown closer to the region while directing his documentaries dealing with the violence in the El Paso/Juárez border.
“The Juárez tragedy has affected so many people, my aim is to start a peace movement as well as donating money to the people of Juárez,” Minn said. “I hope many will turn out and ask questions afterwards... It’s nice to hear locals (say) I feel their voices are important.”
The Local Flavor section of the Plaza Classic, is more than a section but a continuing process that represents the unheard voices of the border.
“The Plaza Classic Festival brings with it a level of film love and appreciation to the area every year,” Corral said. “El Paso happens to be a city that loves going to the movies, so having the Local Flavor programing develop with the Plaza Classic means that anyone cannot only come see classic films, but indie films that they aren’t going to see anywhere else.”
The Local Flavor is part of the Plaza Classic Film Festival, which will run August 2 – 12. The Local Flavor will screen seven films in either the El Paso Museum of Art or the Philanthropy Theater. All films are free with the exception of “El Sicario; Room 164” (2010).
Mario Simental may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.