El Paso filmmakers explain why Texas is not Hollywood

El Paso — Lights, cameras, but not much action in this nascent filmmaking community far from Los Angeles, the epicenter of global entertainment. There is no filmmaking infrastructure in this high desert community to entice venture capitalists and support movie producers, directors, actors and ancillary businesses that contribute mightily to the economic engines driving film industry friendly states like New York, Georgia, Louisiana and neighboring New Mexico, local officials and filmmakers said. There are several reasons why Texas is not Hollywood, local industry insiders said. In the last decade, the state has slashed the financial incentives it offers to filmmakers who want to make movies here. Currently, Texas incentives range from 5 percent to 20 percent based on the amount of money a film company is projected to spend before it wraps production in the state.

Despite success of Mexican filmmakers, there’s still a lot of work to do

The recent annual 88th Academy Awards ceremony was surrounded by controversy for its lack of African American nominees, but Latinos at least had the pleasure of watching Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Emmanuel Lubezki, Mexican-born filmmakers who worked together on The Revenant, receive major awards. Although Mad Max: Fury Road stole the show by winning six Oscars, Iñárritu and Lubezki took home Best Director and Best Cinematography, respectively, for their work on The Revenant. This marked the third year in a row that a Mexican director has won in the directing category, and this was Lubezki’s third Oscar for Best Cinematography in four years. Iñárritu, who also won Best Director in 2015 for Birdman, is taking Hollywood by storm, as is Lubezki, by having their work recognized widely by the public and awarded top Academy honors. The success of Iñárritu and Lubezki, and a few other Mexican and Mexican American film artists, has created an atmosphere of hope for Hispanics trying to make it big in Hollywood and is inspiring young Latino talent to continue on the path of filmmaking.

The Plaza Theatre reopened as the Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Center on March 17, 2006. (Oscar Garza/Borderzine.com)

The Classic Film Festival to welcome Al Pacino at El Paso’s historic Plaza Theatre

EL PASO – Nostalgia is a wonderful thing when you are well along in life. The memories of youth many times built around classic films are resurrected during the very rare film festivals held from time to time. Well, more than 80 classic films will be shown in El Paso in August. The Plaza Classic Film Festival will be held August 2 – 12 at the historic Plaza Theater. The festival was created in 2008 to celebrate this country’s rich cinema history and rekindle the joy of going to the movies.