As the old saying goes, “The show must go on” and to that point, the El Paso Community Foundation’s 13th annual Plaza Classic Film Festival is going on tour and online.
Due the COVID-19 pandemic, the Plaza Classic will be a hybrid festival, with 11 consecutive nights of pop-up drive-in movies at various locations around El Paso, and 5 days of digitally streamed films via the festival’s website.
The outdoor movies will run from July 30 through August 9; while the streamed movies start August 5 and run through the 9th.
To continue the festival’s tradition, the Community Foundation wanted to do something positive for the community, but in a safe way.
“Social distancing measures will be enforced, vehicles will be spaced apart in a checkerboard pattern,” PCFF officials shared. “Patrons are strongly encouraged to stay in their vehicles; they’re welcome to bring their own food and beverages as concessions will not be available at most locations.”
The Plaza Classic Film Festival On Tour opens July 30 with the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine (the sing-along version) at Ardovino’s Desert Crossing, followed by two nights at the El Paso Community College’s Valle Verde campus, with Jaws and Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid on July 31, and Smokey and the Bandit and the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup on August 1.
Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds shows August 2, followed by E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial August 3, both at Camp Cohen Water Park (formerly Cohen Stadium).
The tour continues with Jurassic Park August 4 and Selena August 5 at the El Paso County Coliseum; and two nights at The Hospitals of Providence East Campus, where 1956′ Godzilla, King of the Monsters! screens on August 6, and Young Frankenstein shares a bill with Frankenstein on August.
The tour closes with PCFF’s 12th annual showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, on a double bill with Hedwig and the Angry Inch, on August 8, and Casablanca on August 9 at the El Paso International Airport’s newly christened Hangar 7 Studios, located at the intersection of Airport Road and Leigh Fischer Boulevard.
Features on Sundays through Thursdays will be preceded by Laurel and Hardy shorts, Three Stooges shorts, or Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons.
Admission begins at 7:30 p.m. Programs start at 8:30 p.m. Parking will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Mask-wearing attendants will park vehicles (cars, pickup trucks, vans and SUVs only).
Sound will be broadcast via low-power FM radio. The frequency will be announced on the screen at each show.
Admission is $25 per vehicle for all shows, including double features. Advance tickets go on sale Friday, July 17 online. Additionally, contactless ticketing will be available at each site, if the show is not sold out.
Portable restrooms will be available at each location.
The Plaza Classic Film Festival Online runs August 5 through 9, via the festival’s website.
It will feature digitally streamed programs, including the Local Flavor filmmaker showcase, documentaries, indie features, and an exclusive screening of Amadeus, with a special guest appearance by Academy Award-winning El Paso High alum F. Murray Abraham.
The schedule will be posted soon on plazaclassic.com.
The festival is made possible by the generous support and cooperation of Ardovino’s Desert Crossing, the El Paso Community College, the El Paso International Airport, El Paso Live, the El Paso Parks and Recreation Department, the El Paso Sports Commission, Paul L. Foster Family Foundation, GECU, Debbi Hester/Realtor and Perry Hester/Realtor, the Hospitals of Providence, In*Situ Architecture, Mills Plaza Properties, the Museums and Cultural Affairs Department, the Texas Film Commission, TFCU, and Tammy Vasilatos CPA.