Films at this year’s Las Cruces International Film Festival will explore issues such as social justice, immigration, space exploration and the human condition. The 2019 film festival presented by New Mexico State University and Visit Las Cruces runs Feb. 19-24 and offers the region the opportunity to screen more than 90 films – features, documentaries, short subjects, animation and foreign language films in all genres – in less than six days.
Each year, the festival honors well-known industry professionals, many of which participate in question and answer sessions after some of the films, as well as workshops and panel discussions throughout the week.
Special celebrity screenings this year include “The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez” starring Edward James Olmos, “River Runs Red” starring George Lopez, Taye Diggs and John Cusack and “Spare Parts” starring George Lopez.
“The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez” kicks off the festival at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19 at the Rio Grande Theatre and will feature the presentation of the Mark Medoff Humanitarian Award to Olmos following the film. Robert M. Young, age 94, an award-winning independent filmmaker, producer and director also will receive the LCIFF Auteur Award at the event.
“River Runs Red,” directed by Wes Miller, will screen at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20 at Allen Theatres Cineport 10. The action-packed battle for revenge follows two grieving fathers, a judge, and two dirty cops. Miller and several of the actors, including Lopez and the producers, will field questions from the audience after the film.
“Spare Parts,” starring George Lopez, begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21 at Allen Theatres Cineport 10. The film is based on the true story of four Hispanic high school students who form a robotics club and go up against the country’s reigning robotics champion MIT. After the film, Lopez will be honored with the LCIFF Outstanding Achievement in Entertainment Award.
Special screenings also include “Chi Town” and the documentary “The Wall.”
“Chi Town” follows Keifer Sykes on his meteoric rise from Marshall High School on Chicago's West Side to his improbable shot at the NBA. Former NMSU basketball player, Shawn Harrington, was coaching Keifer at his own high school alma mater years after appearing in the iconic basketball documentary Hoop Dreams, when he was shot and paralyzed in a case of mistaken identity. “Chi Town” screens at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22 at Allen Theatres Cineport 10. After the film, director Nick Budabin, Harrington, and Rus Bradburd, former NMSU assistant coach and current English professor, will take questions from the audience.
USA Today’s Pulitzer Prize winning documentary “The Wall” features rare footage from some of the most remote reaches of the U.S. – from the canyons of Texas’ Big Bend National Park to the Southern Arizona desert as Border Patrol agents recover bodies from the desert. “The Wall” screens at 12:45 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 at Allen Theatres Cineport 10. After the screening, a panel of contributing USA Today journalists will have a question and answer session with the audience.
Tickets to special celebrity screenings are $30. Tickets are $25 for a one-day pass to the festival. The VIP All Access ticket to all events and celebrity screenings is $150. Individual movie tickets are available separately. Tickets and information are available at www.LasCrucesFilmFest.com or by calling 575-646-6149.
LCIFF Panels and Workshops will include:
Representation in Film Panel 1:30-3 p.m.
From Film Student to Filmmaker Panel 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Screen Writing Panel 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
New Mexico Film Rebate: Rules and Regulations 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Foley Demonstration – Reproduction of everyday sound effects 2-4 p.m.
Workshop: Auditioning for Film and Television 4:30 or 5-6:30 p.m.
Stage Reading with Bill True – Actual table reading for a TV pilot at the Rio Grande Theatre, followed by a question and answer session. 10-11:30 a.m.
Editing Panel – Successful film editors share their secrets 12-2 p.m.
Making it Work in Hollywood Celebrity Panel 2-3:30 p.m. in Rio Grande Theatre
Beverly D’Angelo, “National Lampoon’s Vacation” movies, Zoe Perry “Young Sheldon,” Don Foster, “The Big Bang Theory,” and Mary T. Quigley, producer, costume designer “The Big Bang Theory.”
All panels and workshops will be at the Allen Theatres Cineport 10 except the Stage Reading and Making it Work in Hollywood Celebrity Panel, which will be at the Rio Grande Theatre.
Information from NMSU