Actor and producer Edward James Olmos will receive the Mark Medoff Humanitarian Award at the 2019 Las Cruces International Film Festival following a screening of his film “The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19 at the Rio Grande Theatre. The festival, presented by New Mexico State University and Visit Las Cruces, will run Feb. 20-24.
Olmos’ award is among several to be given during the local film festival, which screens more than 100 films and brings in dozens of industry professionals. The actor recently finished shooting the film “Walking With Herb” in Las Cruces with George Lopez and Kathleen Quinlan. The festival’s executive director Ross Marks directed the film “Walking with Herb” and is a professor with NMSU’s Creative Media Institute.
“He is reluctant to call himself an activist but he clearly is one,” Marks said. “His humanitarian resume speaks for itself: A Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, a board member for children’s hospitals in Los Angeles and Miami, a spokesman for the Southwest Voter Registration Project (a non-profit that helps Latinos with voter registration) are just some examples of the causes he has dedicated his time to.”
Olmos has achieved success as an actor and producer in a career that spans more than 30 years. In 1988, the actor was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Golden Globe for his portrayal of Jaime Escalante in “Stand and Deliver.” Olmos directed and starred in his first motion picture, “American Me,” in 1992. Olmos earned a Tony nomination for the role in “Zoot Suit.”
The Tony, Emmy and Academy Award-nominated actor, is probably best known to young audiences for his work as Admiral William Adama on the SYFY channel television series “Battlestar Galatica.” In 2007, he directed the HBO movie “Walkout” for which he earned a Director’s Guild of America nomination in the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television category.
“He makes, on average, some 150 personal appearances a year to places where he can reach kids at risk; juvenile halls, detention centers, boys/girls clubs, schools – anywhere he can get across his message that ‘we all have a choice’ about where life takes us,” Marks said. “He uses his own life as an example. He was raised in East Los Angeles, known for its gang problems. We are proud to have Edward James Olmos receive the 2019 Mark Medoff Humanitarian Award.”
The LCIFF is tied to NMSU’s Creative Media Institute and provides a variety of opportunities for local film students. Marks explained LCIFF is the only festival partnered with a university and he is proud of the fact last year’s event was put on entirely by students with the exception of three people.
Tickets for the 2019 Las Cruces International Film Festival are on sale now at www.LasCrucesFilmFest.com.
Information from NMSU