World's Largest Classic Film festival
Information sourced from Doug Pullen
Typically, PCFF shows more than 90 movies over 11 days in and around the historic Plaza Theatre in downtown El Paso, TX. Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 edition of the Plaza Classic was a hybrid of 11 nights of pop-up drive-in movies and five days of digitally streamed content.
• The Plaza Classic Film Festival’s namesake, the Plaza Theatre, opened on September 12, 1930 and closed in the 1980s. The El Paso Community Foundation purchased and led the effort to restore it in partnership with the City of El Paso. The Plaza Theatre reopened in after a $42 million restoration and renovation. The Plaza Classic Film Festival was created in 2008 by the El Paso Community Foundation as a gift to the community, inspired by the 2006 restoration. All of the movies shown in the Plaza Theatre are preceded by performances
on the theater’s original, restored Wyler Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ.
• Plaza Classic Film Festival attendance averages more than 40,000 annually, with more than 15% percent visiting from outside the El Paso/Juarez/Las Cruces borderplex. Its economic impact is over $1.5 million annually. PCFF has shown more than 1,000 movies and attracted more than 500,000 people.
• Over its first 13 years, the Plaza Classic Film Festival has shown numerous signature classics such as Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, Citizen Kane, Psycho, City Lights, To Kill a Mockingbird and Singin’ in the Rain, many of them on 35mm film, and hosted the United States premiere of Sam Elliott’s The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot in 2018.
• In its first 13 years, the Plaza Classic Film Festival has featured appearances by numerous Academy Award-winners and stars, including Al Pacino, Richard Dreyfuss, Rita Moreno, El Paso native’s Debbie Reynolds and F. Murray Abraham, Kathleen Turner, Sam Elliott, Shirley Jones, Eva Marie Saint, director Peter Bogdanovich, Bruce Dern, Ali MacGraw, Tippi Hedren, Cindy Williams, animator (and El Paso native) Don Bluth, and Mexico’s Elsa Cardenas.
• In addition to Hollywood classics, the Plaza Classic Film Festival features children’s movies, foreign films, outdoor screenings, contemporary documentaries and independent releases, cult classics and Local Flavor, the region’s largest showcase for local filmmakers, sponsored by the Texas Film Commission. The Plaza Classic also hosts the annual Holiday Movies at the Plaza Theatre in partnership with El Paso Live.
Information given by Doug Pullen. He is the Plaza Classic Film Festival Programer