Las Cruces International Film Festival 2019 Preview
Written by CHERYL FALLSTEAD
For anyone who doubted that Las Cruces is becoming a force in the film world, the number of Hollywood stars here in 2018 to fi movies, including Clint Eastwood, George Lopez, and Edward James Olmos, should set the record straight. In addition, the solid reputation being built by the Las Cruces International Film Festival is drawing more high-quality fi submissions and big names each year.
The 2019 Las Cruces International Film Festival (LCIFF) takes place February 20 – 24 and will be presenting the Outstanding Achievement in Entertainment award to George Lopez, who was here in 2018 filming Walking with Herb, based on the book of the same name by local author Joe Bullock. LCIFF Executive Director Ross Marks says, “Our opening night film is ‘River Runs Red,’ which stars George Lopez, John Cusack, Taye Diggs, R.J. Mitte, and Luke Hemsworth. We expect all these stars to be in attendance.”
In addition to drawing top-notch talent, a festival’s status can be judged by the movies submitted and Marks notes that over 500 films applied for acceptance for 2019, the most ever for LCIFF. He says, “Attendees will be exposed to a truly international selection of world- class fi that they can see on the big screen with digital projectors, surround sound, and the opportunity to interact with filmmakers. Usually filmgoers can’t interact with the filmmaker but during a fi festival, you can ask questions and give feedback.”
LCIFF includes fi full days of fi immersion, including screenings at Cineport 10, workshops on topics such as editing, screenwriting, independent filmmaking plus VIP parties at venues like Salud de Mesilla, La Posta, St. Clair Bistro, de la Vega’s Pecan Grill, and the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum. The festival wraps up with an awards ceremony February 23.
Marks says, “I think our slate of films is extraordinary. We had over 500 sub- missions, so we could select the best of the best of independent cinema. We also solicit great independent fi that have done well at other festivals. We have this unique experience where we bring in world-class independent films industry professionals who are well-established in their careers. Attendees can interact in the same way they could at Sundance, Toronto, or even Cannes. We think that creates a fabulous experience for our patrons.”
Even before a film is shown, there’s a party to enjoy when the collectible LCIFF poster, this year created by local artist Christina Ballew, is revealed. The poster release party is January 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Las Cruces Museum of Art. Tickets are $25 and provide a one-time opportunity to purchase a VIP festival ticket, normally priced at $150, for $100. In addition to hobnobbing with festival organizers, attendees will enjoy food and drink, get the film look at the poster, and receive a commemorative poster signed by the artist.
Prices for the festival are $150 for the VIP package, which includes all fi screenings, workshops, the VIP parties, and awards ceremony; $75 for all-access passes which include screenings and workshops ($25 for students); $25 for a pass for all screenings on a specific day; or $8 for individual screenings.
Marks says, “It’s a five-day event, so people can buy passes for a couple screenings, a day, VIP parties, or pick and choose based on their interests and availability. Some people spend all five days with us, some just want a few screenings. Th something for everyone, for sure.”
LCIFF is run by volunteers and supported by sponsors. There are numerous opportunities to support the festival and a variety of perks for helping. Volunteers could be a filmmaker liaison, helping them navigate the area and festival, a projectionist, ticket taker, or help prior to the event by working on marketing or other activities. Check the festival website for details.
WANT TO ATTEND OR VOLUNTEER?
More information and tickets are at www.lascrucesfilmfest.com.