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The El Paso Film Festival, located on the far edge of Texas, is one of the largest showcases of independently made narrative and documentary films in the southwest.

Special Guests

Lucky McKee

Award-winning screenwriter, director, and novelist

McKee is best known for the 2002 cult hit May, the 2006 schoolgirl chiller The Woods and the notorious 2011 Sundance shocker The Woman as well as noir-thrillers such as Blood Money starring John Cusack and the upcoming Kindred Spirits starring Caitlin Stasey, Thora Birch and Macon Blair.

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Jessica Meraz

Actress

Born and raised in the border town of El Paso, Texas, Meraz is half Mexican from her mother’s side and of Scottish and Irish ancestry on her father’s. Jessica Meraz graduated from USC’s prestigious School of Theater. Most recently, she played supervillain, Menagerie, on the CW's "Supergirl."

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Kevin Ford

Documentary Filmmaker

Kevin Ford is a filmmaker whose directorial work includes THE BOMB which premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, and was also featured at the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Ceremonies.

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Denise Dorado

Actress & Filmmaker

In 2017, after starring in many short films and TV guest spots, she was cast in her first leading role in a feature film, “Amalia” (2018), Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s latest psychological thriller, and her second lead shortly thereafter, Graham Streeter’s “I May Regret” (2018) and currently resides in Los Angeles.

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Lizette Barrera

Producer & Director

Lizette Barrera is an Award-winning filmmaker based in Dallas/Fort Worth; her films have played at festivals and networks worldwide, including her HBO previously licensed short film MOSCA (FLY), ESPN licensed short documentary film MR. PASTOR JONES, and short film CHICLE (GUM) World premiering at South By Southwest.

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Sharon Artega

Writer & Director

Sharon Arteaga is a first-generation Mexican-American filmmaker from Corpus Christi, Texas, who convinced her mom to buy her a video camera instead of a Quinceañera. She has won numerous shorts competitions including being selected out of 900+ films to tour the US and Canada with LUNAFEST. She was a 2019 finalist for the Tribeca Chanel Through Her Lens program and was selected to pitch at this year's South Pitch

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Jean Anne Lauer

Festival Director & Programmer

Dr. Jean Anne Lauer has promoted the development and exhibition of Latinx, Iberoamerican, and Indigenous film and media since 2004. She first discovered her passion for the field when working with the International Pitching Market at the Guanajuato International Film Festival (Guanajuato, Mexico, 2004 through 2013).

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Hillary Pierce

Documentary Filmmaker

Hillary Pierce is an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker based in Marfa, Texas who recently produced Ben Masters' 2019 feature documentary THE RIVER AND THE WALL.

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Chelsea Hernandez

Documentary Filmmaker

Chelsea Hernandez is an award-winning Mexican-American filmmaker based in Austin, Texas also the 2019 EPFF Documentary and Grand Prize Winner for her feature documentary Building the American Dream. Her work focuses on the unique perspectives of various issues and topics through the lens of ordinary people who challenge the status quo and injustices in this world. She is a fellow of Firelight Media Doc Lab and Latino Media Market.

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E.J. Enriquez

Cinematographer

E.J. Enriquez is an Austin based DP whose work encompasses a variety of genres and formats that have screened around the world including Sundance, Berlinale, IDFA, SXSW & Tribeca among others. Work has taken him to 5 continents including Africa, Asia, Europe & South America. Current work can be seen on HBO, Netflix, Hulu & Amazon Prime Video. 

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Maru Buendia-Senties

Filmmaker & Visual Artist

Maru Buendia-Senties, writer/director, winner of the Cary Grant Film Award by the Princess Grace Foundation, the Latino Lens Narrative Incubator by NALIP and NYFF: Film Society of Lincoln Center Artist Academy, earned her MFA in Film Production at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Taylor Hardy

Fort Worth Film Commission

Taylor serves as Associate Film Commissioner and Marketing Manager at the Fort Worth Film Commission and Visit Fort Worth. She is a graduate from the Steer Fort Worth Keyholder’s Program and Leadership Fort Worth’s Leading Edge.

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Andrew Shebay

Producer & Director

Andrew is an award-winning director/producer based in Austin, Texas. His directing aesthetic was crafted during seven years of traveling the world. His love for travel and culture influenced his desire to connect with his subjects and their raw emotions and to express them in a realistic and cinematic style to his audience.

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Angie Reza Tures

Femme Frontera Director

Filmmaker and documentary film instructor Angie Reza Tures, received her B.A. in Media Studies with a minor in Music from the University of San Francisco in 2003. For nine years,  she worked as an independent filmmaker, producer, and editor in the San Francisco Bay Area studying under and working with award-winning filmmakers such as Sam Green (Oscar-nominated The Weather Underground), Tiffany Shlain (Sundance-winner Connected) and Carlos Bolado (Like Water for Chocolate).

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Robert Holguin

Filmmaker & Journalist

Robert Holguin started his career as as a reporter for the Associated Press in Seattle, where he covered everything from pro sports to technology. He wrote dozens of articles about the burgeoning music scene in the 1990s that appeared in newspapers across the globe. 

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Lindsey Ashley

Texas Film Commission

Since 2005, Lindsey Ashley has been on staff at the Texas Film Commission promoting the wide array of resources available for creative industries in Texas.

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Chad Mathews

Festival & Film Society Director

Chad Mathews is a Texas-based filmmaker and co-founder of the Hill Country Film Festival (HCFF) in Fredericksburg, Texas.  His path to festival director came the way of 15 years in Los Angeles, working as an actor, screenwriter, producer, and director.  

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Manny Rubio

Actor

Manuel Rubio was born in 1975 in El Paso, Texas. Manny has been performing since he was a child but his acting career began in theater in 1997. He went on to perform in every theater venue in El Paso, Texas. His recent credits include Succession (HBO), Better Call Saul (AMC), and Deputy (FOX).

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James Arrabito

Narrative Filmmaker

James Arrabito is an El Paso TX based writer, director, and producer. His first feature film, "Brooklyn Unemployed," won Best Narrative Feature at the Greenpoint Film Festival, and toured the United States festival circuit.

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Niels Mueller

Producer & Director

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Niels is an award-winning writer and director whose films have premiered to great acclaim at the most prestigious film festivals in the world.

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Anthony Salgado

Writer & Director

Anthony Salgado was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. During his high school years he made short films with close friends and family members. In 2014, he graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a degree in Digital Media Production.

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Pablo Olmos Arrayales

Writer & Director

Pablo Olmos Arrayales was born in Mexico City. He has worked in both Spain and Mexico as a commercial director. His short films have screened at several film festivals including Burbank International Film Festival and have played with the El Rey Network. Rendez-vous is his first feature film and makes its U.S. Premiere at the 2020 El Paso Film Festival.

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Christopher Jones

El Paso Filmmaker

Christopher Jones, born and raised in El Paso, Tx, Chris began his dream of acting and making movies at the age of 11.  In early days the only production possible for him at the time was by using the family camcorder and editing through his VCR. Patience was inevitable. 

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Winners

The Pushback

  • Best Feature Film (Documentary)
  • Grand Jury Prize
  • Best Director

The first of two Latinas to represent Texas in Congress, Veronica Escobar, and the only African-American woman to run for city council in Austin in 2018, Natasha Harper-Madison, lead a diverse group of progressive voices across Texas as they fight decades of institutional racism and policies of discrimination along the border.

The Priest

  • Special Jury Prize

In a lonely desert town a suicidal priest (Patton Oswalt) makes a decision that kicks into motion a series of strange events leading him to an unexpected discovery. Is it coincidence or miraculous?

Small Town Wisconsin

  • Best Feature Film (Narrative)

Wayne Stobierski is the most fun-loving, hardest-living party animal in Rhinelander, Wisconsin (population 7,798). Just ask his favorite wingman, Tyler, who’s seen it all, lived it all, loved it all. Only problem? Tyler is Wayne’s nine year old son.

When Wayne learns the devastating news that he is losing shared custody and that his beloved wingman will be moving far away, he plans a special weekend for his son to remember him by –– a trip to the big city of their dreams Milwaukee, Wisconsin (population 592,025).

Woke the Monster

  • Producer Award

18 months ago, Army veteran Shawn Livingston was strung out on heroin, battling PTSD and addiction, and facing a 20-year prison sentence. Now, he is preparing for the race of his life: a 100-mile trail race through the rugged terrain of the Appalachian Mountains.

White Eye

  • Best Short Film (Narrative)

A man finds his stolen bicycle and it now belongs to a stranger. In his attempts to retrieve the bicycle, he struggles to remain human.

Modern Whore

  • Best Short Film (Documentary)

University student by day, escort by night, Andrea Werhun led a secret life under the alias “Mary Ann.”

Gravedad

  • Femme Frontera Award

Some days are light and some days are heavy. - In a world where gravity changes constantly, you have to find something to keep you grounded.

Darrouzett, TX

  • Reel South Short Award

In a small Texas town where the gravestones outnumber the people, this soon-to-be ghost town and its residents live out their heartwarming final moments together, hand in hand.

The 11th Order

  • Best Student Film

The true story of two U.S. Marines who, in a span of six seconds, must stand their ground to stop a suicide truck bomb and protect the lives of the 150 Marines and Iraqi Police behind them.

I See a Darkness

  • El Paso Filmmaker Award (Feature Film)

Alex is a photographer working for a commercial agency. He’s weary from creating uninspired content at the job and an increasingly dysfunctional relationship at home. The more he tries to fit in at work and justify his relationship the further away those bonds become.

As his malaise grows unbearable he self-destructively becomes infatuated with a prostitute. A mixture of memories and revelations emerge as he struggles to accept his past, present, and possible futures.

De La Luz

  • El Paso Filmmaker Award (Short Film)

Mexican Immigrant family risks the Southwest desert in search of a better life, while encountering blinding lights in the sky.

Save Me

  • Audience Award

After 11 years on the force, Detective Arkin decides to take a leave and establish a new form of justice...his way. Until the unfathomable happens; the man responsible for his wife's death is released from prison. All eyes are on Arkin...what will be his next step?

Sponsors

Films

Read up on all the films screening as part of our 2020 season to plan your festival experience.

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Schedule

See the full 2020 schedule to plan your festival experience.

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