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The El Paso Film Festival is back for 2023 with over (60) new films and some amazing special guests. Check out 2023's festival agenda and don't forget to purchase your Film Pass or VIP Badge for this year's festival.

The El Paso Film Festival has grown into one of the largest showcases of independently made narrative and documentary films in far west Texas and the southwest region.

Download our 2023 film program.

Special Guests

Elizabeth Avellán


Elizabeth Avellán is a Producer of bold narrative diversified content. She is Co-Owner and Vice President of Troublemaker Studios.  In addition to producing family and genre films that have collectively grossed over a billion and a half dollars in box office, she has played a primary role in developing Austin, Texas as a thriving film community.

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Lance Larson


Lance Larson is a multi-award winning director, writer and editor. Larson has just completed directing his first feature film, Deadland.

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Ximena Alvarez


Ximena Alvarez is a producer based in Los Angeles, California with experience in both the theatre and film industry. Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Ximena is a 2019 graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts. She currently works for NETFLIX's documentary division in Los Angeles, California.

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Katherine Propper


Katherine Propper is a writer-director born and raised in Los Angeles and currently based in Austin, TX. Katherine received her MFA in Film Directing from the University of Texas at Austin and a BA in Art History from Georgetown University. 

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Jose Luis Solis Olivares


José Luis Solís Olivares is a professor at the School of Education and Humanities in the area of film and creative writing for the degrees of Communication and Hispanic Literature. He is a Film and theater director, screenwriter, and cultural promoter, alongside his academic development in the areas of humanities.

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Krystall Poppin

Rapper & Actress

Hailing from the vibrant border city of El Paso, Texas, Krystall Poppin is the rising Mexican American rapper who's now adding her unique talent to the world of acting.

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Chelsea Hernandez


Chelsea Hernandez is an Emmy-nominated Mexican-American Director and Producer based in Texas. Named as DOC NYC’s 2021 40 Under 40 Class, she is a 2021 Telly Award Winner for her feature documentary Building The American Dream (SXSW 2019) which was also nominated for a National Emmy® the same year.

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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, Kindred Spirits starring Caitlin Stasey, Thora Birch and Macon Blair. His latest film, Old Man, stars the legendary Stephen Lang and more recently, he directed an episode of Peacock’s smash hit detective series POKER FACE.

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The Sloppy Boys

A Party Rock Band

The Sloppy Boys are a party rock band hailing from Los Feliz, California and comprised of Mike Hanford, Jeff Dutton, and Tim Kalpakis from sketch comedy group The Birthday Boys.

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Jas Shelton

Director of Photography

Jas Shelton is an award winning commercial and film cinematographer. In 2019 he was nominated for an EMMY for his work on Season 2 of Amazon Prime’s Homecoming.

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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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Heather Courtney


Heather is an Emmy-winning filmmaker, and a Guggenheim, Sundance, and Fulbright fellow. Her film WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM was broadcast on the PBS series POV, and won an Emmy, an Independent Spirit Award, and a SXSW Jury Award. 

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Jeni Robins

Comedian & Actress

Jeni Robins is an actress, comedian, and filmmaker. Native to El Paso, she is currently living in Los Angeles, CA.

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Bob Bastarache

Producer & Assistant Director

Bob Bastarache has been working in film and television production for 30 years. His work began in New York City on PBS Television's, multi-Emmy Award Winner Reading Rainbow.

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Zach Passero

Director, Editor, & Animator

Zach Passero is an editor, director, and animator best known for his work on Lucky McKeeʻs films, like the notorious 2011 Sundance hit The Woman and the soon to be released Old Man; as well as Sam Elliot cult hit The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then The Bigfoot.

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Chris Burke


Director Chris Burke is a Los Angeles native and graduate of Yale University, where he met Brian Wallach in 2002 and quickly came to believe that he'd be supporting Brian on the campaign trail someday.

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Tim Molloy

MovieMaker Magazine

Tim Molloy is the editor and co-owner of MovieMaker Magazine. He also edits Moviemaker.com and hosts the MovieMaker podcast, which has featured guests from David Fincher to Margot Robbie to Regina King.

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Drew Mayer-Oakes

Film Commissioner

Drew currently serves as film commissioner at the El Paso, Texas Film & Creative Industries Commission, after eleven years as director at the San Antonio Film Commission.

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Abraham Martinez

Director of Photography

Born in San Antonio, Texas based in Los Angeles, California, Abraham studied filmmaking at the University of North Texas in Dallas, Texas.

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Rebeca Durán

Director of Photography

Rebeca Duran is an Albuquerque/Los Angeles based filmmaker from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. After receiving her B.F.A in Film+Television from New York University - Tisch, Rebeca relocated to New Mexico to begin a career in filmmaking.

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Tyler Russell

Writer, Director, Producer

Tyler Russell first began his film career as a grip and camera assistant on various short films and shot his debut feature “Pac-Man: The Movie” in 2008.

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Xalavier Nelson Jr.

Video Game Studio Director

Xalavier Nelson Jr. is a BAFTA-nominated studio head, narrative director, and writer, with dozens of titles under his belt including Stranger Things VR, Magic: The Gathering, Hypnospace Outlaw, Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator, and El Paso, Elsewhere.

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Dakota Thomas

Writer, Director, Producer

Dakota Thomas is a queer writer and director from El Paso, Texas. He has written and directed several short horror films, most notably Opening Night, which stars Tuesday Knight (Kristen Parker, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master).

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Valeria Contreras

Writer, Director, Producer

Valeria Contreras is a bilingual, Mexican-American writer, director, and producer from El Paso, Texas. An artist at heart, Valeria’s love for story began by writing and illustrating bilingual, educational comics for kids.

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Kerry Valderrama

Filmmaker & Graphic Novelist

Kerry Valderrama is a former airborne infantryman with the 82nd Airborne Division and served as a team leader in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. He received a B.A. from Methodist University in Political Science and a minor in Spanish.

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Andrew Jara

Writer & Director

Born and raised in El Paso, TX, Writer/Director Andrew Jara is a Latino filmmaker. Andrew has made three feature films so far and is always interested in pursuing real themes and situations while also bringing more voices to film.

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Craig Chartier

Director of Photography | Cooke Optics

Craig began his career at Gear Rental (Austin, Texas) where he spent 18 years, managing day-to-day operations and leaving as Vice President of Production Services.

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Graphic Novel Publisher

Dr. E.C.-Dukes is a writer from Chaparral, New Mexico. She earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Texas at El Paso, a Master of Fine Arts degree in Film from Columbia University in the City of New York, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in Journalism and Chicano Studies and a minor in Theatre Arts.

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Billy Townes


Born in New York City, Townes’ earliest experiences with the music came from his piano teacher mother when he was still a toddler in Okinawa, Japan, where his father was stationed in the army.

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Ryan Rox

Writer & Director

Ryan Rox is a Non-Binary Trans Femme, Latine Filmmaker and Actor, based in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Rox has written and directed several short films including their latest SHIPPING THEM.

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The Pool of the Nobodies

  • Grand Jury Prize
  • Best Narrative Film (Feature)

An indigenous migrant named Alex is put to the ultimate test, forced to enter the criminal underworld just to live another day. Anayeli, another indigenous migrant, struggles to save the life of her unborn son, as well as her own. They will both do unthinkable things to survive The Pool of the Nobodies.

The Sidewalk Artist

  • Special Jury Prize

A documentary film crew follows a man who leaves his mark on concrete sites in Cedar Hill, TX.

The Weird Kidz

  • Director Award

A group of kids goes into the desert for an overnight camping trip, where they catch wind of a local monster legend that takes the story to unexpected places.


  • Producer Award

U.S. Border agent Angel Waters comes across what would normally be a routine illegal crossing, but it quickly devolves into his worst nightmare. Barely clinging to life, the immigrant utters, "El Paso, por favor”. In a tragic twist of fate the immigrant is killed while being held at a remote border outpost.

Breaking the News

  • Best Documentary Film (Feature)

As Donald Trump was getting sworn in as President and the Women’s March set an angry, outspoken tone for the country’s discourse, journalist Emily Ramshaw decided to meet the moment by launching The 19th. Named after the Nineteenth Amendment, The 19th became the first nonprofit, nonpartisan news agency in the United States.

Blood, Sweat and Beers: The Making of a Comedy-Rock Classic

  • Audience Award
  • El Paso Filmmaker Award

From sketch comedy to an acclaimed podcast, The Sloppy Boys are taking their musical aspirations to the next level when they join forces with legendary keyboardist and producer Money Mark at the famed Sonic Ranch Studio in West Texas. They only have five days to make their comedy-rock dreams come true.

In Tow

  • Best Short Film (Narrative)

A self-involved teen and her overworked single mom confront their differences as their mobile home is towed away… with them inside of it!

The Dads

  • Best Short Film (Documentary)

When five fathers of trans kids join Dennis Shepard, the father of slain gay college student Matthew Shepard, for a weekend fishing trip in rural Oklahoma, they find a common purpose across races, generations, and experiences.


  • Reel South Short Award

This video features the life and artwork of San Antonio based, Contemporary Chicano Artist, RUBIO. The idea that “Art Saves Lives’ is showcased in Rubio's own story; culminating in a near-death experience that forever altered him and inspired his ongoing use of art as a means of sharing folklore, remembering friends, and celebrating the lives of the Westside, San Antonio community he came from.



Browse all of our 2023 films to plan your festival experience.

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See the full 2023 schedule to plan your festival experience.

View Schedule