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El Paso’s First Animated Feature - The Weird Kidz - Gets Free Special Screening May 11th at the Historic Plaza Theatre May 2, 2023 – EL PASO, TX – CreativElPaso and El Paso Film Festival are hosting a special screening and celebration for El Pasoan Zach Passero’s full length hand-animated feature, The Weird Kidz. The event is FREE and will be taking place on May 11th at 7:00pm at the Plaza Theatre downtown.
The animated feature recently announced that it was chosen to participate in the Annecy International Animation Film Festival and Market, which is the world’s largest and most prestigious animation festival. The festival takes place in France and there will be two screenings of The Weird Kidz in June, but the borderland will get to see the feature in its hometown first and for free.
Animator Zach Passero grew up in El Paso and much of the film’s storyline is inspired by his time growing up as a typical ‘80s latch-key kid. The Weird Kidz was born from a stew of memories, adventures, movies, and influences from his life. Those influences came together in The Weird Kidz and fulfilled Passero’s lifelong dream of making an animated feature that he could one day show his own kids to explain what his childhood was like. “I thought back to my growing up in the late 70s and 80s. The differences between my childhood and that of my own children. I remembered the friends, freedoms, rules, influences, and adventures. How the pop culture of the time – the music and movies always played a role in what those moments felt like and what would or could be,” Passero stated.
Passero graduated from Coronado High School and then went on to attend the University of Southern California Film School. Years later, he returned to his hometown and continued to work as a filmmaker. He collaborates as editor for many of director Lucky McKee’s films, most recently Old Man. He edited and did VFX work on The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot starring Sam Elliot. And recently edited the Texas-centric political doc The Pushback and 2020 Sundance selection First Date.
As a director and animator, Passero has created music videos for Ministry, Jim White, Califone, and Jim Ward. He directed a short segment for the pandemic anthology film ISOLATION, featuring El Paso and starring his wife Hannah Passero, who also painted the backgrounds for The Weird Kidz.
The Weird Kidz is a true Made-in-El Paso project, enlisting many fellow El Pasoans to bring the feature to life, like producers Charles Horak and Lucky KcKee, actors Brian Ceely, Sydney O’Donnell, and Tess Passero, musician Sunnie Baker, and color correction by Cheeky Monkey Post. There are also many recognizable voices in the film – actors Angela Bettis (May, The Woman), Sean Bridgers (Deadwood, Get Shorty) and Ellar Coltrane (Boyhood) round out a vibrant cast. Bettis and Coltrane are scheduled to join the screening in person and take part in the Q and A session.
Doors open at 6:30pm and film starts at 7pm, followed by a Q and A with cast and crew. Producer Charles Horak added, “The Weird Kidz is not only a great film by a hometown artist, it is an example of what can be made in the borderlands by the area’s growing film community.
This film would not have been possible without the support of so many in the region, and we’re delighted we can share the film and the spotlight with a hometown crowd on the region’s biggest screen!”
The Weird Kidz has seen success on the independent film festival circuit and has won the Audience Award at Brooklyn Horror Film Festival and Best Picture Jury Award at Nevermore Film Festival. It took part in Salem Fest last weekend and is slated to make its European debut at ANIFILM in the Czech Republic this summer, followed by the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in France in June.
Filmmaker Zach Passero along with producers Lucky McKee and Charles Horak are available for interviews.
For more information, please go to theweirdkidz.com.
While the film is animated, it is UNRATED, but would probably pull a PG-13 for its hilarious pubescent humor and mild language, brief animated nudity, cartoon amputations and savagery, and creature mayhem. (It is suggested kids under 10 not attend, but they’re your kids, you know best.)
About El Paso Film & Creative Industries Commission
Since 1974, the El Paso Film & Creative Industries Commission has provided quality service and assistance to local and visiting film and television productions. From beautiful desert landscapes to majestic mountain ranges or wide-open spaces, the versatility of the city’s natural attributes coupled with a unique border-culture truly set El Paso apart and provide a unique and ultimately rewarding filmmaking experience.
About the El Paso Film Festival
As the only Texas film festival to showcase emerging filmmakers on a bi-national stage, the El Paso Film Festival is the fastest growing film festival in the state. It provides an inclusive
platform where film lovers of every stripe can discover and support the next generation of
regional movie makers. EPFF is among the few festivals in the nation that brings the film’s
directors to the audience they entertain. In our short history, we have attracted a diverse
audience of film aficionados, passionate story tellers and filmmaking executives.