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Glamour, workshops and Richard Dreyfuss

Las Cruces International Film Festival offers plenty of action


A myriad of events is planned for the 2020 Las Cruces International Film Festival (LCIFF), March 4-8, 2020. Now in its fifth year, LCIFF brings independent film, industry experts, celebrities, film makers, film students and film lovers together for a five-day extravaganza.

Presented by New Mexico State University and Visit Las Cruces, LCIFF screens independent films, presents workshops and hosts various celebrities, social events and parties. Outstanding achievements by industry professionals are recognized and honored.

LCIFF is the largest university-affiliated film festival in the United States. The Creative Media Institute at NMSU offers a class on producing the film festival, and students are required to have hands-on experience at the festival – everything from soliciting film entries to overseeing workshops, acting as projectionists, film maker liaisons, marketing, social media and more. Film students and independent filmmakers are offered the opportunity to interact with celebrities and accomplished industry professionals, as well as with one another, at the festival.

LCIFF organizers say they strive to produce an outstanding film festival to promote independent film making and audiences for these films, entice tourists to the area and showcase the area as a viable film location based on its unique scenery, mild climate and talent base to create a positive economic impact.

This year’s opening night film, “Astronaut,” screening at 7 p.m., March 4, stars Richard Dreyfuss as Angus, an elderly widower who has always been intrigued with space. Although he is beyond the age requirement, he enters a competition hosted by billionaire entrepreneur and company founder Marcus Brown for the first commercial space flight.

Director/writer Shelagh McLeod and the film’s producers said they are delighted to be able to screen the film at what they consider “Ground Zero” for the reality that inspired the film. Virgin Galactic staff plan to join them for the screening as well as cast members Richard Dreyfuss, Graham Greene and Krista Bridges for the interactive panel with the audience following the screening.

On March 5, Dreyfuss is scheduled to receive the LCIFF Outstanding Achievement in Entertainment Award.

Academy Award Winner Tom Schulman will receive the Mark Medoff Lifetime Achievement Award for Screenwriting at the festival. Schulman, an American screenwriter, is best known for his semi-autobiographical Academy Award-winning screenplay, “Dead Poets Society.”

He was also hired to rewrite the hit movie “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and had just seven days to turn it from a drama into a comedy. Other scripts include comedies “Welcome to Mooseport,” “What About Bob?,” and “Holy Man,” which stars Eddie Murphy.

Schulman directed the1997 dark comedy “8 Heads in a Duffel Bag,” which stars Joe Pesci as a gangster attempting to transport a bag of severed heads across the United States.

Schulman earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from his hometown university, Vanderbilt, and will present a screenwriting workshop at the festival.

Actress Bella Heathcote (“Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows,” “Fifty Shades Darker”) will present a panel on Amazon Prime’s “Man in the High Castle” (in which she plays Nicole Dörmer) along with the series’ showrunner and stunt coordinator. She will receive the LCIFF Outstanding Achievement in Drama Award.

Judge Reinhold of “Beverly Hills Cop” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” fame will receive the Mark Medoff Legacy Award.

For tickets, details, and updates, visit www.LasCrucesFilmFest.com or call 575-649-6149.


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