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‘Ultima’ film slated to premiere in El Paso

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The world premiere won’t happen in Albuquerque.

But it’s still close.

El Paso was selected to host the world premiere of the film version of Albuquerque writer Rudolfo Anaya’s 1972 classic novel, “Bless Me, Ultima.”

It competed against other cities — including the Duke City — to test market the film.

The premiere will take on Sept. 17 at the historic Plaza Theatre. There have been no opening dates set for New Mexico as of yet.

“Bless Me, Ultima,” is set in the small town of Guadalupe, N.M., during World War II. The novel follows the story of Antonio Márez who has a curandera named Ultima come live with his family when he was 6. The main plot line involves Ultima’s struggle to stop the witchcraft of the three daughters of Tenorio Trementina, the main villain. Antonio, who witnesses several deaths, is forced to deal with religious and moral issues.

The movie was directed by Carl Franklin at Greer Garson Studios on the campus of Santa Fe University of Art & Design in 2010.

Franklin was also at the helm of the Denzel Washington movie, “Devil in a Blue Dress.”

“Bless Me, Ultima” was filmed at Ruby Ranch in Las Vegas, N.M., Pecos River Ranch in Rowe, Abiquíu, Garson Studios and the old Manderfield School in Santa Fe.

The production employed 150 New Mexicans during its nearly three-month shooting schedule in 2010.

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