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Las Cruces International Film Festival going virtual for 2021

LAS CRUCES – The sixth Las Cruces International Film Festival will be held virtually this March and will feature 102 films, with special guests Peter Bogdanovich and Judge Reinhold.

The festival will be held March 3-7 on the Film Festival Flix platform for virtual festivals due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ross Marks, executive director of the festival, said because the event is virtual, more films will be available for viewing — 102 in fact. The submissions also represent 36 countries from around the world. Last year, the festival featured roughly 88 total films.

Panel discussions and workshops on topics such as film distribution, fundraising and writing will be prerecorded, but participants will be encouraged to post questions to the festival’s Facebook page.

“This way, people will get the chance to see the movies they want to see whenever they want to see them and not miss out on any screenings,” Marks said. “It’s really much more viewer friendly than in-person, which is kind of neat.”

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Marks said pricing will be the same as in past years once the Film Festival Flix site page is live. Attendees can pay $8 for individual films, $25 for a 24-hour pass or $75 for an all-access pass for the whole week.

In place of in-person VIP parties each night, the festival will be partnering with local restaurants to highlight the city of Las Cruces and support businesses. Each night a different business will host a special film showing and show viewers how to prepare a favorite dish and drink from home. Locals will be able to purchase the dish straight from the restaurant at a discount for that night.

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“We’re going to really showcase I think Las Cruces to the world so that’s kind of exciting. Not just our film festival, but our restaurants and the people that make Las Cruces so wonderful,” Marks said.

Reinhold (“Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Ruthless People,” “Beverly Hills Cops”) was scheduled to accept the Mark Medoff Legacy Award in-person last year but cancelled his trip due to the onset of COVID-19 in the country. He will be the subject of an interview during the festival this March. The Outstanding Achievement in Entertainment Award will be presented to Bogdanovich (“The Last Picture Show,” “Paper Moon,” “At Long Last Love”) for his work in independent films.

“This year is really dedicated to independent film which is difficult to create and showcase in a pandemic. And Peter Bogdanovich has, you know, is truly one of the pioneers of independent filmmaking. So, we’re awarding him as a director and producer and writer who’s really, you know, paved the way for the filmmakers that are screening their films in the festival,” Marks said.

He added that Film Festival Flix is anticipating virtual attendance for the event will be between 50,000 and 60,000 people from all over the world, across the five days in March. Last year, about 20,000 people attended in-person.

Leah Romero is a fellow with the New Mexico Local News Fund and can be reached at lromero@lcsun-news.com or @rromero_leah on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Las Cruces International Film Festival going virtual for 2021

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