KTEP - El Paso, Texas

On Film

Saturdays at 11am

On Film has aired weekly on KTEP since 1993 and covers contemporary and classic films, filmmaking, film industry developments and the talents of local filmmakers through insightful interviews, reviews and commentary.

Charles Horak speaks with Austin Young and Carlos De La Torre of Tower Productions.  Tower Productions are working to build a library of short films from a variety of filmmakers in the southwest region.

Sara Sanchez/El Paso Times

Longevity is hard to come by in the fast-shaping entertainment industry, but the actor Sam Elliott has carved out a career and a filmography over the last 50 years that suggests he's every bit as tough and tenacious as many as the characters he plays on screen. Sam Elliott was in El Paso in August for the U.S. premiere of his latest film, and we were lucky enough to spend some extra time together in the studio.
The conversation wandered far enough to fill two programs, and you can listen to part II of our conversation with Elliott next Saturday, September 29.

This year's U.S. Senate race between Ted Cruz and challenger Beto O'Rourke has received national attention, and a new documentary profiles the two men and campaigns. This week, we spoke with documentary filmmaker Steve Mims whose new film, Run Like the Devil, goes behind the scenes of the landmark political campaigns of Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke. The film plays tonight as part of the El Paso Film Festival, more information available at RunLikeTheDevil2018.com

It's no small task to envision and create a film festival, and one intrepid filmmaker is hoping the region is ready for a premier event showcasing the best of new independent films from emerging filmmakers. Carlos Corral, founder and creator of the El Paso Film Festival, visited with us this week to share details on what audiences can expect at the festival, as well as an inside look on the creation of this new project. 


A new film about a country music legend who has remained in relative obscurity, hit the big screen this past week in El Paso. This week, we had the honor of visiting with co-writer and director, Ethan Hawke and actor Ben Dickey to discuss their new film, Blaze. Blaze is a beautifully complex film about the life, love, and legend of country-blues musician, Blaze Foley. 

A new border crime film from an El Paso writer-director unfolds its sorted story in and around borderlands and will debut on a number of streaming platforms next week. This week, we visited with writer-director Andrew Jara,  and had a conversation about his new crime film Borderland. The movie was made entirely in El Paso and will be available on Amazon and Vimeo beginning next Monday. 

Every time you see El Paso in a film or television production, it was usually the result of many months of negotiations and coordination, often in secret, with the city’s film commissioner. This week, we visited with retiring El Paso Film Commissioner, Susie Gaines. For over 3 decades, Gaines has had a hand in bringing major film and TV productions to El Paso, and during our interview, we got a peek into what went on behind the scenes throughout these projects. 

The 11th Annual Plaza Classic Film Festival has been underway all week, and this week, we looked back on the festival's first year and a conversation with its very first special guest, actor Robert Nichols. "Giant" was one of Nichols' earliest roles, and in this 2008 recording from that year's Plaza Classic Film Festival, he shares the memories he made shooting this classic with Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean.

An improbably good film about a lonely, aging assassin who spends his day reflecting back on a difficult life, somehow manages to include Adolf Hitler and the Bigfoot in its story - and some El Paso talent had a big hand on bringing this film to completion. This week, we visited with writer and director Bob Krzykowski to discuss his feature film debut "The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot." The film will have its U.S. premiere Friday, August 10th, at the Plaza Classic Film Festival and Krzykowski will be joined on-stage at the Plaza Theatre by veteran actor and star of the film, Sam Elliott.

Tickets for the premiere of The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, followed by a Q&A with Mr. Krzykowski and Mr. Elliott, can be purchased at the Plaza Theatre Box Office or at TicketMaster.com.
More information available at PlazaClassic.com.


Samuel Beckett is one of the most influential writers, thinker and theatre director of the 20th century. Beckett is best known for his play Waiting for Godot. Five years before Waiting for Godot, Beckett made a singular foray into cinema writing and creating a short film simply titled "Film".

Beckett's "Film" has been restored and release on blu-ray along with a companion film titled "Not Film." Host Charles Horak speaks with filmmaker and restorationist, Ross Lipman who oversaw the restoration of "Film" and "Not Film."

Since the dawn of movies, there's been a need for movie theatres. A new book traces the development and proliferation of theatres across New Mexico, and you might be surprised just how early movie theatres sprang up in small towns across the Land of Enchantment. Jeff Berg - film programmer, film historian, and author of Historic Movie Theatres of New Mexico - joined us as we discussed some of the rich history, and surprisingly early development, of New Mexico's movie theatres. 

Mainstream movie reviewers and established film critics tend to skew older in age, and perhaps the lack of younger voices in cinema writing distorts consensus on popular movie titles. A new website hopes to harness the writing skills and discernment of college students to provide a new perspective on movies. This week, we spoke with Zac Powell and Hannah Mathes, students at the University of Texas at Austin, to discuss their newly launched site, HookedOnMovies.org. Powell and Mathes, along with a team of writers, hope this new outlet will connect young movie lovers nationwide and even encourage them to step out of their comfort zones when it comes to movie selection with the help of their peers.

August has become a special month for the region's classic film lovers. The 11th Annual Plaza Classic Film Festival returns to the historic Plaza Theatre August 2nd-12th and the full line-up for this year's festival is rolling out now. This week, we visited with Doug Pullen, El Paso Community Foundation Program Director, to discuss some of the must-see films and events at this year's festival.

Summer is already half over, but there's no slowing of big budget, would-be-blockbusters beckoning us back to theatres. The Hollywood pipeline brought us a new installment of Jurassic World last week and more reasons to fear dinosaurs. This week, frequent On Film contributor Jeanne Creel visited with us to discuss some of the surface pleasures and underlying concerns of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. And for the younger movie-goers in your life, we also recommend some family-friendly titles also starring dinosaurs.


Charles talks with Andy Uhrich, film archivist, about an online exhibition of WWII propaganda films curated by Indiana University. Hear about why these films were created and why they often targeted specific audiences. Andy talks about why these films are important in understanding the culture of the times. 


Most cinephiles are movie watchers, not movie listeners however music plays a very important role in movies. From enhancing and supporting the images we see music plays a vital role in any movie experience. Host Charles Horak speaks to Professor of Music Dr. Charles Leinberger, from the University of Texas at El Paso, to discuss the importance of music in film. 

The local film community has seen the launch of several programs lately to financially support the production of movies in the borderland. One new project hopes to add not just financial help, but training and advice as well. The Dogma 18 Project is designed to foster cooperation and increase short-filmmaking and increase short filmmaking in the region, and here to tell us more about it are two of the project's creators and facilitators Austin Savage and James Arrabito.

The summer blockbuster season is upon us, and the Star Wars franchise has a new entry that Disney hopes will expand their future Lucasfilm roster. Frequent On Film contributor Jeanna Creel joined us to discuss the pros and cons of the latest Star Wars spinoff and also review the 19th-century arctic adventure horror miniseries, The Terror.

Few of the 20th century's movie stars are as iconic, or globally-recognizable, as Marilyn Monroe. An upcoming stage play will survey some of the famous blonde's film and musical moments, as well as her turbulent relationships and private life. This week, we visited with Erin Sullivan, who performs as Marilyn Monroe, in the stage adaptation With Love, Marilyn

More details and tickets available here.

There are a lot of challenges to making independent films, and an upcoming event will push filmmaking teams to the limit of their creativity when they have just 48 hours to conceive, shoot, and complete a short film. This week, we visited with Drew Mayer-Oakes, El Paso Film Commission Coordinator, as he discussed details about the first El Paso 2 Day Movie Challenge.

More information found here

A New York artist has been taking in the sights and sounds of the borderland for almost a year as the current resident at the Border Art Residency. The resulting films are about to be debuted next week at the El Paso Museum of Art and Rubin Center of the Visual Arts. This week, we visited with Cathy Lee Crane, artist and filmmaker, to discuss her approach to filmmaking and the experimental documentaries she's been creating along the border during her time at the Border Art Residency.


A new thriller starring David Tennant as a psychopath whose serial killer proclivities are exposed by an amateur home burglar hit theaters this week in El Paso. This week, we discussed Bad Samaritan with the film's Director and Producer, Dean Devlin. The film is a departure for the famous producer of films like  Independence Day and Godzilla, and we discussed the making of both small and big films on this extended version of our conversation with Mr. Devlin.

For almost 5 years the Sunset Film Society has been presenting classic and contemporary films each week at the International Museum of Art and kicks off a new screening schedule in May. This week, we visited with Jay Duncan, Sunset Film Society founder and area film historian, to discuss what audiences can expect this month, as well as a special Star Wars event on May the 4th. 

More information at sunsetfilmsociety.org.

The releases of Avengers: Infinity War next week marks the official kick-off of the 2018 summer movie season. Movies 4 Kids is a new local nonprofit that's dedicated to providing advanced screenings of these films to El Paso's underprivileged and less fortunate children. This week, we visited with the group's founders, Rene Herrera and Luis Anzures, to discuss how their organization came about and next week's special event. 


Host Charles Horak talks with journalist and author, Mark Harris, about his latest book Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War. The books follows 5 acclaimed Hollywood directors who covered WWII - John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens. Mark explains what the directors were expecting when they went to war, and how they changed when they returned.

The El Paso film community received a big boost this week when the city of El Paso voted to launch a grant-making program for filmmakers aimed at supporting local productions. This week we visited with Ben Fyffe and Rebecca Muñoz from the city's Museums and Cultural Affairs Department, and filmmaker and past grant recipient Angie Reza Tures to discuss the newly approved local filmmaker's program.


There are a lot of movies being made in the borderland, but few opportunities to see the work of the region's talented filmmaking community. A new festival hopes to bring the best from the El Paso area to the big screen, while also showcasing emerging indie filmmakers from around the country, and perhaps the world. This week we visited with Carlos Corral, filmmaker and founder of the El Paso Film Festival, as he discussed a premier event for the El Paso Film Festival, as well as the long-term goals he hopes to achieve with this new project.


For anyone who grew up in Mexico or along the U.S. border, the Mexican wrestler-turned film star, El Santo is a familiar character. The man who wore a silver mask in over fifty films would have been 100 now, and his first film, Santo Contra El Cerebro del Mal, has just been restored and will soon be available to see again. This week, we've visited with Viviana Garcia Besné as she tells us about the film's recent restoration project.

Part two of our conversation with Jennifer Merin, President and founder of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists. 

The entertainment industry has been rocked by allegations of sexual harassment and assault against some of the industry's most powerful filmmakers. The ensuing outrages fueled solidarity among women and a cultural moment that has rippled far beyond the world of movies and television. This week, we began a two-part conversation with Jennifer Merin, President and founder of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, as we discuss the allegations ripping through the entertainment world and the positive movements working to change the way women are treated.

Part 1 of 2.