Film festivals often have an air of elitism to them especially when you think of the big names like Cannes and Tribeca. They come off as more of an industry inside joke than an actual celebration of the art of film. Regional and local film festivals do a great job of focusing in on the upstart bleeding hearts that do film on their spare time with dreams as humble and endearing as their equipment. The Good, the Bad and the Indie for instance, a local film festival that coincides with the Plaza Classic Film Festival, has been a great showcase for local filmmakers that has been going on for the past nine years.
Inexplicably, leave it to a bank—evolve Federal Credit Union—to expand the opportunities for local filmmakers to have a launching point for their work with their third annual evolution Film Festival on July 18.
“We like to do things in the spirit of inclusion,” said Social Communication Specialist of evolve Elizabeth Ashby. “We have people of all ages, people of all types of backgrounds. You could be from anywhere in the region and still submit. We really want to use this film festival as a way to support people in the community.”
What started out as an effort of rebranding evolve in the minds of those who remembered it as El Paso Employees Federal Credit Union, the film festival took on a specific theme of “evolution” when it started in 2012. “This goes back to our former Vice-President of Marketing (Tori Burton) back when she was Social Communication Specialist,” Ashby said. “She saw the artistic community in El Paso as one that could use support. It’s important to show that evolve is here for them.”
One of the filmmakers to submit work in previous years of the festival is Tony Marquez whose short film, Nelson: A Gift from God, placed third in last year’s competition and winning film equipment. The sci-fi short film followed a man trapped inside a robot’s body, but the audience only sees him as a robot. “The reason he is in this form, is that there’s that idea that people function as robots nowadays with everyday routine,” Marquez said. The story is one of forgiveness where the robot-man meets a priest who guides him on the path of reconciling broken relationships.
“From what I remember from the winners last year, the first place winner went towards the horror and zombie genre,” said Marquez of the variety of films last year. “There are so many raw ideas that people have that they don’t bring to life because they’re afraid of rejection. I believe in a graveyard that you’ll find a lot of great ideas that people never acted on. I love that these directors took on the challenge.”
Another filmmaker who will be entering the contest this year is Arturo Portillo. A veteran filmmaker and screenwriter, Portillo previously has won awards in other film festivals including the Microfest Film Festival in El Paso, Beaumont Boomfest in Beaumont, TX, the Day of the Dead Film Festival in Truth or Consequences, NM and the Beverly Hills Film Festival. “I think it’s great that an institution like evolve would hold this and help filmmakers get noticed,” Portillo said. “They’re not just helping people with their financial needs.” His entry into this year’s festival will be a short called Kosmikophobia, which is actually a prequel to the film he entered into the Day of the Dead Film Festival called Not Human, which won awards for best supporting actor and best short film.
A call for submissions has been circulating through filmmaker circles and even social media. The deadline for submissions is June 20 at 5:30 pm. First place, Judge’s Choice, will be awarded $1000 and the winner of the Interactive Audience Choice award will win $500.
evolve Federal Credit Union is hosting the evolution Film Festival this July, and want submissions from talented filmmakers in the region.
Filmmakers are being asked to submit films with the following criteria:
• Running time 10 minutes or less.
• Either fiction or non-fiction. Commercials, animated features and music videos are not eligible.
• Submitted on a DVD to our branch by June 20, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.
DVDs can be dropped off at or mailed to:
evolve Federal Credit Union
Attn. Marketing Department
8820 Gazelle Dr. El Paso, TX 79925
TEXT: JOHN DEL ROSARIO