What a difference a year makes. This time last year the announcement of the film lineup for the Plaza Classic Film Festival was made through the lenses of a COVID-19 pandemic that was bad enough to have shut down the city for weeks. In May when the Plaza Classic Film Festival team announced the lineup it was a schedule of pop-up drive-in movie nights at different locations around town. There were also movies that could be streamed in a digital format and things like the Local Flavor local film showcase, documentaries, and newer movies were screened digitally on the Plaza Classic Film Festival website.

This year with the relaxation of protocols and people getting the COVID-19 vaccine, things are going to go back to normal somewhat. The Plaza Classic Film Festival team announced that the dates for the 14th annual film festival will be July 29 -August 8 and films will be screened in and around the Plaza Theater in downtown El Paso. You will have to wear a mask, be socially distanced, and there will be seating capacity limits. There will also be assigned "pod" seating to make sure that social distancing is observed.

Patricia Martinez

Because there will be seating capacity limits, there will be some films shown at the Abraham Chavez Theater. The same COVID safety protocols will be observed at the Abraham Chavez Theater as at the Plaza Theater. A GPS Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization air filtration system has been installed in both theaters. The system "significantly reduces airborne particulates, pathogens, and viruses" according to Plaza Classic Film Festival officials.

I personally can't wait to slide into one of the plush seats at the Plaza Theater and take in a wonderful classic film. I'm usually picky about which ones I go and see but this year I think I'm going to go see as many as I can regardless of the genre. I feel like something as old as the Plaza Theater will boost my spirits because it has been through so much that I believe we can get through this pandemic and see normal times again soon.

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