Binational Independent Film Festival

Press Releases

2002 Chamizal Independent Film Festival Press Release

July 27-August 2, 2002. El Paso, Texas – Juarez, Mexico.

A complete week of Actors, Directors, and Cinema that attracted, in between El Paso and Juarez around 3,000 people (last year was 1,5000). Four movies from Mexico and Three from the United States were participating for competition for both, The Chamizal Award and El Premio El Chamizal for best movie. From Mexico: “Monica y el Professor”, “Corazones Rotos”, “Un Mundo Raro”, and “Pachito Rex”. And from the United States: “Pineiro”, “Ordinary Sinner”, and “Dawg”. This year’s winners were “Pineiro” and “Monica y el Professor”. The two conferences at the Chamizal were given by: Alfonso Arau, Hector Bonilla, David Shark, Rafael Montero, and Nacho Mendez. And the two conferences at the INBA Museum in Juarez were given by: Hector Bonilla, Rafael Sanchez Navarro, Maria Rebeca. Rafael Montero, Sofia Alvarez, and Nacho Mendez.

But let’s go back to the beginning, the festival started with a special presentation of “Macario”, where the ribbon was cut by: Don Ignacio Lopez Tarso. From there we moved to the Holiday Inn Pronaf, in Juarez for the dinner. The “Paisanos del Chamizal Lifetime Achievement Award” was given to Don Ignacio Lopez Tarso from the hands of Hector Bonilla. And both at the dinner and at the movie presentation we had: Don Ignacio Lopez Tarso, Hector Bonilla, Susana Lopez Aranda, Rafael Montero, Sofia Alvarez, Fernando Bonilla, Dr. Rico Bovio (ICHICULT), local personalities, sponsors of the festival, friends of the festival, and attendees from Juarez and El Paso.

The festival expanded this year, with the help of the Instituto Chihuahuense de la Cultura and Carta Blanca, with the short screenplay competition (this year in Spanish only). The judge was the renowned playwright Dr. Victor Hugo Rascon Banda, and Director Rafael Montero personally gave the “Carta Blanca Award”, in Victor Hugo’s behalf, to Miguel Chaparro (a UTEP student from Juarez). Additionally, we presented local short videos, professional short videos, and the Oscar nominated shorts at El Paso Museum of Art and the INBA Museum in Juarez, and we are proud to announce that it was a complete success (full attendance on both).

And for a big finale: the closing. It was an exceptional night for many diverse reasons. The first; “The Los Paisanos del Chamizal Lifetime Achievement Award” was given to Oscar-winner Mr. Cliff Robertson. And the prize was passed on by none-other than Alfonso Arau. This time the dinner was first, so we had the opportunity of partake with Mr. Cliff Robertson, Alfonso Arau, David Shark, El Paso Mayor Mr. Ray Caballero, Alejandrina Drew, and many other local personalities, as well as representatives from our sponsors, and attendees from Juarez and El Paso. The Second: the presentation of the movie “Charly” (movie that garnered Mr. Robertson his Oscar). It was a treat to admire this movie, and Mr. Robertson fine performance. And finally, the Third: On this August 2, 2002 the City of El Paso was completely stopped. There was a six hour black out in the morning (in some parts of El Paso it lasted until 5PM). Then, the deluge; rain (if we can call it that) started at around 3PM and didn’t stop until 4:15 and it completely paralyzed the City (TV and Radio stations were asking everybody to stay in their houses or to go directly to their homes, and stay in). I-10 was closed. But aside from all this, we still had more than 100 people at the closing, and that by itself shows us that there is a following that is growing toward our festival.

For information contact: Laura Rojo de Zamora (915) 585-0672.


2001 Binational Independent Film Festival Press Release

First Chamizal Independent Film Festival, A Successful Event.

The First Chamizal Independent Film Festival was held Wednesday, August 1 – Sunday, August 5, 2001 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas. Designed to celebrate the rich and diverse culture of the United States and Mexico border, it was attended by more than 1,300 people and proved to be a tremendous success from the start.

A star-filled opening gala and inauguration ceremony took place at the Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso, where members of the community, media personalities, actors, directors and producers joined the festivities. Mexican screen legends Hector Bonilla and Maria Rojo were presented with Los Paisanos de El Chamizal Awards in recognition of their significant contributions to the art of the motion picture.

Throughout the week, six independent films, three from the US and three from Mexico were screened on both sides of the border. In addition, seminars with the directors, actors, and producers of the films were conducted in both Juarez and in El Paso. The organizing committee awarded Bruno Bichir, producer of Cronica de un Desayuno with the Chamizal Award for best Mexican picture. Rum and Coke directed by Maria Escobedo and produced by Charles Gherardi received El Premio Chamizal for best American film.

The festival concluded on August, 5, 2001 in Juarez with a special screening of the film Like Water for Chocolate and a closing gala, which honored Alfonso Arau, the film’s director, with an International Border Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award. Next year’s festival will be held July 27 – August 2, 2002 at the Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso,Texas, the University of Texas at El Paso, The Consejo Municipal de Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the El Paso Museum of Art, the Museo del Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Juarez, Mexico.

Initial funding from the US/Mexico Fund for Culture in Mexico and the Freedom Forum in the US provided filmmakers from both countries the opportunity to participate in seminars and screenings of important independent films.

For more information, please contact Laura Rojo de Zamora, Business Manager at (915) 845-6169. Additionally, you can access our website at