Not a lot of New Mexicans get the opportunity to attend the Red Carpet Soiree to End All Red Carpet Soirees—otherwise known as the Academy Awards. Most of us simply watch from the decidedly unglamorous comfort of our living room couch. But this year, the city of Albuquerque is teaming up with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to bring us the closest thing to being there. Oscar Night America is a series of officially sanctioned Academy Awards parties held in 49 cities across the United States. The events are done in conjunction with the Academy’s philanthropic arm, allowing proceeds to go to various charities around the U.S. Albuquerque is one of the elite few hosting one of these Oscar Night parties. The event will take place this Sunday evening as a benefit for Friends for the Public Library and the historic KiMo Theatre.
Given the continuing success of vocal talent competitions like “American Idol,” “America’s Got Talent,” “The X Factor,” “The Voice,” et al, Americans are obviously obsessed with people who can carry a tune. So far, though, Hollywood hasn’t been able to translate that into anything other than “let’s all vote on America’s next pop star.” FOX’s “Glee” briefly captured the drama of stardom-seeking in fictionalized form, but the show’s writing continues on a tragic downward trajectory. The movie industry, meanwhile, has yet to fully convince audiences they actually want to see a full-fledged musical. (Nine? Burlesque?) Hell, even Broadway has a hard time holding onto shows that aren’t “jukebox” musicals filled with pre-popular songs by well-known groups like ABBA or Green Day. So what’s next?
Instead of scribbling notes and taking tests, the students at Albuquerque’s Public Academy for Performing Arts’ media program decided to make their own feature film. The end result, a 60-minute movie called PAPArazzi, will make its public debut on Thursday, Feb. 23, at Guild Cinema. The film tells the story of two ambitious performing arts school students doing battle with one another to get their hands on a coveted scholarship. The film will screen at 5:15, 6:15 and 7:15 p.m. Of course, the cast and crew will be in attendance. To help out, Guild next-door neighbor Il Vicino pizzeria has offered to donate 20 percent of its sales that night to the school’s media program (if you mention PAPArazzi). So come out, have dinner, watch a movie and support Albuquerque’s next generation of filmmakers.