Las Vegas, N.M. — New Mexico Highlands University presents the acclaimed film Bless Me, Ultima Jan. 18 and Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m., and Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. in the university’s historic Ilfeld Auditorium, 900 University Ave.
The PG-13 film will not be released nationally until Feb. 22.
General admission tickets are $5. Tickets for children and students with ID are $3. There is also a free showing for students only on Jan. 18 at 1 p.m. Students must show valid ID.
Director Carl Franklin’s 2012 independent film Bless Me, Ultima is based on Rudolfo Anaya’s world-renowned novel of the same name. Anaya was born in Pastura, N.M. and wrote Bless Me, Ultima in 1972 to critical acclaim. It became an international best seller that helped establish Anaya as one of the founders of contemporary Chicano literature.
Anaya has authored more than 35 books, including fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books. He has received numerous prestigious awards for his writing
The film was shot in New Mexico, including the Las Vegas area, and is known for stunning cinematography that features beautiful, timeless landscapes.
The film made its New Mexico premiere Oct. 18 to a sold-out crowd at the Lensic Performing Arts Center during the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival.
Bless Me, Ultimaportrays young Antonio Mí¡rez’ coming of age in rural northern New Mexico during World War II, and what he learned from Ultima, an elderly curandera, a traditional healer. Together, they confront a battle between good and evil in their village.
In the novel, Anaya writes, “There are so many dreams to be fulfilled, but Ultima says a man’s destiny must unfold itself like a flower, with only the sun and the earth making it blossom.”
The revered novel is rich in cultural perspectives, including Spanish, Mexican and Native American.
In the film, award-winning veteran Puerto Rican actress Miriam Colón, a pioneer in the Hispanic theater movement in New York City, plays Ultima. Newcomer Luke Ganalon plays Antonio.
Other award-winning actors in the film include Albuquerque-native Benito Martínez as Antonio’s father, Gabriel. For seven seasons, Martínez played a major role in the successful FX police drama â€˜The Shield.’ Dolores Heredia, a celebrated Mexican actress and film producer, plays Antonio’s mother, María.
Film critics call Bless Me, Ultima a powerful yet gentle film with universal appeal that evokes an important time and place in New Mexico’s cultural landscape.
“This film is so moving and has special personal meaning for me because parts of it were filmed in Los Alamitos north of Las Vegas where I’m from,” said Donna Martinez, Ilfeld Auditorium manager. “These Ilfeld showings are a wonderful opportunity for our Las Vegas area community to see this beautifully filmed movie before the national release.”
Advance tickets are on sale now at the university’s radio station, KEDP 91.1 FM, 901 University Ave., Studio 103. Or contact Martinez at email@example.com 505-454-3238.