Film festival guests bring inspiration to Las Cruces


Ross Marks loves bringing experience to the New Mexico State University campus to inspire students. As executive director of the Las Cruces International Film Festival, teacher and a film director himself, it’s the students that drive him to do what he does. 

“I had the opportunity as a film student, when every week, twice a week, we would have guests like (actor) Ron Perlman – it was formative,” Marks said. “For me a highlight is bringing our guests to campus, like Ron Perlman. It’s just going to be amazing … to have him talk to the students and share insight.” 

The film festival this weekend offers not only a palette of films from across the world, about 100 chosen from 1,000 submissions, but also opportunities for listening to and learning from a variety of guest speakers like Perlman, Eric and Eliza Roberts and producer Jason Clark. 

Jason Clark, who will be participating in a Friday, April 5 producing panel, is Seth McFarland’s producing partner. The movie “Ted” will be shown in the evening along with a Q & A session with Clark. 

“He’s really done everything from small independent films to big budget films, so he has a really great perspective on the industry,” Marks said. 

Also on Friday, students from Las Cruces high schools have been invited to be part of the festival and experience the day at panels and workshops.  

Eric and Eliza Roberts are presenting a workshop, “How to Create and Maintain a Career in Show Business,” at the Rio Grande Theatre downtown on Saturday, April 6, an event that is open to the public, no tickets required.  

“I have worked with a lot of actors, and Eric’s perspective is utterly unique,” Marks said. “He has the most film credits of any actor in history. I’ve made 10 movies. Eric has made 708 movies more than I have and that’s going to be exciting for me.” 

Saturday evening the awards for films are given out, another of Marks’ favorite parts of the event. 

“I always enjoy the award show,” he said. “I remember myself in 1995, at Sundance, it was transformative and changed my life. To see the filmmakers’ faces when they win and to hear their gratitude and excitement is great.” 

But it’s not only the festival winners who benefit, it’s a great experience as a filmmaker and a student, he said. 

“To see how five days can really impact the student’s life is really exciting and rewarding for us,” Marks said. 

Tickets to the festival and more information are available at 

Las Cruces International Film Festival, Ross Marks, Eric Roberts, Jason Clark