First Film Shot Entirely in Las Cruces Screening

Oct 17, 2019

First film shot entirely in Las Cruces to return to the Rio Grande Theatre fifty-four years after its national premiere.

The Las Cruces International Film Festival and Film Las Cruces present,The Devil’s Mistress” by director Orville “Buddy” Wanzer on Saturday, December 5th at the Rio Grande Theatre. Wanzer’s 1965 cult classic was the first feature film created and produced in the Las Cruces area and premiered nationally at the Rio Grande Theater. The screening will draw friends, family, and former students of Wanzer’s from the region to celebrate his legacy as an NMSU professor and his artistic achievements as a filmmaker in the Southwest.  Wanzer passed away in February this year, was instrumental in growing an independent film scene in southern New Mexico through various foreign film series, special screenings, and student mentoring.

“The Devil’s Mistress” sought to transform the western into what Wanzer described as a “Modern Western, without the Cavalry and without the Indians.” The movie tells the story of four robbers on the lam, escaping toward the Organ Mountains when they happen upon the devil and his mistress, and meet their doom.  This special screening is a fundraiser with proceeds going toward the completion of NMSU instructor Julia Smith’s work-in-progress documentary about Wanzer and his relevance to southern New Mexico film culture with his contribution to the “acid western” subgenre.  Attendees will be able to see a trailer for the upcoming film and are invited to a reception after the screening.

Smith’s documentary will explore this variant of the revisionist western genre where there are no heroes and no enemies. Through the The Devil’s Mistress, Smith’s work will explore troubled lines of morality and gender power in the Southwest and Hollywood. Her documentary will consider the production of the film in relationship to the subgenre of the “Acid Western” and in relation to New Mexico’s burgeoning film industry. 

At the screening, Smith will present a teaser trailer for her project, including footage of Wanzer in his last days, interviews with his closest friends and relatives, and archival materials sourced from the Wanzer collections the Rio Grande Historical Collections at NMSU and the Institute of Historical Survey in Las Cruces.  The screening is set for Thursday, December 5th at 7:00 pm at the Rio Grande Theatre, 211 Main Street, in Downtown Las Cruces.

Contact: Julia Smith, (575) 680-0578,