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Carl Franklin's 'Bless Me Ultima' Will Get National Theatrical Release After All

by Tambay A. Obenson
December 13, 2012 12:59 PM
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On the heels of my post yesterday, revealing the film's trailer, as well as news that it's currently playing only in New Mexico, we were just alerted to some new piece of info, which was great to read.

First, a recap... A project we've been following since we first discovered it in late 2010, from director Carl Franklin, called Bless Me, Ultima, based on Rudolfo Anaya’s award-winning novel of the same name, which chronicles the turbulent coming-of-age story of Antonio, a young boy growing up in New Mexico during World War II, and his relationship with Ultima, an elderly medicine woman who helps Antonio navigate the dangerous battle between good and evil raging in his village, and ultimately helps him discover his own spiritual identity.

The project was actually announced in early 2009, and Franklin was also the screenwriter for the film, based on the 40 year old novel - one that I haven't read, but from the little research I did, the consensus is that it would in fact be a challenge to make a film based on it, because of its content, and style.

"Magical realism" was one critic's description of it.

Also, the book was reportedly banned and burned by several groups, and it ranks highly on the American Library Association's list of  banned/challenged books from 2000 to 2009; apparently, many opposed "the profanity and the alternative religious content."

Although the novel is said to be a reading requirement in high schools across the USA.

The film was shot on location in New Mexico, with a cast and crew made up mostly of New Mexicans.

And as noted, it's now officially out in theaters, BUT only in New Mexico theaters at the moment, playing in Albuquerque and Sante Fe.

I received the above info (on the top image) announcing a planned national roll-out, given how successful the film's early run has been in New Mexico and Texas; so it looks like many more of you will be able to check out Mr Franklin's latest big screen work.

I'm surprised New York isn't one of the listed cities. I guess I'll have to wait a bit longer to see it. But thankfully there are S&A writers in some of those other states/cities, so hopefully we'll be able to get some first-hand feedback on the film, when it opens in 200 theaters next February.

In the meantime, iIt's trailer is embedded below:

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  • Boss | December 13, 2012 5:33 PMReply

    Glad it's finally coming out.

  • Donella | December 13, 2012 1:27 PMReply

    "I'm surprised New York isn't one of the listed cities." This is a surprise to me as well. The east coast is bereft except for Florida. One of the suits should take another look at population demographics in the North Carolina area, at least. But good for Carl Franklin. Quality source, quality director. I'm looking forward to it.

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