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Trailer For Carl Franklin's 'Bless Me Ultima' Surfaces + Release Playdates

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act December 12, 2012 at 12:27PM

A project we've been following since we first discovered in late 2010, finally gets a trailer, and release.
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Bless me Ultima

A project we've been following since we first discovered in late 2010, finally gets a trailer, and release.

Recapping... when we first wrote about it, director Carl Franklin had been quiet for awhile it seemed; at the time, he hadn't been behind the camera since 2003, when he directed Denzel Washington in the thriller, Out Of Time.

Fans of Franklin should be pleased to know that he's returning to the feature film director's chair, to produce a film 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 country.

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

I anticipated it would be released in 2011 (didn't happen); it's now officially out in theaters, much to my surprise, BUT only in New Mexico theaters at the moment. According to the film's website, it's currently playing in Albuquerque and Sante Fe theaters, and has actually been out since September, when it made its premiere in El Paso, TX, opening in four theaters there.

But if we have any readers in Albuquerque or Sante Fe, consider giving the film a look, and if you do, share your thoughts.

The producers are working to give the film a wider release, but no updates on that front yet.

In the meantime, a trailer for the film exists, which I found this morning. It's embedded below:

This article is related to: Carl Franklin


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