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Former NMSU professor’s feature film to return to Rio Grande Theatre

  • By Victoria Balderrama
  • 575-646-1614
  • Nov 25, 2019
Woman towering over man with knife in hand

To celebrate the life of New Mexico State University professor and director Orville “Buddy” Wanzer, the Las Cruces International Film Festival and Film Las Cruces present a film screening of “The Devil’s Mistress” directed by Wanzer Thursday, Dec. 5. 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 Theatre.

The screening will be held at 7 p.m. in downtown Las Cruces at the Rio Grande Theatre followed by a reception.

The screening will draw friends, family and former students of Wanzer’s to celebrate his legacy as an NMSU professor and his artistic achievements as an artist and filmmaker in the Southwest.

Wanzer died in February 2019. He is recognized for his contribution in growing an independent film scene in southern New Mexico through foreign film series, special screenings and student mentoring.

“The Devil’s Mistress,” transforms 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, “The Birth of Acid Western,” about Wanzer and his relevance to southern New Mexico film culture, with his contribution to the acid western subgenre.

At the screening, Smith will present a promotional trailer for her film, including footage of Wanzer in his last days, interviews with his closest friends and relatives, and archival materials sourced from the Wanzer collections in the Rio Grande Historical Collections at NMSU and the Institute of Historical Survey in Las Cruces.

Tickets and information for the event are available online at, or RSVP on Facebook via the film webpage at