Drew Stuart, editor of the Hudspeth County Herald, writes about the 2011 installation of Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler’s Movie Mountain (Méliès) at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York. The film documents the forgotten history of an otherwise unremarkable geographic feature outside of Sierra Blanca, and Stuart speaks with John Elder, one of the Hudspeth County residents participating in the project. Movie Mountain (Méliès) will screen alongside 2009’s Grand Paris Texas and the premiere of the Ballroom Marfa-commissioned Giant as part of Sound Speed Marker, opening here in Marfa on February 28, 2014.
From the January 28, 2011 edition of the Herald …
Featuring Sierra Blanca Residents, Movie Mountain Film Screens in Manhattan
This month and next a group of Sierra Blanca-area residents are making their presence felt almost 2,000 miles, in a rather unlikely location: a gallery in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood.
Méliès, a film by Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler, opened at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery Jan. 8, and screenings will continue through Feb. 5. The film focuses on Movie Mountain, an unassuming peak northeast of Sierra Blanca; the film uses conversations with local residents to explore that peak’s somewhat shadowy connection to the silent-movie era.
Hudspeth County residents included in the 24-minute movie include David Armstrong, Kit Bramblett, John Elder, Tom D. Ellison, Gary Jennings, Ben Lowry, Julio Marta, Sara Marta, Tom Neely, Christina Ramirez and James Rush. The New York Times printed a positive review of the film on Jan. 13, describing it as “beautifully made.”
Located on old McAdoo ranch land, the peak has been known as Movie Mountain for many decades. According to local lore, a silent-film crew shot footage at the hill in the early part of the 20th century. Local memories of the filming are scant on details, and footage from a film at Movie Mountain has not been found or identified.