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Los Cabos Shines: Night 3 of the Baja International Film Festival

Los Cabos Shines:  Night 3 of the Baja International Film Festival Sees Star Turns and Singer Sara Bareilles

by Chris Sands

Matt Dillon and Barry Gifford at a Q&A following the screening of their movie, City of Ghosts at the Baja International Film Festival. Photo by Lisa green.

The hits kept coming during day three of the Baja International Film Festival, with a full slate of movies and events providing some very memorable moments.

The most popular screening at the Los Cabos Convention Center was a late afternoon showcase of City of Ghosts, a 2002 feature starring Matt Dillon, James Caan, Natascha McElhone, Gerard Depardieu, and Stellan Skarsgard. The atmospheric character study, primarily filmed on location in Cambodia, was part of the festival’s tribute to Dillon, who is being honored for his lifelong contributions to cinema.

Dillon’s appearance at the post-screening Q and A brought some glamor to the festivities, and a phalanx of photographers and videographers were on hand to capture the sit-down discussion with Dillon and Barry Gifford, the Wild at Heart author and co-writer of City of Ghosts.


The social highlight of day three, meanwhile, was a spectacular concert under the stars at Puerto Los Cabos Marina.

Guests were welcomed with wine and a moonlight art walk along the Malecon, a cinematically scenic entrance that was only enhanced by harp, guitar, and violin soloists strategically stationed around the boardwalk.

After a parade of yachts and luxury fishing boats, the exclusive crowd of about 300 lucky invitees was ushered onto an expansive grassy area given over to culinary sponsors, cocktail and dinner tables, and a huge stage prepared for the evening’s entertainment.

The Friday night Hotel Cafe concert was headlined by Grammy Award nominated hit maker Sara Bareilles, best known for her million selling Love Song, with other terrific performances turned in by Cary Brothers, Harper Blynn, Holly Conlan, and Madi Diaz.

LosCabos Shines with singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles and Hotel Cafe Concert. Photo by Chris + Lynn.

Los Cabos Shines: Night 2 of the Baja International Film Festival Focuses on Mexico in the Exotic Setting of the Wirikuta Cactus Garden

By Chris Sands

After last night’s red carpet kick-off, the First Annual Baja International Film Festival swung into high gear today with a full day of screenings at the Los Cabos Convention Center, evening showings at the Cultural Pavilion in Cabo San Lucas and Plaza Mijares in San Jose del Cabo, and – the cherry on top of the second day sundae – a filmmaker reception, dinner, and outdoor screening of the musical documentary Hecho en Mexico (Made in Mexico) amidst the superabundance of succulents at Puerto Los Cabos’ Wirikuta Cactus Garden.

The majority of Thursday’s festivities were centered at the Los Cabos Convention Center, which, coincidentally enough, was celebrating its first anniversary. Construction on the 72,000 square foot facility started one year ago today, and was completed on May 31st, just in time for June’s G-20 conference of world leaders. The convention center’s hospitality lounge opened at 10 a.m., with early arrivals sampling tasty buffet treats, wine, and Havana Club cocktails served amidst elegant arrangements of snow white love seats.

The screenings started at 11 a.m., with a mixed bag of movies slated into the six onsite theaters, including Mexican and international shorts, documentaries, and highly anticipated narrative features like The Sky in Bloom, a stylish crime thriller set in contemporary England. The tribute to Mexican filmmaker Nicolas Echevarria was another second day highlight, with screenings of his films Nino Fidencio, a 1980 documentary about the life of a famous Mexican faith healer, and Cabeza de Vaca, which recounts the story of a 16th century Spanish expedition to the new world.

Thursday’s biggest and most highly anticipated event was the filmmaker reception and screening at Wirikuta. The cactus garden is home to over 1500 varieties of desert plants, and is a showpiece of developer and film festival co-founder Eduardo Sanchez Navarro’s Puerto Los Cabos, a 2,000-acre oceanfront development located three miles northeast of San Jose del Cabo. In addition to the botanical wonders of Wirikuta, Puerto Los Cabos also boasts a golf course designed by major champions Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman, and an art walk featuring fifteen bronze sculptures by renowned and recently deceased artist Leonora Carrington.

The Wirikuta reception and dinner was an outstanding feat of event planning, with hundreds of tables and thousands of chairs scattered throughout the property, and buffet food from area restaurant sponsors like Mamma Mia, The Container Restaurant, and The Office served after the well-received screening of Hecho en Mexico, a stirring documentary showcasing the folk, pop, and rap music of Mexico. The Baja International Film Festival has just begun.

Daily updates and highlights on all the action will be coming in, here at Find out where to stay when you are visiting Los Cabos, and what to do in and around the area!

Los Cabos Shines:  Night 1 of the Baja International Film Festival Focuses on Art and Cultural Partnership by Carla White

Los Cabos Shines: The Baja International Film Festival opening night (photo by Chris + Lynn Photographers)

November 14:  The Baja International Film Festival opening ceremonies at the new Los Cabos Convention Center.   Yes, stars attended this gala event..but the convention center, itself, is a star in its own right.  A ‘green’ project, this fantastic facility glowed with outstanding lighting enhancing plants and succulents that literally were clinging to the walls.  Recently, the convention center was host to the G20 summit…its first major event.  But inside sources tell us that the film festival brought out the center’s best…and it also brought out filmmakers, actors and an elite group of film lovers and social mavens.  What a night!

Actor Josh Lucas on the red carpet (Photo by Chris + Lynn Photographers)

The traditional things were there:  red carpet, flash bulbs (well, mas o menos), paparazzi, and security guys. But there was a different feeling in the air…a sense of excitement about this all-new venue for films.  It was also very clear that at the core of this Baja International Film Festival is a very real artistic partnership between Mexico, the United States and film production on a global scale.  That sounds lofty…but hearing Josh Lucas talk about his childhood memories of kayaking in La Paz, Baja Sur, was one of those Baja moments that seemed very much at the heart of this event.  People like Pilar Alvarado (Barcelo Hotels and Resorts) clearly appreciated the event and feel that Los Cabos is the perfect place for the glitz, glamour and artistry that the film festival brings.

Red carpet moments at the Baja International Film Festival. Photo by Chris + Lynn Photographers.

With openings like Azul Intangible and The Iceman, this festival is already promising to be one of the major film events of every year. The Cross brothers, producers of this event, have a solid track record in conceiving of and producing this kind of event, after all: They are credited with having the vision, business savvy and persistence to bring the now-famous Vail film festival to fruition.  In Los Cabos, it is clear by the remarks that were presented at the inaugural ceremony — both by Mexico’s top film, government and tourism leaders and by the international film community — that the Baja event has every opportunity to be an artistic and cultural success. Red carpets, cocktail receptions, screenings and a late night party — and all of that only on Night 1!  Visit to find out what Night 2, 3 and 4 will be like. is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information 7 days a week,365 days a year.


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About Chris Sands

Chris Sands is the author of Bohemia by the Bay, and writes about wine, golf, and travel for publications such as, Los Cabos Guide, Los Cabos Magazine, 10 Best, and USA Today. He is a full-time resident of Cabo San Lucas.