Over 70 Films From Around the World Will Be Shown At The Inaugural Festival
By Chris Sands
The Baja International Film Festival has unveiled the movie slate for their inaugural event, which will be held in Los Cabos from November 14th through the 17th. Over 77 films from around the world have been accepted for the “Cannes of Latin America,” including several eagerly awaited features from top cinematic talent in the U.S. and Mexico. The scheduled screenings, which will be shown at select locations in San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, will include ten international features, seven Mexican features, six Mexican documentaries, 30 international shorts, 13 Mexican shorts, two environmental films, and two tribute films from legendary Mexican filmmaker Nicolas Echevarria.
Perhaps the most heavily anticipated film scheduled for screening at the festival is Rise of the Guardians, an animated adaptation of the popular children’s book series from Dreamworks, the studio founded by industry heavyweights Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen. Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, who directed the acclaimed Pan’s Labyrinth, is the executive producer of Rise of the Guardians, whose characters includes legendary childhood favorites like Santa Claus, Jack Frost, the Easter Bunny, and the Sandman. The big budget extravaganza – which showcases voice work from top Hollywood talent like Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Jude Law, and Isla Fisher – isn’t slated for wider release until November 30th, so the BIFF will provide a sneak peak at one of the big picture releases of the holiday season.
Other films of note include The Sky in Bloom, a stylish revenge thriller set against a backdrop of human trafficking; For Lovers Only, a romantic romp from director Michael Polish about a photographer who encounters an old flame in Paris; Mariachi Gringo, which recounts the adventures of a man who runs away to Mexico to become a mariachi; and While We Were Here, a film about a married woman (Kate Bosworth) who has an affair with a younger man while visiting an Italian island.
The majority of the festival’s screenings will be held at the Los Cabos Convention Center, a 72,000 square-foot event space that was built for the recent G-20 conference of world leaders. Select free screenings are also scheduled for the four day festival, and will be shown at the Cultural Pavilion in Cabo San Lucas, and at the town square, Plaza Mijares, in San Jose del Cabo. In addition to the screenings, the festival will also feature nightly galas, panel discussions, filmmaker receptions, an awards ceremony recognizing the outstanding work of leaders in the film industry, and a live music program highlighted by performances from Sara Bareilles and other musicians from L.A.’s famed Hotel Cafe.
The First Annual Baja International Film Festival was co-founded by Sean and Scott Cross, who also founded the Vail Film Festival and the Colorado Film Institute. The brothers are also serving as two of the film festival’s three artistic directors, along with former Guadalajara Film Festival head Jorge Sanchez Sosa. Support for the inaugural event has come from prominent Los Cabos business people and well-placed members of the Mexican tourism agency, as well as many respected international film industry artists and executives. Foremost among the latter is Academy Award nominated actor and director Edward Norton, who has signed on as the festival’s Special Advisor.
Cash prizes will be awarded for the best film in each category, with $10,000 going to the winners of Best International Feature and Best Mexican Feature. The Mexican feature category is of particular interest, given the festival’s location and focus, and strong candidates for the award include Fogo, a film by director Yulene Olaizola that was also shown at the Cannes Film Festival, and Un Mundo Secreto, whose settings include Baja Sur’s capital city of La Paz. Other award categories at the festival will be Best International Documentary, Best Mexican Documentary, Best International Short Film, and Best Mexican Short Film.
The festival will also feature a tribute to renowned Mexican director and cinematographer Nicolas Echevarria. Born in Tepic, the capital city of the state of Nayarit on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, Echevarria has made over 25 movies since 1973. Two of his directorial efforts will be screened at the festival, including Cabeza de Vaca, a 1991 feature about the Spanish explorer that was showcased at the 41st Berlin Film Festival, and El Nino Fidencio, a 1980 documentary which examined the life of a famous Mexican faith healer.
Want to visit the Baja International Film Festival? Need to know where to stay in star-quality lodgings?
For more information about the festival, visit www.bajainternationalfilmfestival.com.
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