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Ready For Our Close-Up: Baja International Film Festival

Los Cabos to Host Film Festival

Lights, camera, action! Los Cabos has been chosen to star in the inaugural Baja International Film Festival. The ambitious new festival is scheduled from November 14-17th, and will showcase more than 70 films over its four days of programming. The festival founders are hoping it becomes an annual affair, and one that not only increases the profile of Mexico and the Mexican film industry, but eventually evolves into a destination event on the level of Cannes or Sundance.

“I think the Baja International Film Festival is going to bring a lot of respect to Los Cabos, and show we can host big events, international events,” said Jacobo Turquie, the Municipal Director of Tourism.

The film festival, following relatively hard on the heels of the G20 economic conference held here in June, should certainly reinforce the idea that Los Cabos is an attractive destination for big international events. Our beautiful new convention center, perhaps the most important legacy of the G20 meetings, will host the majority of film screenings and cultural activities during the upcoming festival.

The Baja International Film Festival looks to bring a little Hollywood-style glamour to Los Cabos.

Festival founders include prominent local developer and Grupo Questro chair Eduardo Sanchez Navarro, head of the non-profit Los Cabos Arte y Cultura, Alfonso Pasquel Barcenas, and Vail Film Festival co-founders Sean and Scott Cross. The founders hope the festival will serve as a bridge between the U.S. and Mexican film industries, and promote real estate and other developments in the Los Cabos area. It is also expected, of course, that festival attendees will help bolster the local economy, particularly for hotels and other tourist-oriented businesses..

Another important festival goal is promotion of the Environmental Film Program, which will screen environmentally-focused films, and offer awards to actors and directors whose work evinces a commitment  to advocacy and conservation. The festival will also feature panel discussions in which actors, directors, and producers discuss a variety of film industry topics; tributes to those who have made significant contributions to film; and film education via student outreach programs.

The festival’s schedule is a bit of a whirlwind, with daily screenings at the convention center and other local sites, nightly galas at some of Los Cabos’ most luxurious resorts, and an array of panel discussions, concerts, and receptions. Although film, venue, and scheduling details have not yet been announced, festival highlights will include an opening night screening and after-party, a concert featuring Grammy-nominated Sara Bareilles and other award-winning singers and songwriters from LA’s Hotel Café, a VIP cocktail reception, an award ceremony, and a closing night gala.

The four-day screening schedule will feature approximately 30 feature-length films.

The deadline for submitting films was on July 2nd,  and the screening committee, led by Sean and Scott Cross, is busily paring down the more than 500 entries for the festival. The final slate of 70 films will representing the following categories: features, documentaries, and short films, with an emphasis on Mexican filmmakers, and films advocating environmental protection. About 30 feature films will make the final cut.

Although tickets for individual screenings will not go on sale until November 7th, specialty passes are available now. VIP Passes are going for $1500 U.S., and entitle red carpet types to reserved seating at all screenings (in a specially designated VIP section, no less). The VIP Passes also guarantee access to all the festival’s gala events, from the opening night reception to the closing ceremony dinner. Best of all, there is no waiting line. The velvet ropes part for VIP Pass holders. Festival Passes are selling for $350 U.S., and include admittance to all festival and highlight screenings, daily access to the hospitality lounge, as well as attendance at one gala event of your choice.

Prices for individual screenings will be much more modest, with tickets for indoor screenings costing 40 pesos (a little more than $3 U.S.). Outdoor screenings will be free of charge. For more information about scheduling and ticket sales, visit the festival website at www.bajainternationalfilmfestival.com.

What kinds of movies would you most like to see at the upcoming film festival? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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Photos courtesy of the Baja International Film Festival.


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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 Baja.com, Los Cabos Guide, Los Cabos Magazine, 10 Best, and USA Today. He is a full-time resident of Cabo San Lucas.

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