Baja California

Baja International Film Festival Unveils Slate

Over 70 Films From Around the World Will Be Shown At The Inaugural Festival

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.

Mariachi Gringo promises to be one of the festival's most intriguing films.

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 revenge thriller The Sky in Bloom will be competing in the International Narrative Features category

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.

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