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The first annual Baja International Film Festival delivered its awards
The first annual Baja International Film Festival, was held November 14-17 in Cabo, Mexico.
Awards were presented (Saturday, November 17th at the Cabo Convention Center) to two-time Academy Award-nominee Edward Norton, Academy Award-nominee Virginia Madsen, iconic filmmaker and President of the Directors Guild of America Michael Apted, celebrated actor Diego Luna, Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo, acclaimed director Nicolas Echevarria, and Academy Award-nominee Matt Dillon. T
Edward Norton is a two-time Academy Award-nominated actor and filmmaker. He is also a committed social and environmental activist who serves on the Boards of: President Obama's Committee for the Arts and Humanities; Enterprise Community Partners (affordable housing); Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (conservation and community development); the Signature Theater Company; the Friends of the High Line and the Conservation Lands Foundation. He also created and endowed the Middle East Peacemakers Fund at Yale University. In 2010, he was appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon as the United Nations Ambassador for Biodiversity. He is the Co-Founder of CrowdRise, a web-based platform promoting and facilitating individual activism, peer-to-peer fundraising and innovative grassroots crowd-funding strategies for non-profits. CrowdRise was named by Barron's as a "Top 25 Global Philanthropist."
Diego Luna is not only a formidable talent in Mexico, but one of the great actors of his generation. In addition to being a versatile actor, he has also established himself as a respected producer and filmmaker. Since childhood, he has moved in cinematic and theater circles, so his natural ease in front of the camera and original performances come as no surprise. In many ways, Diego Luna epitomizes what the festival itself aspires to: a Mexican talent who has made a dramatic and lasting impression on the world stage. He has collaborated with some of the industry's most admired directors, including Gus Van Sant and Steven Spielberg. It is a great honor to celebrate a talent that still has so much to offer to Mexican cinema, international cinema, and the movie-going public.
From her mesmerizing Academy Award-nominated performance in 'Frozen River' to her tour-de-force, Academy Award winning performance in 'The Fighter,' Melissa Leo has starred in over 25 films, and created some of the most memorable and fully realized characters on screen. Her rich and riveting work includes a wide range of deeply nuanced roles, from the role of Rachel in 'The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada,' to her captivating and brilliant performance as Marianne in '21 Grams.' She has been nominated for over 50 industry awards, and won 35, including the Academy Award. She has created some of the most interesting and varied characters on screen, and defined what it means to be a versatile actor.
Nicolas Echevarria is an acclaimed Mexican film director and cinematographer. He has directed over 20 films since 1973. His acclaimed 1991 film "Cabeza de Vaca" played at the prestigious 41st Berlin International Film Festival. His films include "Life Kills" starring Daniel Gimenez Cachoand Susana Zabaleta, "Los Enemigos" starring Edgar Alexen and Farnesio de Bernal, "De La Calle," starring Alejandro Ainsle and Luis de Icaza, and many more.
Virginia Madsen is an Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominated actress, perhaps best known for her scene-stealing performance in SIDEWAYS, opposite Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church. She is also a documentary film producer; I KNOW A WOMAN LIKE THAT and FIGHTING GRAVITY. Throughout her career, she has easily transitioned between film and television, and has demonstrated a tremendous range in a variety of roles. Virginia Madsen has worked with some of the most lauded directors in the film industry, including David Lynch (DUNE), Dennis Hopper(THE HOT SPOT), Francis Ford Coppola (THE RAINMAKER) and Robert Altman (A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION).
Michael Apted is one of Hollywood's leading film directors, and serves as the current head of the Director's Guild of America. Among his honors, Mr. Apted was awarded the C.M.G. for his services to British film and television, and has received over 30 professional awards and nominations for his amazing body of work. He has directed over 70 film and television projects, and has directed three different actors to Oscar-winning and Oscar-nominated performances, including Sissy Spacek in 'Coal Miner's Daughter,' Jodie Foster in 'Nell,' and Sigourney Weaver in 'Gorillas in the Mist.' His stellar directorial work also includes the standout films 'Blink,' 'The World Is Not Enough,' 'Enigma,' 'Enough,' 'Amazing Grace,' 'Class Action' 'Gorky Park,' 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,' and his newest film, 'Chasing Mavericks,' starring Gerard Butler andJonny Weston.
Matt Dillon has acted in over 50 films, and is one of America's best known and most respected actors. His career spans three decades and showcases his tremendous range and versatility. He has worked with the film industry's most acclaimed directors, always delivering a nuanced and multi-faceted performance. He has worked twice with director Francis Ford Coppola, in the films 'The Outsiders' and 'Rumblefish,' with Garry Marshall in 'The Flamingo Kid,' with Arthur Penn in 'Target,' with Gus Van Sant in 'Drugstore Cowboy,' with James Deardon in 'A Kiss Before Dying,' withAnthony Minghella in 'Mr. Wonderful,' and with many more of Hollywood's leading directors. His role in the Farrelly brothers' 'There's Something About Mary' showcased his incredible comedic skills, and his vast and profound body of work has made him an icon in American cinema.
The Baja International Film Festival welcomed special guests including Academy Award-Winner Octavia Spencer, 4-Time Emmy Winner Allison Janney, Chad Michael Murray, Billy Zane, Gael Garcia Bernal, Josh Lucas, Adrian Grenier, Natalie Morales, Rachel Leigh Cook, Kuno Becker, Mike Judge, Mark Polish, Maria Conchita Alonso, Jesse McCartney, Marisol Nichols, and writer/director Tate Taylor who will be participating in the week's festivities.
The Festival has showcased 80 films from 18 countries, including 5 international feature films in competition, 5 Mexican feature films in competition, 5 international documentaries in competition, 5 Mexican documentaries in competition, 30 international shorts, 13 Mexican shorts, 4 environmental films, as well as Special Presentation screenings of 7 international feature films, and 6 Mexican feature films. For more information, please visit http://biff.festivalgenius.com/2012/.
Best International Feature – No, directed by Pablo Larrain. Revolving around Chile’s 1988 referendum on the Pinochet regime, this brilliant behind-the-scenes drama tracks with engaging detail the unfolding of a political marketing campaign that succeeded against all odds.
Best Mexican Feature – Los Mejores Temas, directed by Nicolás Pereda. Drifting from fiction to documentary, Los Mejores Temas tells the story of Emilio, a man in his fifties, who shows up at his family home after fifteen years of absence.
Best International Documentary – First Position, directed by Bess Kargman. Six young dancers from Italy, Africa, Israel, Colombia, and other countries battle intense pressure as they prepare for the most prestigious ballet competition in the world.
Best Mexican Documentary – Tie between two films.
La Revoluciòn de Los Alcatraces, directed by Luciana Kaplan, is a documentary about Eufrosina Cruz Mendoza, a native of Santa Maria Quiegolani, an indigenous community located in the Sierra Sur of Oaxaca.
Best International Short Film – Luminaris, directed by Juan Pablo Zaramella. In a world where light reigns and sets the pace of life, an average man has a plan that can change the natural order of things.
Best Mexican Short Film – Yuban Yasib, directed by Vázquez Colmenares. This documentary is about the transformation of a Zapotecan community as it portrays the longing for a set of principles that are about to die and the effort the people make to keep their culture alive.
The Festival also bestowed Tribute Awards to the following recipients who were in attendance to accept their honors.
Two-time Academy Award-nominee Edward Norton for Outstanding Achievement in Acting. Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo for Excellence in Acting.
Celebrated actor Diego Luna for Excellence in Acting. Academy Award-nominee Virginia Madsen for Excellence in Acting. Academy Award-nominee Matt Dillon for Outstanding Contribution to Cinema.
Acclaimed director Nicolas Echevarria, for Excellence in Directing.
Iconic filmmaker and Secretary-Treasurer of the Directors Guild of America Michael Apted for Outstanding Achievement in Directing.
The Awards were presented during the Baja International Film Festival’s Closing Night Gala presented by the Mexico Tourism Board on Saturday, November 17th at the state-of-the-art Cabo Convention Center.
Winners of the inaugural Virgin Produced Screenplay Competition,
The Bulletin Board
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