7th Annual Film Festival

Stay tuned somewhere for the schedule, because at this moment they don’t even have a venue
BY: FERNANDO BALDERAS RODRIGUEZ

After its grand opening premier six years ago, The 2018 Los Cabos International Film Festival returns this year for another 5 day run from November 7-11 at the Pavilion Cultural Center in Cabo San Lucas. If that building is fixed it time, which the city said can-do. It was badly damaged by the recent rains.

 Founded in 2012 by Scott Cross, Sean Cross, and Pablo Sanchez-Navarro, and funded by Eduardo Sanchez-Navarro, Alfonso Pasquel, Juan Gallardo Thurlow, the event changed its venue from the San Jose Convention Center in 2012, to the cultural center in 2013. That’s the funny looking gray building on the Marina downtown Cabo.

The Mexican faction took the event over the second year, kicking out the Cross brothers who now have a gag order in effect. The film fest was taken in a different direction, towards more Latin films in Spanish. As a result of that, and the unreliability of their schedule, the number of American stars coming has slowed down, although we did get Nicole Kidman at the closing ceremonies last year.

As of two weeks out, when this was written, there has been no announcement of what stars are coming nor a list of all the films and their venues and times. We would be hesitant to tell you a schedule if we had one and this year there is the added uncertainty of the building being too rickety to use.

But here is some news on some films that we do have.

This year's cast of Hollywood stars and independent films visiting Los Cabos for the International Film Fest includes Willem Dafoe as Vincent Van Gogh in the film ''At Eternity's Gate.'' As Van Gogh, Willem Dafoe offers a striking characterization by playing the famous Dutch painter under the passionate direction of Julian Schnabel. Paris, France painter Paul Gauguin (Oscar Isaac) recommends that his tormented friend Vincent van Gogh (Willem Dafoe) travel to the south of France to find sunshine. This compelling recommendation leads Van Gogh to Arles, where his creative energy and emotional problems enter in constant conflict, triggering one of the most decisive and difficult stages of the artist’s life.

Another American film not to be missed is "Destroyer'' which stars an unrecognizable Nicole Kidman, as a Los Angeles police detective, who approaches the scene of an intriguing crime—a man covered in blood lies facing down, and the only clue to finding the culprit is a one-dollar bill soaked in purple paint. Kidman's appearance in the film is akin to the 2004 Oscar-winning Charlize Theron Best Actress portrayal of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer. For an actress considered very attractive, Kidman is cast in an extremely unattractive plain-Jane, tough girl opposite.

While he may not pull into the first night's red-carpet ceremony in a blazing fast, tires screeching, race car Porsche, Steve McQueen brings an impressive fourth feature film to the festival as director of "Widows." An hour and a half long compelling criminal drama, rooted in the gender and racial tensions of modern-day Chicago. With his impeccable visual style, McQueen has assembled an impressive ensemble of actors, led by Viola Davis. In the film, when she learns about her husband’s death at the hands of the police, Veronica (Viola Davis) finds out that her wealthy lifestyle is the result of her partner’s (Liam Neeson) criminal activities. While still mourning, political bigwigs request she pay off her late husband’s million-dollar debt. Veronica then decides to contact three women she has never met before (Michelle Rodríguez, Elizabeth Debicki and Cynthia Erivo), who all have only one thing in common with her—they all are widows of members of a criminal gang that no longer exists. Her plan is to carry out one last big robbery that would clear them of all debt and allow them to start anew, in a male-dominated world.

Based on a true story, ''American Animals,'' captures the misadventure of four bright students from well-off families who---wanting to break free from their mundane and insignificant lives in a Kentucky small town---sought media fame by planning the robbery of antique books safely stored at their university. Their greatest obstacle was their own childish naivety. Directed and written by Bart Layton, the film was made with the cooperation and work alongside the real authors of this robbery in a documentary research style. In his first feature film, Layton, has put together an unusual gangster movie, which uses humor to showcase the drama of a small-town teenagers and their dreams of greatness.

Every year, the festival pays tribute to outstanding members of the North American film scene. Actors, directors and screenwriters have received recognition for their trajectories throughout the festival’s four year-old award. This year the Festival will pay tribute to the iconic American scriptwriter and director Paul Schrader. Some of Schrader's best films include American Gigolo (1980), Patty Hearst (1988), and The Comfort of Strangers (1990). His screenwriting credits consist of Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), and The Last Temptation of Christ (1988).

Most of the films will be shown at the Cinemex Puerto Paraíso Theaters, and at the Cultural Center. The Los Cabos International Film Festival will also present $1.6 million pesos towards 21 films that will be recipients of the Gabriel Figueroa Film Fund. The GFFF boosts projects in development and in post-production stages, and is a showcase to promote co-productions, and distribution. The 21 selected titles that will participate in a bid to receive funding through the following three categories: Film in Development, Film in Post Production (Work in Progress) and TV Series in Development. These 21 titles were picked out of 535 competing projects that applied for the different categories of this one-of–a-kind Fund, which promotes the creation and completion of new film and TV projects produced or co-produced by Mexico, USA, Canada and Latin America.

Mexico First, opens the doors not only to new and daring Mexican filmmakers, with stories as intimate as they are universal. The Los Cabos Competition, brings together an eclectic and vibrant selection of films produced or co-produced by Mexico, the United States and Canada. Winners of the Cinemex Mexico First Prize, The Los Cabos Competition Award, the FIPRESCI Award, the Art Kingdom Award and the Cinemex Audience Award will be announced during closing ceremonies on Saturday, November 10, 2018. The Los Cabos Competition films are Bisbee '17 (Directed by. Robert Greene), Comb Me A Revolver (Directed by Julio Hernández Cordón), Genèse by Philippe Lesage, The Great Darkened Days (Maxime Giroux), Lemonade (Ioana Uricaru), Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker), Summer Birds (Co-Directed by Cristina Gallego, and Ciro Guerra), Skate Kitchen (Crystal Moselle) and We The Animals (Jeremiah Zagar). For more information please visit, www.cabosfilmfestival.com