5th Annual Los Cabos Film Fest Kicks Off in Cabo San Lucas

The Los Cabos International Film Festival returned for its 5th edition on Wednesday evening, kicking off what is expected to be another banner year with a red carpet gala at El Pabellón Cultural de la República, a tribute for renowned Mexican cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, and the premiere of this year’s first screening, Jackie, a Jacqueline Kennedy biopic from Chilean director Pablo Larraín.

The film festival has, in five short years, become one of the world’s most prestigious, and this year will present a total of 45 national and international films from Nov. 9–13 at the Cultural Pavilion and Cinemex Theaters at Puerto Paraíso in Cabo San Lucas. Many of the films will be either world premieres, or the first screenings in México or Latin America. As always, the film fest will be an opportunity to bring together members of the North American filmmaking community, and will include an investor summit and a Meet-MART that is drawing Hollywood elites representing CAA, Netflix, IM Global, AG Studios, IMR International and more.

Los Cabos International Film Festival

Canadian child actor Jacob Tremblay works the press at the red carpet premiere of the 5th annual Los Cabos International Film Festival.

Elegant red carpet openings have been a staple since the event began as the Baja International Film Festival in 2012, and this year, as at festivals past, a crowd turned out to see the stars. Those appearing at this year’s gala screenings–which take place nightly, Wed. – Sat. at the Cultural Pavilion–include Dennis Quaid, Cary Elwes (Quaid and Elwes are promoting their new Crackle original series, The Art of More), Canadian child actor Jacob Tremblay (star of festival film Burn Your Maps), Mexican singer-songwriter Natalia Lafourcade (a domentary about the making of her last album, Hasta La Raíz, will be tonight’s gala screening), and Mexican music, film and television personalities like Carlos Cuarón, Ilse Salas, Ana Serradilla, Christopher Uckermann, Jay de la Cueva and Tony Dalton.

Jackie provided a strong start to the festival. The powerful and beautifully framed exploration of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy’s life in the immediate wake of the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy, is sure to garner Oscar buzz for Natalie Portman (who portrays the former First Lady). The film was produced by Darren Aronofsky (who directed Portman in her Oscar winning turn in Black Swan) and directed by Pablo Larraín, whose Academy Award nominated film No was previously screened at the festival. Larraín is also coming off rave reviews at Cannes for his film Neruda, an anti-biopic about Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.

“I’m not a big fan of biopics, to be honest,” Larraín told Variety, “and I don’t have any particular attachment to that history. But then I kind of connected with Jackie herself. I’d only worked with male main characters before, so this was the first time I could approach a woman’s perspective. And the more I learned about her, how she was able to shape all these very complicated ideas of JFK’s legacy, I wanted to explore that. Because it had all the elements that you need for a movie: rage, curiosity, and love.”

Los Cabos International Film Festival

Mexican cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, who is being honored at this year’s festival, speaks with event director Alonso Aguilar-Castillo at The Resort at Pedregal. Photo courtesy of Paulo Vidales/Imagen Latente

The first day of the festival was also distinguished by a ceremony honoring esteemed Mexican cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, the man behind the camera for such films as Amores Perros,  Frida, 8 Mile, 21 Grams, Brokeback Mountain, Babel, Argo and The Wolf of Wall Street. The Mexico City native appeared at an afternoon press conference at The Resort at Pedregal with festival director Alonso Aguilar-Castillo, and at a separate ceremony was presented with La Ballena de Los Cabos, an award in the shape of a whale designed by Daniel Espinosa.

Prieto is one of three cinematic figures being honored this year. He is joined by director Oliver Stone, whose films Salvador and JFK will be screened in tribute, and Italian actress Monica Bellucci, who is being given a lifetime achievement award. Her latest film, On The Milky Road–a love story set in the war-torn Balkans–will be shown on Friday and Sunday at Cinemex.

Woody Allen’s new film, Café Society, will make its Mexican premiere, as will Captain Fantastic (starring Viggo Mortensen as the unconventional father of six children), and the directorial debut from Star Wars series actor Ewan McGregor (American Pastoral).

Los Cabos International Film Festival

Jackie, a biopic of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in the immediate wake of the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy, was the opening night screening at the 5th annual Los Cabos International Film Festival.

Films will also compete for prizes in the Los Cabos, México and Cinemex categories, as well as under the headings of Green (environmentally conscious) and B-Sides (music-themed).

Ticket packages that include party and screening passes are available, as are individual movie tickets. For more information, including a schedule of all screenings, visit cabosfilmfestival.com.