The Los Cabos International Film Festival wrapped up on Sunday, November 13, 2016, with a final series of screenings capping off another successful five-day whirlwind of red carpet galas, movie premieres, elegant cocktail parties and behind the scenes dealmaking.
Women were the big winners at the 5th annual edition, with female directrors taking home top prizes in most of the festival’s major categories. Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, about a young woman’s transformational journey across the U.S., took top honors, winning the jury-presented Competencia Los Cabos (Los Cabos Competition) over a strong field that included eight other auteur-centered independent films.
Lucía Carreras’ Tamara and the Ladybug, a joint Spanish and Mexican production that chronicles the difficulties encountered by a special needs woman and her neighbor when they attempt to return a baby girl to her parents, won the prize in the México category.
The biggest cash prize went to The Rosenbergs, a revisionist history of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg–Americans executed as Soviet spies in 1953–from French born director Sophie Barthes. She received 50,000 for post-production costs from the Gabriel Figueroa Film Fund, one of the festival’s many behind the scenes production programs. The inaugural Investor Summit was also aimed at promoting young filmmakers, and promoting collaboration between the film industries of México, Canada and the U.S.
A fourth woman, María José Cuevas, won the Audience Award for her film Bellas de Noche, a look at the contemporary lives of famed Mexican showgirls from the 1970s that is by turns sad, funny, uplifting and profound.
Another woman, Monica Bellucci, was honored with the festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award, earning her the coveted Ballena de Los Cabos. The Italian actress appeared to promote her newest film, On the Milky Road, a love story set in war-torn Serbia.
And yet two more women directors, Alejandra Márquez (Nieves) and Natalia Beristáin (The Goodbyes), were given technical awards. Other winners included the Kris Avedisian directed Donald Cried, which took home the Labodigital Award; and Juan Andrés and Arango García’s film X500, which was presented with the Cinemex Award.
Bellucci and Dennis Quaid joined the list of international movie stars who have made the pilgrimmage to Los Cabos for the festival, a roll call that already included Edward Norton, Reese Witherspoon, Liam Neeson, Matt Dillon, Ewan McGregor and Virginia Madsen.