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Baja’s Los Cabos Fest Adds Two Days, Co-Pro Forum (EXCLUSIVE)

After vibrant second edition, Los Cabos sets 2014 dates

MADRID – Marking further rapid growth at the Mexico-U.S.-Canada mart-meet, Baja California’s 3rd Los Cabos International Film Festival will add two more days and a new Co-Production Forum.

Previously known as the Baja Intl. Film Festival, but renamed at the end of last November’s second edition, the 3rd Los Cabos Fest has set dates of Nov. 11-16, its kick-off coinciding once more with the final stretches of Santa Monica’s American Film Market.

Opening on a Tuesday night, CIFF will now close on a Sunday.

In 2013, CIFF offered 80 screenings, including 11 world premieres, plus 40 industry activities.

“The main reason for the extension is to give our guests more time to watch our programming at the same time as participating in industry events,” CIFF director Alonso Aguilar told Variety.

“Some said that was challenging last year. We got such good reviews of the programming that we wanted it to be accessible,” he added, saying the final Sunday will feature free-of-charge outdoor screenings.

Los Cabos will also add a Co-Production Forum, showcasing about 12 projects presented by producers from Mexico, the U.S. or Canada, per CIFF general coordinator Alejandra Paulin.

The new Forum will imply a hiked presence of U.S. and Canadian producers. Los Cabos intends to invite key potential co-producers from Europe, Latin America and the rest of the world, Paulin said.

Los Cabos already works closely with key Canadian companies such as Telefilm Canada and the Canada Media Production Assn (CMPA).

The Co-Production Forum endows CIFF with a full-bore industry event line-up: Work in Progress 2, offering a $10,000 ISD Award and a $30,000 Moviecity Special Award; the new Co-Production Forum; discussion panels, workshops, a video library and a meeting point.

In all, the 3rd Los Cabos event will put up $280,000-plus in prizes, lead by its Gabriel Figueroa Fund that will once more offer two Labodigital Awards, each worth $51,200 in production services, for two Mexican movies. Also on offer: Seven $5,000 cash prizes for Mexican features in development.

Los Cabos’ second edition, the first under its current management team, clicked with the local populace, doubling audiences to 14,300 attendees, a highly creditable figure for a festival located at a famed beach resort.

A vibrant second edition also channeled and rode the fast-building wave of cross-border link-ups between the U.S. and Mexico industries, and now Mexican and Canadian production sectors.

At least three factors are in play. Sluiced by tax-break coin, plus governmental subsidies, Mexico is now no longer a dirt-poor movie industry neighbor; Mexico’s biggest production outfits – Canana, AG Studios, Lemon Films, Alebrije Films, for instance – either run operations both Mexico City and L.A. or make movies targeting Latinos on both sides of the border; top Mexican talent is proving equally mobile.

With CIFF careful to court Hollywood execs and agents – who set up shop at the luxury Las Ventanas Hotel – and top-notch Mexican players, the 2nd Los Cabos Fest saw a flurry of variegated industry announcements:  Investor Cutting Edge Group boarded “Jane’s Got a Gun” and “The Signal”; Dakota Fanning was attached to Gerardo Naranjo’s first English-language movie, a punk band groupie tale, produced by Verisimilitude and Lola Pictures; Magnolia bought North America on Ed Harris starring border drama “La Frontera”; Canana set Yolanda Cruz’s “La Raya” as a new production; AG Studios’ founder Alex Garcia announced the creation of operations in Brazil and Colombia;  XYZ Films confirmed international rights on “Keep Quiet,” from Jorge Michel Grau (“We Are What We Are”); Paradigm signed “Mexico’s Most Wanted” director Jose Manuel Cravioto.

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