In paradise there are crystal clear waters, beaches, palm trees, and every year, At the beginning of November, filmmakers, actors and some other stars arrive. Among large luxury hotel complexes and foreign retired tourists, the protagonists and directors of more than 40 feature films, all of them produced in North America, are taking a walk from this Wednesday.
The Los Cabos Film Festival is celebrated until Sunday in this southern area of the peninsula of Baja California (northwest of Mexico). A dream place from which you can see, in reality, a world much more infernal than heavenly. Here Spike Lee will make public the complaint of xenophobia that shows in his latest film Blackkklansman (Infiltrated in the KKKlan), Terry Gilliam will arrive with a tape that for almost 30 years has filled him with obsessions, The man who killed Don Quixote, Colombians Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego will delve into the drug conflict in Summer birds and the violence that ravages Mexico will be portrayed in Buy me a revolver, by Julio Hernández Cordón.
But the Los Cabos Film Festival aspires to become from this Wednesday in a species of treaty of free cinema of North America. A very particular TLC of the film in which it is sought to tear down walls and eliminate barriers. The contest brings together in a single space films produced in the three countries of the region with the aim of crossing glances and seeing up close "in which the neighbors are immersed", as one of the slogans of the contest maintains. "It was a paradox that being stuck, having influences of all kinds and an exchange on many levels, there was no film dialogue," concludes the artistic director of Los Cabos, Maru Garzón.
But in this festival not only movies are seen, it is also negotiated, collaborations are established and projects are exchanged. The festival devotes a good part of its efforts to the industry, networking and to the meeting between producers, distributors and filmmakers. In these five days in which Baja California Sur extends the red carpet, in this area of the Mexican Pacific coast cinema is seen and sold.
"That is one of the aspects that sets us apart from other festivals: that space is given to the business activities of film and industry," says Garzón. A breath of fresh air in hard times to cross borders. While Donald Trump lashes out again with his wall and sends thousands of soldiers to the fence, this contest builds bridges that go beyond the fences.
The perfect triangle
American filmmaker Spike Lee, who was a member of the British comic group Monty Python Terry Gilliam and actor Adam Driver – known for playing Kylo Ren in Star Wars – are the big guests at the North American film festival. Although his films do not compete in the contest, his mere presence "makes a perfect triangle", says Garzón.
While Lee, winner of an Oscar of honor for his film career, presents Blackkklansman, Gilliam will exhibit The man who killed Don Quixote, the project he has been working on for almost 30 years and whose completion had become "a medical disease, a brain tumor" as he pointed out a year ago. Two films starring Driver, who together with these two filmmakers forms the most requested trio of Los Cabos in these days of cinema.
The one that does aspire to take an award in the Los Cabos Competition category (films produced in Mexico, the United States and Canada) is Summer Birds. The film, candidate to be nominated in the Oscars and one of the favorites in the Phoenix, delves into the Wayúu community, in La Guajira, Colombia, to portray drug trafficking in this country. In order for this film by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra to win one of the prizes, it must be imposed on films such as Lemonade, has been nominated in Berlin. The film, directed by Ioana Uricaru, tells the story of the battle of a Romanian woman before the immigration authorities of the United States. It is also a candidate for an award in this category We the animal (Jeremiah Zagar), winner of an award at Sundance, and Buy me a revolver (Julio Hernández Cordón), which premiered at the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes and narrates the Mexico where narcos rule and violence against women seems to have no limits.
On the other hand, Splendor, which aims to win a prize in Mexico Primero, the category that hosts Mexican independent feature films, arrives in Los Cabos after receiving an award in Locarno. The film by the Canadian Andrea Bussmann moves to the Oaxacan coast to delve into the mythology of this area. A movie that shares category with History classes by Marcelino Islas or Storks by Heriberto Acosta.
This festival, in which there will be a world premiere and nine Latin Americans, has launched in its seventh edition the most feminist look in its history. Six of the 14 films competing in the two main categories are directed by a woman and in 41% of the programmed films they are the protagonists. "It was never done to fulfill a quota but nevertheless, this has happened, in a very organic way," says Garzón.