Category Archives: Arts and Culture

Turning 50 in Oaxaca – A Celebration of the Senses

By: Lisa Coleman

20 years ago I sat on the shores of Playa la Ropa in Zihuatanejo celebrating my 30th birthday. My dear friend from Switzerland told me she had planned a party on the beach. It sounded great, but since this was a new destination for me, turns out she was the only person I knew when I arrived at my own fiesta. A gorgeous table covered with plates of fresh fish, flowers and gifts came courtesy of the locals – people I’d never met, friends I didn’t even know I had.  A trio of musicians stood in the sand and serenaded me with song after song. By the time the evening was over, I had fallen even more in love with Mexico and the extraordinary people that embraced this stranger with smiles, laughter and kindness. It was pure magic. It was pure Mexico.

At the time, I had only been working in Mexico for a few years and had yet to discover the many gifts this magnificent country would continue to give me.  Nonetheless, I knew immediately I was drawn to the country’s more off-the-beaten path places:  the more intimate locales filled with culture and beauty, and the towns and villages enjoyed by the traveler rather than the tourist.  As my 50th birthday loomed on the horizon (and I don’t say that lightly!), I knew in my heart the only place to celebrate this milestone would be my favorite place on earth: Mexico. But where? So many choices, so many memories…  it was difficult to pin such an occasion on a single destination. After much contemplating, I decided to make it a combo adventure – my favorite colonial city and a beach town I’d always wanted to see. And so the wheels were in motion for a trip to the state of Oaxaca.

Photo by Josh Slocum
Photo by Josh Slocum

If you’ve spent much time traveling Mexico, you know this country is a chameleon. Every state shows a different color, every region a unique energy, and every local culture a special tradition. The only constant is diversity… And so it is with the Mexican state of Oaxaca. As intriguing as its name, Oaxaca (wah-HAH-kah) is one of the most unusual and dynamic places in all of Mexico. On a map, the state of Oaxaca can be found about 300 miles southeast of Mexico City. Its stunning Pacific coastline is home to the remarkable beach resort of Huatulco (more on that later), but the centerpiece of the state is the magical Oaxaca City. Founded in 1532, the city is surrounded by the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range and sits atop an arid highland plateau some 5,000 feet above sea level. And though the city is densely populated, it remains unusually intimate. Easily explored on foot, it has the warm and inviting pace of a village. There is a certain energy that radiates from the people and buildings, almost as if the past remains in the present. The streets resemble a brightly colored painting, enticing aromas fill the air and music abounds… everything looks and feels like a celebration.

When it came down to planning, I reached out to my good friend, Sylvie Laitre, who owns and operates Mexico Boutique Hotels. For me, MBH is simply the best of the best. Sylvie personally chooses each property in the collection and there is something enchanting about staying in a boutique setting rather than a big chain hotel. The service is unprecedented and the feel and experience are completely different.  Over the years, as I have become a savvier traveler, I completely embrace “small property” hospitality, attention to detail and personal touch – especially in Mexico.

LosLaureles1

My birthday digs in Oaxaca City would be at the exquisite Hacienda Los Laureles located just a few minutes (five to eight at most and about $4 USD) by taxi outside the center of town. I had stayed here once before (on one of my first trips to Mexico with my husband), so the property holds special meaning for me. With a total of only 23 rooms and suites, Los Laureles is the ideal combination of traditional Mexican style and classic colonial elegance. You feel as though you are in your own private hacienda, complete with lush gardens, towering cypress trees, outstanding service and one of the best restaurants in town. Nestled in the mountain foothills, the hotel maintains its 19th century charm. The owner, Peter Kaiser, makes it his personal goal to ensure every guest feels at home. The evening we arrived, a “Feliz Cumpleaños” was written in flower petals on our bed, and a candlelit dinner was planned for us in the garden. It was a wonderful beginning to my birthday adventure, and the rest of our stay was equally as flawless. (Stay tuned for a more detailed feature story on Hacienda Los Laureles coming soon.)

Monte Alban
Monte Alban

The highlight of any trip to Oaxaca is going to be a visit to the majestic archeological site of Monte Albán.  Indigenous tribes of Zapotec and Mixtec inhabited the area for centuries and built mighty stone cities that flourished for thousands of years. Over 2,500 years ago, the Zapotecs built the holy city of Monte Albán on a hilltop overlooking the Valley of Oaxaca. The view is nothing short of spectacular and whether you’re an archeological buff or not, this will be well worth the visit. We had a fantastic guide, Suzanne Barbezat, from Discover Oaxaca Tours . She and her husband, Benito Hernández, offer six different day trips around the area, and will also customize excursions to fit your personal needs. Benito is Zapotec and has lived most of his life in Oaxaca City so he offers prolific knowledge on culture, tradition and history. Suzanne comes to Oaxaca via Canada. She first visited in 1997 and fell in love with Benito (and Oaxaca!). She is completely bilingual, holds a degree in anthropology, and is the writer and editor for About.com’s Mexico Travel website . They are quite the impassioned pair about anything and everything Oaxaca, and I recommend them highly.  (If you love bird watching, Benito also does birding tours—visit www.birdingoaxaca.com)

Suzanne and Benito
Suzanne and Benito

After a memorable day at Monte Albán, it was time for the main event: a birthday dinner at the famous Casa Oaxaca Restaurant. I selected this restaurant based on the location (just steps from the Santo Domingo church in the city center), the ambiance (simple and romantic with wood tables and towering white stucco ceiling), the awesome rooftop bar, and of course, the exceptional cuisine provided by world-renowned chef, Alejandro Ruiz Olmeda. Known for his creative dishes, Chef Alejandro has populated the menu with everything from expertly prepared rack of lamb, duck in green agave sauce and venison in yellow mole, to traditional Oaxacan specialties and fresh herbed octopus and grilled fish.Our party of eight enjoyed bottle after bottle of Mexican and Spanish selections from the extensive wine list while listening to a trio of musicians playing Mexican favorites. All was as it should be in Mexico – great friends, great food, and great wine, all wrapped up in cozy restaurant.

All too soon it was time to head south to the beach for the last leg of the celebration. We hopped on Aerotucan’s 8-seater commuter for our 45-minute flight to Huatulco (wah-TOOL-co). You can take a bus or rent a car, but you’re in for six to eight hours of winding roads. Despite the steep price tag, it’s certainly the fastest and best way to connect the cities. Of all the resorts in Mexico, I had never been to Huatulco; lucky for me it looks like I saved the best for last. This 21-mile stretch of coastline with nine pristine bays and beaches was one of the most striking beach destinations in Mexico that I’d ever seen. Anchored by the charming little town of La Crucecita, Huatulco was developed by Mexico’s tourism fund (FONATUR) and was designed to be a major Pacific coast resort community. Nonetheless, it has remained small and almost undiscovered… which, to me, is a good thing.

Violina2

I had also worked with Sylvie from Mexico Boutique Hotels on a location in Huatulco and she recommended Hotel Las Palmas. After a quick look at their website, and some communications with their amazing staff, it was an easy choice. We were met at Huatulco’s “palapa-topped” airport and were greeted by hotel transportation. The service was spot on from the instant we arrived. When we got to the Dolphin Cove Villa at Las Palmas, it was nothing short of astonishing. I don’t use that word often, but that’s the only description that really sums it up. Our massive 4-bedroom/4-bath villa had an open-air living area, huge kitchen and negative-edge pool overlooking the picturesque Violina Bay and beach. Even though we were there in the dry season it was incredibly beautiful. Owners Ron and Jackie Williams came to Huatulco on a trip from Lake Tahoe in 2001. They took one look at the area and knew they had to realize their dream and build a hotel overlooking the Pacific. Well, their dream turned out to be my dream come true too, as you won’t find many places in Mexico as breathtaking as this. With a total of five casitas and three villas, Las Palmas feels more like a giant private home rather than a hotel. At the risk of overstating the obvious, it was perfect.  (Stay tuned for a full feature story on Las Palmas and Huatulco coming up as well.)023

Truth be told, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about turning 50. But, I can tell you this: turning 50 in Oaxaca is the way to go. Thank you, Mexico. Thank you for reaching into my soul and giving me so many gifts of so many memories. I look forward to the next 50 and continuing to discover your treasures.

LC Candle

Speaking in Tongues: New VozMaya Cards Raise Funds for Modern Descendants of an Ancient Culture

Beautifully designed large-format cards combine entertainment, culture and history while supporting Mexico’s indigenous communities

Bend, OR (January 1, 2012) – Decorated with beautiful reproductions of Mayan words by renowned artist John Hillmer, the VozMaya cards combine works of art on one side with a bite-sized lesson in Maya, Spanish, and the English translation on the other. Used to play the lotería, or Mexican bingo game, they open a window into an ancient culture while becoming a colorful new addition to the usual parlor games—it’s edutainment at its best!   “The ‘Year of the Maya’ has introduced the world at large to many fascinating aspects of this ancient civilization,” says creator Jane Custer, longtime Mexicophile and current e-learning Editorial Manager for Mexico and Latin America at travAllianceMedia. “Many people might not be aware, though, that the Maya are still very much alive and very much a part of the vibrant cultural tapestry of Mexico.”

Rich in history, many of these indigenous communities are quite poor by today’s standards. Besides the wonderful entertainment aspect of VozMaya, Custer’s intent is to give these communities a voz, a voice, and assist them in supporting themselves and continuing to enrich the modern world. After covering overhead costs, 50% of the profits from VozMaya go directly to the native people of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Custer’s interest in Mexico’s Mayan culture dates back to 2006, when she was invited to join the World Heritage Alliance, a project combining the resources of the United Nations Foundation in Washington DC, and Expedia in Seattle, to promote travel to UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This project had the larger goal of supporting the communities (mostly indigenous in Mexico’s case) that surround these awesome cultural and natural sites. They launched their efforts in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, home to 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Sadly the organization dissolved, but Custer’s desire to assist the Maya communities did not.  “There are many things that you can bring home following a trip to the Yucatan: tequila, t-shirts and Mexican handcrafts, just to name a few,” she says. “As a gift for yourself or for others, VozMaya is unique in that it offers entertainment as it educates you in the rich Mayan culture and history, hopefully sparking a curiosity to learn even more. Plus, thanks to the whimsical designs of John Hillmer, they truly are a work of art.”

The cultural value of VozMaya cards has been recognized by several prestigious museums including the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Museum; Mexico City’s Museo Nacional de Antropología; Long Beach, California’s Museum of Latin American Art; and the Denver Art Museum, where they are on sale in their carefully curated gift shops. You may also purchase them online at www.vozmaya.com For more details and information, please contact Jane Custer at jcuster@vozmaya.com

The Day Approaches

There is a joke going around that there will be a lot of last minute Christmas shopping  in Mayaland on December 22. So exactly how are the Mayans preparing for the apocalypse? Well, there are plenty of people, Maya or not, who have been cashing in on the December 21 demise day, but most of the people are taking it all in stride – “what will be will be, but I’m not real worked up over it”. http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/mexicos-mayas-face-dec-21-ancestral-calm-17984891#.UM0rSHf88tc

Cancun Welcomes its very own Maya Museum

Cancun, Mexico (November 13, 2012) – The Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is proud to announce the inauguration of one of the destination’s most anticipated attractions: Cancun’s Maya Museum. Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderon, presided over the inauguration ceremony on November 1.

After six years of construction, the museum’s modern structure has become the largest ever built by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) since the Templo Mayor Museum was built in 1987.

The Cancun CVB promotes the ancient roots that make up the destination’s Mayan culture and celebrates the opening of one of its most promising tourist attractions during an incredibly exciting season that marks the end of the Mayan calendar and the beginning of a new era.

With an investment of approximately $15 million, 70% of which was contributed by the federal government through the INAH. Cancun’s Maya Museum includes 350 archeological artifacts that took 30 years of research to procure, includes relics that have never been shown as well as others that were discovered in recent excavations. Other displays in the museum were previously exhibited at different venues like the Museo Regional de Yucatan or “Canton Palace” and the former Archeological Museum of Cancun.

Cancun’s Maya Museum boasts three exhibition halls of more than 4,400 square feet, two permanent and one temporary venue for national and international exhibitions. An exhibition of 14,000-year-old skeletal remains is the first things to explore when you enter the museum. Discovered in the last 12 years in Tulum’s underwater caves, these remnants offer important clues of the arrival of mankind to the American continent.

The first exhibition room of the museum is dedicated to the Mayan population that resided on what is now Quintana Roo and pays special focus to the remains of La Mujer de las Palmas or “The Woman of the Palms.” These remains were found in a cenote of the same name in 2002 and it is estimated that this person lived 10,000 years ago during the ice age. Wildlife and stone tools of this time period are also displayed here.

The second exhibition room was designed to represent the diversity of the regions that make up the area. The Sala Maya or “Maya Room” showcases aspects of Mayan architecture, art and other artifacts that ancient Mayans used on a daily basis. Sculptures and architectural fragments of Chichen Itza, the Yucatan and a collection of ancient engraved bricks from the city of Comalcalco in Tabasco are also exhibited.

Cancun’s Maya Museum was designed by Alberto Garcia Lascuráin and was built on an area of over 55,000 square feet. At the museum’s entrance stands a fountain with three sculptures that symbolize the vegetation of the area. These sculptures were built by artist Jan Hendrix and were later donated to the INAH.

The exhibition rooms are elevated over 3,000 feet above sea level to prevent the possibility of flooding due to any natural events or storms. They are also equipped with modern security systems, special lighting system and temperature and humidity control for the proper preservation of the artifacts.

According to the director of the INAH, Alfonso de Maria y Campos, the more than 12 million annual foreign and local visitors that come to Cancun for its sun and beaches will be pleasantly surprised to discover this unique museum in the area’s famous hotel zone. The museum expects about a million annual guests.

Five buildings are open to the public: The Great Pyramid, a 26 foot structure where the main building is located; The South, comprising of residential units, palace-style building and small altars; Dragons – named in the 1970’s after an area where snake heads were found and mistaken for dragon heads – in this area stands a temple adorned with fragments of ancient mural paintings of animals and marine elements.

Next to the Maya Museum, the San Miguelito archeological site recently opened as well. This location was inhabited over 800 years ago until the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors.

Cancun’s Maya Museum and the archeological site of San Miguelito are located on Km 16 on Kukulkan Boulevard in Cancun’s Hotel Zone. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., except on Thursday (7 a.m. – 10 p.m.) Tickets cost around $5 for access to both the museum and San Miguelito site. Children under 13 and adults over 60 years old receive free admission. On Sunday, admission is free to local residents with official identification.

About Cancun

Cancun is located in the northern part of the southeastern Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is Mexico’s number one tourist destination and is known all over the world for its spectacular beaches, unique beauty and breathtaking turquoise waters.

Cancun’s shoreline recently underwent a $71 Million Dollar makeover, that featured 1.3 billion gallons of sand to renovating the Hotel Zone’s seashore. The most popular tourism destination in Mexico and Latin America has also added to its sun, beach, and nightlife, by creating a unique five-day route that will offer visitors a chance to experience adventure and interaction with nature. Cancun and the Treasures of the Caribbean invite travelers to discover the vast natural, cultural and gastronomical cultures of Puerto Morelos, and the four islands of the Mexican Caribbean: Holbox, Isla Mujeres, Contoy and Cozumel. Cancun is a multifaceted destination that combines nature, historical Mayan Culture, glamour, luxury and world class tourism with the seduction for adventure, the passion for paradisiacal nature and the enchantment of gastronomical magic.

For more information, visit the Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau website at: www.cancun.travel. Follow us on Twitter @CancunCVB, “LIKE” us on Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/cancuncvb browse through our videos on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/cancuntravel and share your pictures of Cancun on our Flickr site at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22572360@N07/.

Calderon Wants To Re-Name Mexico

This is a good idea. Mexico is formally named Estados Unidos Mexicanos, or United Mexican States. But the outgoing President says they don’t need the United States language – just Mexico. We’ll see if Congress goes along with him before he leaves office on December 1. Mexico deserves its own identity at this time in history. Everyone calls it Mexico. Lets make it official. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324851704578135573022716236.html

First Annual Baja International Film Festival Line-Up Includes 80 Films From Around the World

 

The first annual Baja International Film Festival, to be held November 14-17 in Los Cabos, Mexico, will showcase 80 films from around the world, including 5 international feature films in competition, 5 Mexican feature films in competition, 5 international documentaries in competition, 5 Mexican documentaries in competition, 30 international shorts, 13 Mexican shorts, 4 environmental films, as well as Special Presentation screenings of 7 international feature films, and 6 Mexican feature films.

The following awards and cash prizes will be given for best film in each screening category, honoring the work of this year’s outstanding filmmakers at the 2012 Baja International Film Festival.

Best International Feature / $10,000 U.S.
Best Mexican Feature / $10,000 U.S.
Best International Documentary / $5,000 U.S.
Best Mexican Documentary / $5,000 U.S.
Best International Short Film / $2,500 U.S.
Best Mexican Short Film / $2,500 U.S.

The majority of screenings, as well as the opening night celebration, panels, industry forums, hospitality lounge, and closing night awards gala, including Tributes to acclaimed filmmakers and actors, will take place at the new Los Cabos Convention Center, a 72,000 square-foot space equipped with solar panels and the latest environmental technology.

The Baja International Film Festival is pleased to announce the inaugural Mexico-USA Film Forum that will take place on Friday, November 16 as part of the First Edition of the Baja International Film Festival. Renowned Film-Industry members from both countries will be present to create a space for dialogue and exchange of ideas to strengthen the relationship between the two industries. The Film Forum will focus mainly on topics related to Investment and Funding; as well as on the challenges, needs, and opportunities for Mexican Cinema in the United States of America. These topics will be further developed with two discussion tables in which experts in different fields will exchange points of view and related experiences, presenting elements which we intend to integrate within the bilateral character and identity of the Festival. The forum will offer an opportunity for dialogue, reflection, and analysis of both the U.S. and Mexican Film Industries. Industries that are very close to each other and both speak for the cultural identity of their countries.

Also on November 16, prior to the screening of the film “Miradas Múltiples” (La Máquina Loca) we will announce the creation of a Film Fund to support Mexican Projects and Filmmakers. More detailed information will be announced at a later date.

Throughout the festival weekend, pass holders will enjoy film screenings, red carpet ceremonies and parties, panel discussions, and live music featuring Grammy-winning musicians from LA’s famed Hotel Café. The awards ceremony recognizing the outstanding work of leaders in the film industry will take place on Saturday, November 17 th.

There will be select free screenings for the public at the Cultural Pavilion Amphitheater in Cabo San Lucas and at the Plaza Mijares in San Jose Del Cabo. Included in the free screening program will be the highly anticipated new animated film from DreamWorks Animation, Rise of the Guardians, directed by Peter Ramsay.

“We are proud to showcase a diverse and compelling film program, ranging from special screenings of industry films to independent passion projects, all carefully selected by our programming committees to showcase the best in Mexican, U.S., and international film,” said Festival Director Sean Cross.

“It was important for us to find a balance between our Mexican and international programming, to truly represent Mexico’s new wave of innovative filmmakers, while also highlighting the groundbreaking films being produced in the U.S. and across the world. We have an incredible lineup and are excited to share this year’s program with our attendees for the first annual Baja International Film Festival,” said Eva Sangiorgi, Programmer of the Mexican narrative features selection.

The Inaugural Baja International Film Festival Film Program Includes:

International Narrative Features Competition:
7 Cajas , directed by Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schembori
Faith, Love and Whiskey , directed by Kristina Nikolova
No , directed by Pablo Larrain
The Sky in Bloom , directed by Tor Mian
While We Were Here , directed by Kat Coiro

International Narrative Special Presentations:
6 Month Rule , directed by Blayne Weaver
For Lovers Only , directed by Michael Polish
Mariachi Gringo , directed by Tom Gustafson
Rise of the Guardians , directed by Peter Ramsay
Supporting Characters , directed by Daniel Schechter
Thanks for Sharing , directed by Stuart Blumberg

Mexican Narrative Features Competition:
Fogo , directed by Yulene Olaizola
Las lágrimas , directed by Pablo Delgado Sánchez
Los mejores temas , directed by Nicolás Pereda
Rezeta , directed by Luis Fernando Frías
Un mundo secreto , directed by Gabriel Mariño

Mexican Narrative Special Presentations
Cabeza de Vaca, directed by Nicolas Echevarria
Después de Lucia , directed by Michel Franco
Hecho en México , directed by Duncan Bridgeman
De Tripas Corazón , directed by Antonio Urrutia
Miradas Múltiples (La máquina loca) , directed by Emilio Maillé
Niño Fidencio (El taumaturgo del Espizazo), directed by Nicolás Echevarría

International Documentary Competition:
Blood Relative , directed by Nimisha Mukerji
First Position , directed by Bess Kargman
GuateMaya- The Unification of Wisdom , directed by Cassidy Rast
Money and Honey , directed by Ching-Hui Lee
Nothing Like Chocolate , directed by Kum-Kum Bhavnani

Mexican Documentary Competition:
Buscando a Larisa , directed by Andrés Pardo
Cuates de Australia , directed by Everardo González
El alcalde , directed by Carlos F. Rossini, Emiliano Altuna, and Diego E. Osorno
Inori , directed by Pedro González Rubio
La revolución de los alcatraces , directed by Luciana Kaplan

International Shorts Competition:
Address Is Approximate , directed by Tom Jenkins
Amaqqut Nunaat , directed by Neil Christopher
And If Tomorrow… , directed by Joe Iacovino
Blackout , directed by Francisco Lupini
De Que Se Rien Las Hienas directed by Javier Veiga
El Cocodrilo (The Crocodile) , directed by Steve Acevedo
Grounded , directed by Kevin Margo
Hello Caller , directed by Andrew Putschoegl
Immobile , directed by Helio Mira
Julio Solis, A Move Shake Story , directed by Alexandria Bombach
La Mirada Perdida , directed by Damián Dionisio
Lichen, directed by Kevin Lim
Little Kaiju , directed by Jonathan Baker
Luminaris , directed by Juan Pablo Zaramella
Lunch Date , directed by Sasha Collington
Mentiroso , directed by Will Shipley
Mexican Cuisine , directed by Fran Guijarro
Neighbors , directed by Rachel Goldberg
Nostos , directed by Alessandro D’Ambrosi and Santa de Santis
Q , directed by Felipe Vara de Rey
Rascacielos, directed by Mariana Torres
Resen , directed by Eti Tsicko
Side Effects , directed by Traven Rice
Single Player , directed by Pawe? Soja
The End , directed by Ted Marcus
The Gnome Garden , directed by Elena Hattersley
The Most Girl Part of You , directed by Mark Cummins
The Price , directed by Zeke Pinheiro, James St.Vincent
The Verbal Circuits , directed by Elena Hattersley
Tu ez moi , directed by Melissa Papel and Clarisse Gorokhoff

Mexican Shorts Competition:
Dentro , directed by Emiliano Rocha Minter
Dentro de uno , directed by Salvador Aguirre
Dos de tres , directed by Paulina Rosas
Ecuación , directed by Gerardo Enrique Rodríguez Herrera
Ismael , directed by Sebastian Hofmann
La habitación , directed by Raúl Sebastián Quintanilla
La noria , directed by Karla Castañeda
Las manos limpias , directed by Carlos Armella
Lucy contra los límites de la voz , directed by Mónica Herrera
Perro azul , directed by Federico Zuvire
Un ojo , directed by Lorenza Manrique
Yuban , Yaasib Vázquez Colmenares

Environmental Films:
Azul Intangible , directed by Eréndira Valle Padilla
Planet Ocean , directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot
Open Pit , directed by Gianni Converso
Pad Yatra: A Green Odyssey , directed by Wendy J.N. Lee

ABOUT THE BAJA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
The inaugural Baja International Film Festival is co-founded by Festival President, Eduardo Sanchez Navarro, longtime supporter of the arts in Los Cabos, BIFF festival directors Scott Cross and Sean Cross, co-founders of the Colorado Film Institute and Vail Film Festival, and business leaders and arts supports Juan Gallardo, Alfonso Pasquel, Eduardo Sanchez Navarro Torres, and Pablo Sanchez Navarro. Scott and Sean Cross also serve as the Festival’s artistic directors alongside Jorge Sanchez Sosa, former director of the Guadalajara Film Festival. Nancy Collet, former Director of Programming at the American Film Institute, serves as Festival Senior International Films Programmer. The Baja International Film Festival will include four days of special presentations, as well as competition screenings of feature films, documentaries, and short films, as well as nightly galas, panel discussions, filmmaker receptions, and award ceremonies. The festival is run by a bi-national team of experienced film and business managers who share a passion for bringing Mexican and U.S. cultures together through film. The Baja International Film Festival is supported by the México Tourism Board and endorsed by the State of Baja California Sur and the Los Cabos Tourism Bureau as the Official Festival of Cabo, México. For more information and to order tickets please visit: www.bajainternationalfilmfestival.com or email info@bajafilmfest.com.