The Chilean production No by Pablo Larraín starring Mexican actor Gael García Bernal was awarded the prize for Best International Film at the first edition of the Baja International Film Festival which ran November 14-17 at Los Cabos in Mexico. Revolving around Chile's 1988 referendum on the Pinochet regime, Larraín's behind-the-scenes drama tracks with engaging detail the unfolding of a political marketing campaign that succeeded against all odds.
The prize for Best Mexican film was awarded to Nicolás Pereda's Los mejores temas / The Greatest Hits (pictured left). Drifting from fiction to documentary, Los mejores temas tells the story of Emilio, a man in his fifties, who shows up at his family home after fifteen years of absence. The prize for Best Mexican Documentary was shared by two films: Carlos Rossini's El alcalde / The Mayor (pictured below, right) and Luciana Kaplan's La revolución de los alcatraces / Eufrosina's Revolution.
El alcalde tells the story of Mauricio Férnandez, the polemic mayor of the wealthiest municipality in Latin America, located in the North of Mexico, while Kaplan's documentary is about Eufrosina Cruz Mendoza, a native of Santa Maria Quiegolani, an indigenous community located in the Sierra Sur of Oaxaca.
In its launching edition, the festival showcased 80 films from 18 countries,and it bestowed tribute awards to two-time Academy Award-nominee Edward Norton for Outstanding Achievement in Acting; Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo for Excellence in Acting; celebrated actor Diego Luna for Excellence in Acting; Academy Award-nominee Virginia Madsen for Excellence in Acting; Academy Award-nominee Matt Dillon for Outstanding Contribution to Cinema; acclaimed director Nicolas Echeverría, for Excellence in Director and iconic filmmaker and Secretary-Treasurer of the Directors Guild of America Michael Apted for Outstanding Achievement in Directing.