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by Susan Royal

The first annual Baja International Film Festival, running November 14 - 17 in Los Cabos, Mexico, has announced its 80-film line-up. The program includes six competitive categories: Best International Feature ($10,000 award), Best Mexican Feature ($10,000 award), Best International Documentary ($5,000 award), Best Mexican Documentary ($5,000 award), Best International Short ($2,500 award) and Best Mexican Short ($2,500 award).

Screening out of competition will be Special Presentation showings of seven international feature films and six Mexican feature films. There will also be select free screenings for the public, including the new DreamWorks Animation film, Rise of the Guardian, directed by Peter Ramsey.

Three-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles, Grammy-winning Cary Brothers, Harper Blynn, Madi Diaz and Holly Conlan will perform at the Hotel Cafe Concert held on Friday, November 16 at the Puerto Los Cabois Marina.

Earlier that day, the Innaugural Mexico-USA Film Forum will take place as part of the first edition of the Baja International Film Festival. Top industry players from both countries will exchange ideas for strengthening the relationship between the U.S. and Mexican film 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 U.S.

The Opening Night Gala, Closing Night Awards, tributes to noted filmmakers and actors, panels, industry forums, hospitality lounge and most of the screenings will take place at the new state-of-the-art Los Cabos Convention Center, a 72,000-square-foot venue built for the G20 Summit. Other events will showcase the unique surroundings of Cabo -- including the Wirikuta Cactus Garden and the Puerto Los Cabos Marina, where dolphins swim in their natural habitat.

The Baja International Film Festival was founded by Scott Cross and Sean Cross, who also founded the Colorado Film Institute and the Vail Film Festival.

For tickets and more information, go to

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