International Industry Elite Heads for Los Cabos (EXCLUSIVE)
Boosted by an inaugural market and Film Investor Summit, Mexico’s 5th Los Cabos Festival looks the strongest edition yet
Chief International Correspondent
CAA’s Micah Green and Roeg Sutherland, IM Global’s Stuart Ford and Wild Bunch-Insiders’ Vincent Maraval and, straddling the Mexico-Los Angeles axis, Fabrica de Cine’s Gaston Pavlovich and AG Studios’ Alex Garcia, are all confirmed for the inaugural Los Cabos Festival Meet-Mart, the Mexican festival’s first official market.
Bloom’s Alex Walton, Good Universe’s Helen Lee-Kim, IMR International’s Kimberly Fox, Gaumont’s Cecile Gaget and Voltage’s Nicolas Chartier are also firmed up, among sales agents. Of digital platforms, Netflix’s Matt Brodlie and Amazon Studios’ Michael Chong will also roll into Los Cabos.
Running Nov. 9-13 and also hosting the inaugural Los Cabos Film Investor Summit, produced by Winston Baker, the 5th Los Cabos Intl. Film Festival looks to have come of age in 2016.
It welcomes, all in, about 400 market delegates, up from about 300 in 2016. “It is a historic year for us. The launch of an official market has allowed us finally to land the strongest and largest list of delegates in the history of the festival,” said Los Cabos director Alonso Aguilar Castillo.
But, representing a large slice of Hollywood’s international business power elite, it is the caliber of Los Cabos’ top-tier delegates — the 1%, as Aguilar Castillo puts it — that particularly impresses. “This year, we have definitively conquered the elite,” he affirmed.
Hollywood talent agency presence also features Paradigm’s Nick LoPiccolo and UTA’s Bec Smith. WME, ICM and IM Global’s Valor Ent. Group will also attend. Equity investors at Meet Mart and the Summit take in Sebastian Reybaud and Harold Van Lier at Anton Capital Entertainment, which co-invests in Studiocanal titles; producers Trent and Thad Luckinbill at Black Label Media (“Sicario”); Jon Oakes at Bold Films (“Drive,” “Whiplash”) and Shamrock Capital Advisors’ Jason Sklar. Among bankers, Comerica Bank’s Todd Steiner, City National Bank’s David Acosta and Union Bank’s Anthony Beaudoin have also confirmed.
Los Cabos will also consolidate its pan-Latin American reach in 2016.
“It’s not just a Mexico-U.S.-Canada festival,” said Aguilar Castillo. “This year we are including very strong voices from Latin America that need to continue their relationship with the U.S. to take their productions to another level.”
“We have the five-to-seven of the most important sales companies in the world this year, the companies which announce the big deals at Berlin, Cannes and Toronto, and usually we have the presidents of these companies,” he added.
But the independent international business is evolving, Aguilar Castillo argued. “More and more the big markets are becoming more centered on two-to-three-to-four films. There is a big specialty fragment of the industry that needs to be catered to as well,” he said.
One Los Cabos Meet Mart goal is “to introduce the best Latin American talent to the U.S. and international market, including the 15-20 top sales companies in the world,” he stated.
That has not been left to chance. Day Two of Los Cabos Film Investor Summit, which runs Nov. 10-11, will see some of Latin America’s production elite, including two Academy Award winners — Luis Puenzo (“The Official Story”), and Mariela Besuievsky (“The Secret in Their Eyes”) — pitch six flagship new projects to potential investors.
Also pitching at the summit: Pablo Cruz at L.A and Mexico City-based Canana (“Miss Bala,” “Cesar Chavez”); Colombian director Ciro Guerra and producer Cristina Gallego (“Embrace of the Serpent”); David Schurmann and Joao Roni, director and producer of “Little Secret,” Brazil’s Oscar entry; Mexico-based Stacey Perskie, producer of Mel Gibson’s “Get the Gringo,” co-producer of two “Mozart in the Jungle” episodes and a line-producer on “Sicario.”
“We are building the market but in a way it’s an anti-market, a very casual personal one-on-one market in a relaxed atmosphere where you can take private pitches by the beach and pool. It’s important we keep it at a certain scale and rhythm,” Aguilar Castillo said.
Los Cabos will no longer, however, be quite the post-AFM chill-out of the past. The Film Investor Summit will analyze the future of the international film business via three connected trends: Globalization, escalating VOD distribution, and the rise of local production around the world.
On Nov. 10, Stuart Ford will deliver a Summit keynote, tackling Globalization in the New Era of the Film Business. Maraval and Pavlovich will join RT Features’ Rodrigo Teixera, Mark Kassen at R2, Relativity’s new low-budget label, and Protagonist Pictures’ Dimitra Tsingou to discuss New Money Strategies: Financing Beyond Government Subsidies and Incentives.
Chong, Fox, Gaget and The Orchard’s Craig Sussman will debate The Shift in Power: How VOD is Changing the Development & Acquisitions Market. A third power-panel, Selling Foreign/Emerging Talent to the World features panelists Chartier, LoPiccolo, Walton and Smith, along with FilmNation’s Karen Lunder and Sierra Affinity’s Jonathan Kier.
Last year, delegates were spread out at hotels along Los Cabos’ coast. In 2016, the Meet-Mart — including the Film Investor Summit and Gabriel Figueroa Film Fund producer meetings, industry lunches and bi-national breakfasts — will all unspool at the MECabo beach-adjacent hotel, walking distance from the main theaters. The hotel will also house most market guests.
Sporting six movies in post-production, and four TV series and 16 mostly-Mexican features in development, the Gabriel Figueroa Film Fund showcase will allow delegates to sample multiple titles coming down the pipeline for 2017 and beyond. Directors Michael Rowe (“Leap Year”), Rigoberto Perezcano (“Norteado”), Kyzza Terrazas (“Machete Language”), Julio Hernández Cordón (“I Promise You Anarchy”) and directorial duo Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas (“Sand Dollars”) all have new projects.
Pavlovich, producer of Martin Scorsese’s “Silence,” will push a new Mexican project, as will Nicolas and Sebastian Celis, the Mexican backers of Los Cabos competition player “Soy Nero.”
Sporting two rivals to Netflix, Televisa’s Blim and America Movil’s ClaroVideo, Mexico is powering up digital platform-first productions. That opens new financing opportunities for TV productions. TV series projects to be pitched at Los Cabos include “66 Millions,” from Buenos Aires’ Rizoma Films, a driving force of the New Argentine Cinema; “Los Manchados,” to be directed by Mexicans Jack Zagha (“Warehoused”) and Isaac Ezban (“The Similars”); ‘Mics & Celluloid,” produced by Leonardo Zimbron (“The Noble Family”), and “433,” teaming two icons of Latin America auteur genre: Jorge Michel Grau (“We Are What We Are”) and Adrian Garcia Bogliano (“Here Comes the Devil”).
The festival’s selection of movies runs the gamut from the celebrated — Andrea Arnold’s Cannes Jury Prize ode to Americana, “America Honey” — to films which may count as discoveries for Los Cabos audiences, such as Antonio Campos’ first mainstream movie, “Christine,” with Rebecca Hall as live TV suicide Christine Chubbuck; Mexican Amat Escalante’s “The Untamed,” a sci-fi metaphor for his country’s violence, misogyny and homophobia; Joey Klein’s tortured young love story” The Other Half”; and Kris Avedisian’s cringe-fest indie comedy “Donald Cried.”
5TH LOS CABOS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
“American Honey,” (Andrea Arnold, U.K. U.S.)
“Christine,”(Antonio Campos, U.S.)
“Donald Cried,” (Kristopher Avedisian, U.S.)
“Operation Avalanche,” (Matt Johnson, Canada, U.S.)
“Porto,” (Gabe Klinger, Portugal, U.S., France, Poland)
“The Other Half,” (Joey Klein, Canada)
“Soy Nero,” (Rafi Pitts, Germany, France, Mexico)
“The Untamed,” (Amat Escalante, Mexico, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Switzerland)
“Two Lovers and a Bear,” (Kim Nguyen, Canada)
“Beauties of the Night,” (María José Cuevas, Mexico)
“Carroña,” (Sebastián Hiriart, Mexico)
“Landscapes,” (Rodrigo Cervantes, Mexico, France, U.K.)
“Tamara y la Catarina,” (Lucía Carreras, Mexico, Spain)
“William, The New Judo Master,” (Ricardo Silva, Omar Guzmán, Mexico)
“X500,” (Juan Andrés Arango, Canada, Colombia, Mexico)
GABRIEL FIGUEROA WORK IN PROGRESS
“Bosque de niebla,” (Mónica Álvarez, Mexico)
“Los adioses,” (Natalia Beristáin, Mexico)
“Los días más oscuros de nosotras,” (Astrid Rondero, Mexico)
“Los últimos,” (Nicolás Puenzo, Argentina)
“Tras la prisión,” (Pau Ortíz Rosell, México, Spain)
“Signature Move,” (Jennifer Reeder, U.K.)
GABRIEL FIGUEROA TV DEVELOPMENT
“67 millones,” (Mariano Hueter, Argentina)
“Los manchados,” (Jack Zagha, Isaac Ezban, México)
“Mics & Celluloid,” (Carlos Carrera, México)
“Ruta 433,” (Jorge Michel Grau, Adrián García Bogliano, Fernando Urdapilleta, México)
GABRIEL FIGUEROA FILM DEVELOPMENT
“Alicia,” (Michael Rowe, Mexico, France)
“Bayoneta,” (Kyzza Terrazas, Mexico, Finland)
“Bi’an, paseante de cadáveres,” (Pablo Mendoza, Martí Torrens, México, China, France)
“Cómprame un revólver,” (Julio Hernández Cordón, Mexico)
“Cuando los hijos regresan,” (Hugo Lara, Mexico, U.S.)
“El volcán,” (Santiago Mohar, Mexico)
“Llueve,” (Carolina Corral Paredes, Eloisa Diez, Mexico)
“Lo que no se comen los gusanos,” (Pierre Tatarka Dudet, Mexico)
“Los amantes se despiden con la mirada,” (Rigoberto Perezcano, Mexico)
“Monsters & Men,” (Reinaldo M Green, U.S.)
“Nieves,” (Alejandra Márquez Abella, Mexico)
“Passover,” (Daniel Schachter, Canada)
“Reinado de belleza,” (Laura Amelia Guzmán, Israel Cárdenas, Mexico, Dominican Republic,Argentina)
“Shred,” (Jason Eisener, Canada, Mexico)
“The Feathered Snake,” (Alejandro Sugich, Mexico, Iceland)
“The Rosenbergs,” (Sophie Barthes, U.S, Canada, Mexico)