VALLARTA, NAYARIT, November 16 2006- Move over Sundance. Forget about Cannes . There is a new kid in town. The Vallarta Film Festival (VFF) is getting ready to roll out the red carpet on November 29 and will be in full swing through December 3 with the Pacific resort city of Puerto Vallarta 's beautiful Bay of Banderas as its backdrop.
Special Events and Programs
The VFF's goal is to raise consciousness of film as art, while enriching local culture. Over the course of the five-day festival, there will be a wide variety of special events including an opening gala November 29, a celebrity tribute December 1, a filmmakers' brunch hosted by the Vallarta Film Commission, and of course numerous screenings. Also included in the program is a focus on the works of classic Mexican filmmakers Gabriel Figueroa and Emilio Fernandez, both contemporaries of the legendary John Huston.
Additionally, movie industry panels will feature Hollywood celebrities as well as actors from all over the Americas and a wide variety of concerts, art expos and food events in conjunction with the festival, all contained within the lush natural setting of Puerto Vallarta . Last year, the guest list included such names as Fran Dresher, Diego Luna, Roger Corman, John C. Reily, Alfonso Cuaron, and Rodrigo Prieto. Expected guests this year include Diane Ladd and Chris Messina.
This year the VFF has expanded its categories to include a wider variety of film genres. Included in these are American Independent Cinema, New Films from Canada and Mexican Short Films. There will also be a series of environmental films which are shown in an attempt to create eco-awareness in Mexico , as well as many cutting-edge films including the Hollywood blockbuster hit, Little Miss Sunshine.
The Feel of the Film Festival
This year's projected audience of more than 10,000 people includes a wide local, national and international base, from celebrities and industry professionals to film students and die hard movie lovers. Priding itself as a freethinking, laid back institution, the festival is a far cry from its sterile competitors. There are no jackets required at VFF, and the vacation feel of the venue makes the experience truly unique. Only at this film festival can one admire 25 miles of pristine coastline nestled between the jungles of the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains . Take a hike Berlin , the kid is hot tonight!
Hollywood to Puerto Vallarta
Founded three years ago by acclaimed actress Anjelica Huston and her brother Danny, the not for profit Vallarta Film Festival is offering the best of independent cinema to a trend conscious audience. The Huston's deceased director father, John Huston, is not only the namesake on the festival's most prominent awards (John Huston Maverick Awards for Best Film and Director), but he also helped bridge the intimate connection between Hollywood and Puerto Vallarta, two cities whose connection goes decades back.
While filming Night of the Iguana in 1961, Huston fell in love with the Pacific Mexican coastline. Leading man Richard Burton had an extremely public affair with his lover Elizabeth Taylor and flew her in for a scandalous getaway. Following the completion of the film, the two purchased a house in Puerto Vallarta , drawing attention to the area. The media buzz surrounding the lovers' retreat drew other Hollywood glitterati to the area, and the Puerto Vallarta boom was born. Not only did Puerto Vallarta become a hot vacation destination, but many film personalities began purchasing property in the resort town and the surrounding area.
"We are excited about having an international film festival of great quality, taste and integrity to honor our father here in Vallarta," says Anjelica. And we can't think of a better place. Sundance has nothing on Vallarta: the people, the beautiful scenery, the hotels and all the conveniences. And the good will of the people is extremely important."
Location, Location, Location
Even without the film festival, Puerto Vallarta is a destination unlike any other, with its incredible landscape and beaches depicting only a small part of the city's persona. Vallarta's quaint historic downtown, lined with cobblestone streets and colonial structures, adds to the charm and personality of the city. With more than 250 restaurants and numerous nightclubs and bars, this Pacific town offers a nightlife comparable to any big metropolis, yet it maintains a friendly and casual vibe at all times, which has enticed many retirees from North America to head south and make it their home.
Ecotourism is another popular attraction in Puerto Vallarta , with boat rides offered around the Bay of Banderas , for sightings of humpback whales, dolphins and turtles. The more adventurous can head to Los Arcos Marine Ecological Reserve across from Mismaloya Beach where there is a refuge of marine birds and mammals. Vallarta is also a watersport lover's haven with its abundance of fishing, diving, and sailing.
From the beaches and the fantastic weather to the low key vibe, Puerto Vallarta offers the best atmosphere available for a vacation, film festival, or retirement destination.
For more information on tickets and accommodation, please visit www.vallartafilmfestival.com.
About the Mexico Tourism Board
The Mexico Tourism Board (MTB) brings together the resources of federal and state governments, municipalities and private companies to promote Mexico ‘s tourism attractions and destinations internationally. Created in 1999, the MTB is Mexico 's tourism promotion agency, and its participants include members of both the private and public sectors. The MTB has offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America .
About Chichen-Itza, the World Wonder
Swiss-based New7Wonders Foundation is revising the original seven ancient wonders of the world, and Mexico 's Chichen-Itza in Yucatan State is one of 21 finalists to become a new Seven World Wonder. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, Chichen-Itza is considered to have been one of the greatest Mayan centers of the Yucatan peninsula, and today is one of the largest and most impressive archaeological
sites in Mexico . To vote for Chichen-Itza as one of the new Seven World Wonders, visit www.new7wonders.com
For more on Mexico at ITKT