The first ever Riviera Maya Film Festival was a huge success among tourists,filmmakers,actors and residents,screening an impressive 60 films,of which half were Mexican premiers. Attracting stars like Susan Sarandon,Ethan Hawke and Clive Owen,and showcasing works by directors like Werner Herzog,Hari Sama and Wim Wenders,the festival drew large crowds to venues throughout Mexico’s Riviera Maya,from the vacation hotspot of Cancun to the smaller,eco-chic getaway of Tulum real estate on the Caribbean coast.
The festival opened with Christophe Honorè’s film Beloved,and ran from March 20th through the 25th,closing with Intruders,which was directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and co-starred Owen alongside Pilar Lopez de Ayala. Created as a venue for cinema and tourism to encourage ecological and social awareness,the festival also paid tribute to Sarandon,who is a dedicated social activist and a frequent visitor in the region. Sarandon was presented with an award on the festival’s closing night for her commitment to global,political and environmental issues.
By all accounts the programming at the Riviera Maya Film Festival was exciting and very impressive for a first-year run,indicating that it will be back in future years to continue making an impression on the international film festival circuits. This year’s event brought screenings of award-winning films from around the world,including Wim Wenders’ Pina and This Is Not A Film,by Jafar Panahi.
The eclectic selection of films was one of the festival’s main draws and is largely attributed to the involvement of organizer Michel Lipkes,who was behind the important FICCO festival in Mexico City,which ran for seven years and ended in 2010. The Riviera Maya Film festival also had a strong showing of works by Mexican directors like Gabriel Mariño,who stated,“As soon as I knew who the programmers were,there was no doubt I wanted to be a part of the festival.”