LOS ANGELES, Nov. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The first annual Baja International Film Festival, to be held November 14-17 in Cabo, Mexico, has announced the inaugural year's award recipients. Awards will be presented to two-time Academy Award-nominee Edward Norton, Academy Award-nominee Virginia Madsen, iconic filmmaker and President of the Directors Guild of America Michael Apted, celebrated actor Diego Luna, Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo, acclaimed director Nicolas Echevarria, and Academy Award-nominee Matt Dillon. The Awards will be presented during the Baja International Film Festival's Closing Night Gala on Saturday, November 17(th) at the state-of-the-art Cabo Convention Center.
Edward Norton is a two-time Academy Award-nominated actor and filmmaker. He is also a committed social and environmental activist who serves on the Boards of: President Obama's Committee for the Arts and Humanities; Enterprise Community Partners (affordable housing); Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (conservation and community development); the Signature Theater Company; the Friends of the High Line and the Conservation Lands Foundation. He also created and endowed the Middle East Peacemakers Fund at Yale University. In 2010, he was appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon as the United Nations Ambassador for Biodiversity. He is the Co-Founder of CrowdRise, a web-based platform promoting and facilitating individual activism, peer-to-peer fundraising and innovative grassroots crowd-funding strategies for non-profits. CrowdRise was named by Barron's as a "Top 25 Global Philanthropist."
Virginia Madsen is an Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominated actress, perhaps best known for her scene-stealing performance in SIDEWAYS, opposite Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church. She is also a documentary film producer; I KNOW A WOMAN LIKE THAT and FIGHTING GRAVITY. Throughout her career, she has easily transitioned between film and television, and has demonstrated a tremendous range in a variety of roles. Virginia Madsen has worked with some of the most lauded directors in the film industry, including David Lynch (DUNE), Dennis Hopper (THE HOT SPOT), Francis Ford Coppola (THE RAINMAKER) and Robert Altman (A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION).
Michael Apted is one of Hollywood's leading film directors, and serves as the current head of the Director's Guild of America. Among his honors, Mr. Apted was awarded the C.M.G. for his services to British film and television, and has received over 30 professional awards and nominations for his amazing body of work. He has directed over 70 film and television projects, and has directed three different actors to Oscar-winning and Oscar-nominated performances, including Sissy Spacek in 'Coal Miner's Daughter,' Jodie Foster in 'Nell,' and Sigourney Weaver in 'Gorillas in the Mist.' His stellar directorial work also includes the standout films 'Blink,' 'The World Is Not Enough,' 'Enigma,' 'Enough,' 'Amazing Grace,' 'Class Action' 'Gorky Park,' 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,' and his newest film, 'Chasing Mavericks,' starring Gerard Butler and Jonny Weston.
Diego Luna is not only a formidable talent in Mexico, but one of the great actors of his generation. In addition to being a versatile actor, he has also established himself as a respected producer and filmmaker. Since childhood, he has moved in cinematic and theater circles, so his natural ease in front of the camera and original performances come as no surprise. In many ways, Diego Luna epitomizes what the festival itself aspires to: a Mexican talent who has made a dramatic and lasting impression on the world stage. He has collaborated with some of the industry's most admired directors, including Gus Van Sant and Steven Spielberg. It is a great honor to celebrate a talent that still has so much to offer to Mexican cinema, international cinema, and the movie-going public.
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