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Marisela Garcia,

Tijuana correspondent

With the city of Tecate, Baja California performing the closing night ceremonies for the 8th Annual International Hispanic Film Festival of which the City of Indio was the Title Sponsor for the Coachella Valley, Monday night marked a historical first.

There had never been a film festival which encompassed five cities internationally. Al Vasquez who founded the festival in 2000 said in a telephone interview directed at the closing audience, “When I came up with the idea for the film festival for the Coachella Valley, I never imagined this small undertaking would artistically affect so many people. As I met and dined with the actors, directors, producers, screen-writers, editors, artists, musicians and the dozens of short film makers over the course of the past four days, I was totally amazed at the number of projects we have impacted. There are films who have been given a little push, there are short film makers who have experienced success and are enthused about their long term projects, there are artists who have been noticed and have been contracted for much larger expositions, there are actors who have found acclaim for their work and there are directors/producers who have been validated for projects who they felt were being overlooked.”

Mexicali and Tijuana had the largest number of film representation due to the proximity of International Airport facilities. Several vans were provided to shuttle film representatives from each location.

The films Erendira Ikikanuri and El Violin were the two films which provided the most ticket requests. Not surprisingly, they also won the Best Film and Audience Award catagories for this years festival.