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Friday, May 27, 2011

BAJA - Hollywood Producer Praises Baja As Ideal Vacation Spot, Film Locale

By Ron Raposa
ROSARITO BEACH---A prominent Hollywood producer at a May 8 media conference praised Baja as a beautiful and safe vacation spot and appealing film locale. Producer Steve Lee Jones said he had visited Baja frequently for many years but had stayed away recently because of reports of scattered drug violence in Mexico.

“I bought into the perception,” Jones said. “But we learned very quickly that the fear was not founded.”

Jones was at the Rosarito Beach Hotel to celebrate his birthday with friends and in conjunction with work on his documentary film about the resurgence of Baja, which features Tijuana’s Baby Rock nightclub. Jones produced “You Don’t Know Jack,” starring Al Pacino as Dr. Jack Kervorkian, and is making a film about automaker John DeLorean with Colin Firth.

“We live 125 miles away (in Los Angeles), and Mexico is like an adjacent state,” Jones said. “Yet in the last few years I have watched, disheartened as she has become a place of dubious reputation, and that saddens my heart. “Reality is that the media hype from emanating neighboring towns has tainted the world’s opinion of this resort area. “There are numerous cities in the US that are far more dangerous than these resort areas of Baja,” he said.

Jones added: “So I call upon everyone, rich and poor to do whatever they can within their means to stop this negative spiral. Let your voices be heard... be louder than the sensational media.”
“Now is the time for Americans to vacation and party and enjoy our southern neighbor more than ever,” Jones said. Hotel Marketing Director Daniel Torres, who served as translator, added that the Baja tourism industry must bring back more U.S. visitors, who once were up to 90 percent of the market.
Jones said some parts of Mexico remained troubled by drug violence
but “here in Rosarito and Tijuana, the (government’s) efforts are obvious and we feel safe... and we feel welcome.”
Responding to media questions, Jones said that Baja --- Titanic and Master & Commander were filmed at Fox Studios in Rosarito --- was an excellent locale for film production. He said offering generous incentives to filmmakers would help speed the process and mentioned as an example the U.S. state of Michigan, where filmmakers received production rebates up to 42 percent.