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Preview: The BAI Showcase of Homes gets personal for 2021

No sneakers required this year, because Fundación BAI's big fundraiser is on video

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Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012. Sign up for our weekly newsletters, so our top headlines will appear in your inbox each Monday and Thursday.
The Showcase of Homes 2021 video tour gives a closer look at each homes’ owners. Lisa Gaffney’s home and garden were filmed in the morning. Photo: Fundación BAI

This year, nobody has to schedule their flights to Mérida around the 2021 Showcase of Homes.

Fundación BAI’s annual fundraiser — sidetracked in 2020 because of you-know-what — has returned with a new way for everyone to enjoy it. It’s on video. 

And it’s a professionally produced, thoughtfully edited video that has definite advantages over the in-person walking tour. First, there’s no walking. 

Ford Wheeler’s home was first featured in the New York Times 10 years ago. His collections have grown, as has the flamboyan tree out back. Photo: Fundación BAI

This makes the Showcase of Homes, a sampling of Mérida’s finest private residences, accessible to everyone with a computer, regardless of mobility issues or location. 

“It is quite interesting, and also you get the stories from the owners,” says Holly Theriault, Fundraising Committee chairperson. Even when in-person walking tours come back, video has the potential to be a permanent part of BAI’s repertoire, she said, noting the global reach of an online tour.

“The idea was maybe doing it with a host, but the proposal was quickly done away with,” says Omar E. Padrón, who directed the video. “So we decided to let the owners talk and get a better idea of what their personality is. Once we got that out of the way, it was a matter of the rundown, how the video is going to go, what order. And so we then went ahead and did some prerecording visits to the homes so we could talk to the owners.” 

“It’s a more personal tour than before,” says Theriault. “That in itself is unique.” 

The Showcase of Homes 2021 can reach more people and feature different homes under its new video format. Photo: Fundación BAI

For a donation of US$27 or 530 pesos, the hour-long video also takes viewers through homes that might not have been a natural fit for a home tour, either because of its location, space for foot traffic, or the owner’s sense of privacy. 

An experienced TV director from Miami, Padron worked with video bloggers Cassie and Nate Goodluck-Johnson of Native Nomads, planning sequential morning, midday, evening and nighttime themes.

Bruno Bardavid and Marjorie Skouras invite viewers into their opulent home. Photo: Fundación BAI

The film also brings new focus to the gardens and collections, as opposed to big-picture features like architecture.  

Lisa Gaffney’s home was mostly garden, filled in the soft light of the morning. From there, the camera focused on Ford Wheeler’s house — which has filled in considerably with collectibles since it was featured in the New York Times 10 years ago.

Then onto to Sylviane Boucher’s grand hacienda, shot at midday — “but there was a lot of shade, so it wasn’t burning hot,” Padrón says. “After that we did Jenne Maag’s house, which was mostly interiors, and it was an evening house. And then we just went to all-out colors, which was Marjorie Skouras and Bruno Bardavid’s house.”

After two-and-a-half shooting days, the crew ended up with “a million shots and God knows how many hours of film,” Padrón recalls. “It was a matter of putting it together, and that took a number of sessions.” 

But now the video is up, and the audience potential has grown exponentially. 

“The fact that we couldn’t do the tour in-person exposed us to the idea to let’s think internationally. There’s no limit on the internet to where we can show this!” Padrón notes. 

Proceeds go to the Fundación BAI A.C. 15-year-long mission to provide education, promote scientific research, and to empower health professionals to deliver innovative and free-of-charge programs that prevent teenage pregnancies, the spread of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases in Yucatán.

Yucatán Magazine has been a proud sponsor of the Showcase of Homes since 2014. Here are samples of our past coverage:

2014 Showcase of Homes

2015 Showcase of Homes

2016 Showcase of Homes

2017 Showcase of Homes

2018 Showcase of Homes

2019 Showcase of Homes

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