Thursday, February 03, 2011

28th Annual Miami International Film Festival

From March 4 through 13, 2011

Launching a new chapter with a new executive director, the official lineup of the Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), produced and presented by Miami Dade College (MDC), was already announced replete with Red Carpet Gusman Galas, Premieres, Competition Categories and Awards, REEL Education Seminars and other special presentations that make up the Festival's showcase of more than 100 films from 40 countries during the 10-day event, which runs March 4-13, 2011.

The Festival launches on Friday, March 4 with the first Opening Night animated feature in its 28-year history: Chico & Rita by Fernando Trueba and Barcelona designer Javier Mariscal, a whirlwind, jazz-and-blues love story between a Cuban band leader and sultry chanteuse that spans from Havana to Hollywood and features the sounds of Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole and Bebo Valdes. Trueba previously opened the 14th edition of MIFF, in 2004, with Belle époque. The Festival's Awards Night takes place on Saturday, March 12 before the screening of Incendies by Denis Villeneuve (Polytechnique, Maelstrom), the French Canadian-Arab family drama that is Canada's official submission for the Academy Awards' Best Foreign Language Film race. Among the highlights of Awards Night is the presentation of the VeneMovies Audience Award.

For the 2011 Career Achievement Tribute, on Sunday, March 6, the Festival honors prolific Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier (Brothers, After the Wedding, Things We Lost in the Fire). The Festival will screen her latest portrait of complex and complicated familial relationships, the 2011 Golden Globe Award Best Foreign Film winner, In a Better World, which is Denmark's official submission for the Oscars' Best Foreign Language Film category. Bier is confirmed to attend the Festival.

"Once again, we are extremely pleased to bring the best of cinema from around the world to Miami. Our rich program not only offers many escapes through the art of film, but also some wonderful educational opportunities," said Miami Dade College President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón.

"Dreams are a key theme of MIFF 2011, starting with our 2011 official image from photographer Stian Roenning," explains Executive Director Jaie Laplante. "The directors of these films are a true 'dream team' of cinematic artists. Their works will bestow a wizardly enchantment on this year's Miami Film Society members and MIFF ticket ."

This year's Festival will feature films directed by, produced by and/or starring: Pernilla August, Lubna Azabal, Erykah Badu, Harry Belafonte, Monica Bellucci, Susanne Bier, Angie Cepeda, Justin Chadwick, Daniel Cockburn, Claudio Cupellini, Marshall Curry, Alex de la Iglesia, Antonio de la Torre, Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu, Veronica Echegui, Randall Emmett, Alexander Fehling, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Liz Garbus, Andy Garcia, Dominik Garcia-Lorido, Alex Gibney, Danny Glover, José María Goenaga, Quim Gutierrez, Patricio Guzman, Naomie Harris, Jill Hennessy, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Steve James, Ken Kesey, Robert Lee King, Diego Lerman, Ray Liotta, Mia Maestro, James Marsh, Natalie Martinez, Carlos Moreno, Wagner Moura, Stanley Nelson, François Ozon, José Padilha, Martha Plimpton, Om Puri, Noomi Rapace, Vanessa Redgrave, Gabino Rodriguez, Andrew Rossi, Carlos Saura, Oliver Schmitz, David Serrano, Tony Servillo, Jody Shapiro, Magaly Solier, Morgan Spurlock, Peter Stormare, David Strathairn, Cesar Troncoso, Fernando Trueba, John Turturro, Mario Van Peebles, Federico Veiroj, Jordi Vilasuso, Denis Villeneuve, Rachel Weisz and Lynn Whitfield.

818 (USA); Magic City Memoirs (USA); Things Fall Apart (USA); and Water and Salt (Agua y sal) (Argentina)

Amador (Spain); Half of Oscar (La mitad de Oscar) (Spain/Cuba); How to Start Your Own County (Canada); Intimate Grammar (Israel); Jean Gentil (Dominican Republic/Mexico/Germany); Jo For Jonathan (Canada); Little Voices (Pequeñas voces) (Colombia); Marimbas from Hell (Marimbas del infierno) (Guatemala/France/Spain); Mandoo (Iraq); Microphone (Egypt); The Piano in a Factory (China); A Quiet Life (Italy); A Stone's Throw Away (A tiro de piedra) (Mexico); Tilva Rosh (Serbia); and West is West (United Kingdom)

This year's series of films screening at Miami's historic 1,567-seat Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, the Festival's marquee home for 28 editions, received major program support from Miami's Downtown Development Authority. The lineup includes: Chico & Rita (Spain); Potiche (France); Things Fall Apart (USA); In a Better World (Denmark); Marti, The Eye of the Canary (Marti, El Ojo del Canario) (Cuba); Elite Squad 2: The Enemy Within (Brazil); Young Goethe in Love (Germany); Magic City Memoirs (USA); With or Without Love (Una hora mas en Canarias) (Colombia/Spain); and, Incendies (Canada/France).

An opening night gala party, to be held Friday, March 4 at Miami Dade College's historic Freedom Tower, will feature a tribute to Cuban music. At the mid-point of the Festival, on Wednesday, March 9, the Spanish films in this year's lineup are celebrated with a spectacular event at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, the El Coto de Rioja Paella Parade, featuring paella dishes from some of Miami's top restaurateurs. On Awards Night, Saturday, March 12, the Festival will celebrate its award winners in all categories at a wrap-up celebration at the Design District's historic Moore Building.

Ibero-American Competition:
The Festival's signature Ibero-American Competition is unique among U.S. film festivals and serves as a gateway to U.S. audiences for feature films by first-, second- and third-time directors from Spain, Portugal and Latin America seeking distribution and theatrical release. This year's showcase will feature nine (9) films representing Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Spain and Uruguay. They will compete for the $20,000 cash John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Ibero-American Competition Award. Screenwriters of the films in this category will also be eligible to compete for the Jordan Alexander Ressler Screenwriting Award (a $5,000 cash prize). Both awards are selected by a Grand Jury.

Highlights of the 2011 Knight Foundation Ibero-American Competition highlights include:
A Stone's Throw Away (A tiro de piedra) (Mexico), by director Sebastian Hiriart and starring Gabino Rodriguez Jean Gentil (Dominican Republic/Mexico/Germany), by directors Laura Amelia Guzman and Israel Cardenas Water and Salt (Agua y sal) (Argentina), by director Alejo Traube and starring Mia Maestro

Many films that eventually join this competition are graduates of the Festival's unique "Encuentros" Program, which brings culturally interesting and commercially viable feature film projects in various stages of development to MIFF's Industry office for round-table discussions in Miami Beach with distributors, international sales agents, financiers and other key industry personnel. Senior Program Consultant for Ibero-American Cinema, Diana Sanchez, returns as Encuentros Director this year.

"This year's Encuentros selection is especially unique as the majority of the projects being presented are in the post-production phase. My hope is to see some of these projects in the MIFF 2012 selection," said Sanchez. "The Encuentros program adds a vibrancy and depth to the main cinema program and allows us to give continued support to Ibero-American filmmakers who view Miami as their point of entry into the U.S. market."

Highlights of the 2011 Encuentros Program include:
Pescador (Ecuador/Colombia), by director Sebastian Cordero; produced by Lisandra Rivera Sweet 15 (USA), by director Anna Margarita Albelo; produced by Jamin O'Brien

"Doc-You-Up" Program and DOX Competition:
A re-invigorated documentary section, with the new name of "Doc-You-Up," has created for MIFF in 2011, will feature a fascinating collection of new works, several by past Academy Award winners and nominees. "The documentaries we encountered this year provoked a series of conflicting emotions," said Laplante. "Although there are documentaries throughout various sections of the Festival, the films in Doc-You-Up engage many senses on a particularly provocative level." Laplante credits Thom Powers, Senior Program Consultant for Documentary Cinema, as being instrumental in the programming of the new section.

The Doc-You-Up section will include a $10,000 cash John S. and James L. Knight Foundation DOX Competition Award, which will be selected by a Grand Jury. Doc-You-Up special events will include the REEL Education Seminar "A Conversation With..." Oscar nominee Morgan Spurlock, who challenged fast-food giant McDonald's in Super Size Me. Spurlock is ready to take on Corporate America's obsession with branding and product placement in The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, which will have its world premiere at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival. The Spurlock seminar will be held Tuesday, March 8 at 6:00 p.m. at the W South Beach. A series of "meet-and-greets" with documentary directors also will be scheduled around town during the Festival.

DOX Competition highlights include:
Magic Trip: Ken Kesey's Search for a Kool Place (USA), by Alex Gibney (Oscar winner for Taxi to the Dark Side) and Alison Ellwood Project Nim (United Kingdom), by James Marsh (Oscar winner for Man on Wire) If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (USA), by Marshall Curry (Oscar nominee for Street Fight) The Interrupters (USA), by Steve James (Oscar nominee for Hoop Dreams)

World Competition:
The Festival's long-running World Competition is a showcase for new films by a mix of up-and-coming and established filmmakers from around the globe. This year's showcase will feature ten (10) films representing Canada, China, Egypt, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Serbia, Spain and USA. The films will compete for the $20,000 cash John S. and James L. Knight Foundation World Competition Award. A new addition to MIFF programming team this year, Andres Castillo, contributed heavily to this section.

World Competition highlights include:
818 (USA), by director Robert Lee King Amador (Spain), by director Federico Leon de Aranoa and starring Magaly Solier The Piano in a Factory (Gang de Qin) (China), by director Zhang Meng

About the Shorts Competition, "Spider Love IV from Roxy Sunny Rosa's Outer Space":
The Festival's perennial Shorts Competition gets rebranded in honor of the showcase of under-20 minutes films from developing international directors. This year's slate will feature nine (9) films. They will compete for the University of Miami Grand Jury Award for Best Short (a $2,500 cash prize).

The Shorts Competition and Non-Competition lineup includes:
Good Luck (Spain/Denmark), In the Privacy of My Home (En la privacidad de mi hogar) (Puerto Rico/USA), Los Four McNifikos (Spain), Love Patate (France), Rosa (Argentina), Roxy (USA); Spider Fang! (USA), Sunny (Brazil) and Yuri Lennon's Landing on Alpha 46 (Germany/Switzerland). Two shorts, Blokes (Chile) and Maya (Cuba), will screen out of competition.

About Florida Focus and the CinemaSlam Competition:
This section promotes the work of Florida talents, filmmakers and subjects alike. The lineup includes: Making S*** Up, by director Bill Bilowit, gives the movie star treatment to Miami's own conceptual artist, Bert Rodriguez. His eccentric life, battling his personal demons and transforming them into ingenious works of arts, is his masterpiece-in-progress.

Magic City Memoirs, from executive producer Andy Garcia and Miami director Aaron Salgado, is a filmed-in-Miami, coming-of-age drama starring Dominik Garcia-Lorido (City Island), Natalie Martinez (Detroit 1-8-7) and Jordi Vilasuso (The Lost City).

Mooney vs. Fowle, by director James Lipscomb, filmed in 1961, is a candid and searing documentary portrait of a Miami moment in time: That year's Florida state football championship game between historical rivals, Miami High and Edison High, the coaches and their unorthodox methods and the players who lived it. Although produced for television, the film was not aired on local stations. On its 50th anniversary of its completion, MIFF will present the World Premiere and true Florida "From The vault" screening.

The CinemaSlam Competition is a new event at MIFF this year. It is a talent showcase for emerging auteurs to crown the best made-in-Miami short films created by undergraduate and graduate students attending Miami's top film schools. Online voting began December 7 and runs through January 28, 2011. The competition is a partnership between MIFF and the Miami International University of Art & Design. CinemaSlam films will be posted at the website Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony that is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, March 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Colony Theatre on Miami Beach.

Miami International Film Festival
Ph: 305.405.6433


Anonymous said...

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