Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival Titles Have Strong Showing at 87th Oscar Noms

RELATOS

Wild Tales

At this morning’s 87th Academy Award nominations, films from Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival made a strong showing! From the upcoming 32nd edition of the Festival (March 6 – 15, 2015), Argentina’s Wild Tales (Relatos salvajes), our opening night film, is nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film Category.

"The Bigger Picture", The Salt of the Earth

“The Bigger Picture”, The Salt of the Earth

Additional films from the 32nd edition nominated are Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribero Salgado’s The Salt of the Earth (which will be screened as one of the Festival’s Knight Documentary Achievement Award films), nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar. Also nominated (in the Best Animated Short Film category) is Daisy Jacobs’ “The Bigger Picture”, which will screen at the Festival as part of the Park Grove Grand Jury Shorts Competition.

Finding Vivian Maier, "The Phone Call"

Finding Vivian Maier, “The Phone Call”

From the 2014 Miami International Film Festival, our Knight Documentary Grand Jury award-winning film Finding Vivian Maier by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel, is also nominated for an Oscar in the Best Documentary Feature category. See John Maloof on the Festival’s red carpet last year in this episode of ACCESSMIFF. A fifth Festival official selection nominated for an Oscar, this time in the Best Live-Action Short Film category, is “The Phone Call” starring Sally Hawkins, which was screened in the 31st Miami International Film Festival’s Papi Shorts Competition, presented by Macy’s.

Boyhood

Boyhood

Special presentations and Miami premieres for Miami Film Society members (held at private screenings throughout the year) made impressive showings in several categories. Boyhood, which was a Miami Film Society presentation in June, is nominated for a total of six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. Inherent Vice, which was the special presentation for December, is nominated for two Oscars, including Best Adapted Screenplay.

Ida, Timbuktu

Ida, Timbuktu

Miami Dade College’s Tower Theater is currently screening Poland’s Best Foreign Language Oscar contender, Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida (click here for showtimes), and on the calendar for February is Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu, from Mauritania, nominated in the same category.

MiamiFF and Film Society of Lincoln Center Team for U.S. Premiere of Prominent Chilean Filmmaker Cristián Jiménez’s Third Feature Film

Voice Over

Voice Over

One of Chile’s leading auteurs, and soon to be three-time Miami International Film Festival (MiamiFF) alum, Cristián Jiménez, is set to U.S. Premiere his third feature film, Voice Over (La voz en off), jointly in the Knight Grand Jury Competition at MiamiFF’s 32nd edition (March 6-15, 2015) and in Lincoln Center’s Film Comment Selects 2015. This two-city U.S. premiere shows unprecedented cooperation, rather than competition, between two of the nation’s most influential film programming organizations.

A familial comedy drama, Voice Over follows Sofia, a married woman with two kids, seeking to purify herself through a “disconnection vow”. When she leaves her husband and returns to her parents’ home—hoping for peace and quiet—she encounters a host of unexpected family issues that arise following the disintegration of her parents’ 35-year marriage. The film chronicles the modern day Chilean family, revealing how our breeding inevitably plays a hand in determining our fate—even when we’re convinced we’re forging our own paths.

Jiménez’s first film Optical Illusions (2009) screened at numerous international film festivals, including MiamiFF27 in 2010; his second film Bonsái world premiered at Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard section in 2011, and later won MiamiFF29’s Knight Ibero-American Grand Jury Competition and the Jordan Alexander Ressler Screenwriting Award in 2012.

MiamiFF, a program of Miami Dade College’s MDCulture, is teaming up New York City’s Film Society of Lincoln Center, for a mutual U.S. premiere of Voice Over at both MiamiFF 2015 and Film Comment Selects 2015—premiering only days apart in Miami and New York City. The US distributor for Voice Over is Outsider Pictures, whose new label is Todo Cine Latino. MiamiFF’s 32nd full program lineup will be announced on Tuesday, January 27th. Film vouchers are now available for Voice Over’s U.S. Premiere at MiamiFF; click here to purchase!—Tatyana Chiocchetti

A Quartet of Miami Film Talent Set to Screen at Sundance & Slamdance 2015

This week we are celebrating four talented Miami filmmakers who’ll be heading to the snow-capped mountains of Park City, Utah next month to showcase their latest work. Three of the films will be featured at Sundance Film Festival (Jan. 22 to Feb. 1, 2015)—the prestigious Fest founded in 1969 by Robert Redford, and a fourth at Slamdance Film Festival (Jan. 23-29, 2015)—the “alternative to the alternative” (since Redford started Sundance as an alternative to Cannes) founded in 1995 by a group of subversive filmmakers who weren’t accepted into Sundance and started their own event.

the-strongest-man

The Strongest Man

World premiering in Sundance’s NEXT <=> section, will be writer/director Kenny Riches’ second feature film The Strongest Man—a satirical portrait of Miami characters revolving around a stolen bike, and how the lives of an anxiety-ridden Cuban man, and his Korean friend, get derailed the moment they agree to attend a spiritual meditation class. Sundance’s Documentary Short Films section will be presenting Jonathan David Kane’s  “Papa Machete”—a character-driven short film documenting the noble, mysterious, and slowly vanishing martial art of Haitian machete fencing through the story and practice of one man, master fencer Alfred Avril, who recently passed away. “Papa Machete” is produced by recent Knight Arts Challenge grant winner and Miami-based Third Horizon Media, a production company and artist collective seeking to establish Miami as the capital of the Caribbean avant-garde.

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“Papa Machete”

Sundance’s Animated Short Films section will present the latest work by MiamiFF31 alum director in 2014 Ronnie Rivera (“International Noise Conference 2013”) entitled “The Sun Like a Big Dark Animal” (“El sol como un gran animal oscuro”), co-directed with Christina Felisgrau, where a computer and a woman fall in love, only to be torn apart because of their inappropriate feelings for each other. Lastly, MiamiFF31 alum director, Miami native, and O Cinema co-founder Kareem Tabsch (“Cherry Pop: The Story of the World’s Fanciest Cat”) is set to world premiere his new film “Dolphin Lover”—the true story of a man (Malcolm J. Brenner) with a porpoise—in Slamdance’s Documentary Shorts section. Congrats to all! —Tatyana Chiocchetti

15 MiamiFF Alumni Directors Heading to Sundance 2015

Following the the recent unveilings of films selected for the 2015 Sundance Film Festival  (January 22 to February 1), MiamiFF congratulates the following alumni directors heading to Utah to showcase their latest work!

The Black Panthers

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

Morgan Neville (MiamiFF30 Opening Night film in 2013) director: Twenty Feet From Stardom (USA)
U.S. Documentary Competition program at Sundance 2015: co-director (with Robert Gordon) of Best of Enemies (USA) — Best of Enemies is a behind-the-scenes account of the explosive 1968 televised debates between the liberal Gore Vidal and the conservative William F. Buckley Jr., and their rancorous disagreements about politics, God, and sex.

Marc Silver (MiamiFF30 in 2013) director: Who is Dayani Cristal?  / UK, Mexico
U.S. Documentary Competition program at Sundance 2015: 3½ Minutes / USA — On November 23, 2012, unarmed 17-year-old Jordan Russell Davis was shot at a Jacksonville gas station by Michael David Dunn. 3½ Minutes explores the aftermath of Jordan’s tragic death, the latent and often unseen effects of racism, and the contradictions of the American criminal justice system.

Liz Garbus (MiamiFF28 in 2011) Bobby Fischer Against the World  / USA; (MiamiFF20 in 2003) The Nazi Officer’s Wife / USA;
Documentary Premieres program at Sundance 2015: director of What Happened, Miss Simone? / USA — Classically trained pianist, dive-bar chanteuse, black power icon, and legendary recording artist Nina Simone lived a life of brutal honesty, musical genius, and tortured melancholy. This astonishing epic interweaves never-before-heard recordings and rare footage, creating an unforgettable portrait of one of our least understood, most beloved artists.

Alex Gibney (MiamiFF28 in 2011) co-director with Alison Ellwood: Magic Trip: Ken Kesey’s Search for a Kool Place / USA
Documentary Premieres program at Sundance 2015: Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief / USA — Going Clear intimately profiles eight former members of the Church of Scientology, shining a light on how they attract true believers and the things they do in the name of religion.

going-clear-scientology-and-the-prison-of-belief

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

Stanley Nelson (MiamiFF28 in 2011) director: Freedom Riders / USA; (MiamiFF22 in 2005) director: Sweet Honey in the Rock: Raise Your Voice / USA
Documentary Premieres program at Sundance 2015: director of The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution / USA — This feature-length documentary tells of the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party, one of the 20th century’s most alluring and controversial organizations that captivated the world’s attention for nearly 50 years.

Sean Baker (MiamiFF26 in 2009) director: Prince of Broadway / USA
NEXT(⇔) program at Sundance 2015: director of Tangerine / USA — A working girl tears through Tinseltown on Christmas Eve searching for the pimp who broke her heart.  World Premiere

Sebastián Silva (MiamiFF26 in 2009) director of The Maid (La nana) / Chile, Mexico
NEXT (⇔) program at Sundance 2015: director and screenwriter of Nasty Baby (USA) — A gay couple try to have a baby with the help of their best friend, Polly. The trio navigates the idea of creating life while confronted by unexpected harassment from a neighborhood man called The Bishop. As their clashes grow increasingly aggressive, odds are someone is getting hurt. World Premiere

Gael García Bernal (MiamiFF26 in 2009) co-director with Abderrahmane Sissako, Gaspar Noé, Mira Nair, Jane Campion, Gus Van Sant, Jan Kounen, Wim Wenders: “8” / France; (MiamiFF 25 in 2008) director: Deficit (Déficit) / Mexico; (MiamiFF30 in 2013) actor: “No” / Chile, USA, France Mexico
Special Events program at Sundance 2015: The Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge — An international shorts program designed to spark global conversation highlighting human ingenuity and imaginative solutions real people are creating to overcome challenges like extreme hunger and poverty. Filmmakers include Sundance Institute alumni Gael Garcia Bernal, Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady, Diego Luna, Marialy Rivas, and six storytellers from around the world. Presented with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

being-evel

Being Evel

Daniel Junge (MiamiFF25 in 2008) co-director with Siatta Scott Johnson: Iron Ladies of Liberia / USA
U.S. Documentary Competition program at Sundance 2015: Being Evel / USA — Millions know the man, but few know his story. An unprecedented and candid look at American daredevil and icon Robert “Evel” Knievel. A surprising tale about a childhood hero…flaws and all.

Laura Gabbert (MiamiFF21 in 2004) director: Sunset Story / USA
U.S. Documentary Competition program at Sundance 2015: City of Gold / USA —  LA Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold casts his light upon a vibrant and growing cultural movement in which he plays the dual roles of high-low priest and culinary geographer of his beloved Los Angeles.

Ronnie Rivera (MiamiFF31 in 2014) director “International Noise Conference 2013” / Canada, USA
Animation Short Films section at Sundance 2015: co-director (with Christina Felisgrau) of “The Sun Like a Big Dark Animal” / U.S.A. (Directors: Christina Felisgrau, Ronnie Rivera, Screenwriters: Ronnie Rivera, Bernardo Britto) — A computer and a woman fall in love, only to be torn apart because of their inappropriate feelings for each other.

Ramin Bahrani (MiamiFF30 in 2013) director: At Any Price / USA
Spotlight section at Sundance 2015: director of 99 Homes / USA — A father struggles to get back the home that his family was evicted from by working for the greedy real-estate broker who’s the source of his frustration.

WildTales

Wild Tales

Claudia Llosa (MiamiFF27 in 2010) director: The Milk of Sorrow (La teta asustada) / Spain, Peru; (MiamiFF24 in 2007) director: Madeinusa / Peru, Spain
Spotlight section at Sundance 2015: director and screenwriter of Aloft / Spain, France, Canada — The story of a struggling mother, Nana, and her evolution to becoming a renowned healer. When a young artist tracks down Nana’s son 20 years after she abandoned him, she sets in motion an encounter between the two that will bring the meaning of their lives into question.

Kornél Mundruczó (MiamiFF26 in 2009) director: Delta / Hungary, Germany
Spotlight section at Sundance 2015: director of White God (Fehér isten) / Hungary — When young Lili is forced to give up her beloved dog, Hagen, because its mixed-breed heritage is deemed “unfit” by The State, she and the dog begin a dangerous journey back toward each other. Winner of Cannes’ Un Certain Regard Grand Prize.

Damián Szifrón (MiamiFF21 in 2004) director: The Bottom of the Sea (El fondo del mar) / Argentina
Spotlight section at Sundance 2015: director of Wild Tales (Relatos salvajes) / Argentina — Inequality, injustice, and the demands of the world cause stress and depression for many people. Some of them, however, explode. This is a movie about those people; vulnerable in the face of an unpredictable reality, those who cross the thin line dividing civilization and barbarism. Cast: Ricardo Darín, Julieta Zyberberg, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Darío Grandinetti, Erica Rivas, Oscar Martínez.  —Tatyana Chiocchetti

New Oscar Ruiz Navia & Wim Wenders Films to Premiere at MiamiFF32 in Celebration of Art Basel

Dinka group at Pagarau cattle camp, Southern Sudan, Africa, 2006, photo by Sebastião Salgado

Dinka group at Pagarau cattle camp, Southern Sudan, Africa, 2006 – photo by Sebastião Salgado

It’s here! This week, 250 of the world’s leading galleries and throngs of art lovers jet in from all corners of the globe for Art Week in Miami, transforming the city into a tantalizing landscape of art and culture. Among the many fairs, exhibits, and pop-up galleries, Miami International Film Festival (MiamiFF) heartily recommends the  Sebastião Salgado: “Genesis” exhibition—a riveting selection of images shot during an eight-year period in Alaska, Siberia, Africa, and South America—currently on display at Wynwood’s Dina Mitrani Gallery (2620 NW 2nd Avenue). For the past 40 years, Salgado has created some of the most indelible photographs of our time and most recently has embarked on the discovery of pristine territories, wild fauna and flora, and grandiose landscapes as part of a huge photographic project, inspiring an overwhelming call to action for greater stewardship of our planet’s natural resources.

Wim Wenders' The Salt of the Earth

Wim Wenders’ The Salt of the Earth

MiamiFF  is proud to announce today that The Salt of the Earth, a new film on Sebastião Salgado’s fascinating life and work, will have its highly-anticipated Florida Premiere at MiamiFF32, March 6 – 15, 2015. The film is co-directed by the renowned Brazilian photographer’s son, Juliano Ribero Salgado, and the great German filmmaker Wim Wenders (MiamiFF23′s Career Achievement Tributee in 2006).  An exceptionally clever and cinematic documentary, The Salt of the Earth projects “the master’s photographs onto a semi-transparent mirror that allows audiences to see both image and man” (Variety) and will compete for the $10,000 Knight Documentary Achievement Award, voted on by the public. The film will definitely be one of the Festival’s hottest tickets. Be sure to visit to the exhibit at Dina Mitrani Gallery and reserve your seat for The Salt of the Earth by clicking here.

loshongos_strip

film poster; scene from Los hongos

Also in celebration of Basel Art Fairs, and the wild eruption of street art that welcomes its arrival, MiamiFF is additionally honored to announce today that Los hongos, by celebrated Colombian filmmaker Oscar Ruiz Navia (Crab Trap, featured at MiamiFF27 in 2010), will have its US Premiere at MiamiFF32 as part of the Festival’s prestigious Knight Competition, one of 10 films that will be eligible for $40,000 Knight Grand Jury achievement award. Set in the streets of Navia’s hometown of Cali, Los hongos, follows two graffiti artists from different social classes, Ras and Calvin, who are drawn together by a mutual love of graffiti culture. The two motivate a group of mushrooming underground talent to create an epic mural as a heroic show of solidarity with the brave Egyptian women of the Arab Spring, as they connect cultures half a world away. The film is sure to have a similarly galvanizing effect on the myriad of talented street artists that have made Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood a world-famous phenomenon. Reserve your seat for Los hongos by clicking here.  —Tatyana Chiocchetti

MiamiFF Announces US Premiere of Jazz Age Globetrotting Drama ‘The Lost Aviator’

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With last night’s unveiling of the MiamiFF32 poster as an image from Miami’s history (Orson Welles in Miami Beach 1943), MiamiFF revealed today the first title of the 2015 Festival’s official selection – another shot of vintage Miami: The Lost Aviator, by Australian filmmaker Andrew Lancaster.  Against his family’s wishes, Andrew decided to open up a cold case from 1932, by pursuing the adventures and mysteries of his fearless great uncle, Bill Lancaster, a pioneering aviator whose high-profile jazz age affair and subsequent Miami murder trial was front page news around the world for 18 days straight in 1932.

Chubby Miller, Bill Lancaster, Kiki Lancaster

Chubby Miller, Bill Lancaster & Kiki Lancaster in 1927

The globetrotting tragedy was interpreted in the 2009 French film, The Last Flight, with Guillame Canet and Marion Cotillard, which followed on from the 1985 Australian TV mini-series “The Lancaster Miller Affair”.  Lancaster’s more recent probe into the mystery has been turned into a feature-length documentary, The Lost Aviator, the true story of Bill Lancaster—who began as a Royal Air Force pilot before deciding to make a name for himself by being the first person to fly from England to Australia.

Love_Triangle

Sensational Miami Love Triangle in 1932: Haden Clarke, Jessie “Chubby” Miller, Bill Lancaster 

THIS FILM IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE $10,000 KNIGHT DOCUMENTARY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD VOTED ON BY YOU, THE PUBLIC. Final scores will be tabulated by an algorithm of both audience enthusiasm and audience participation in the voting process, so that attendance at the screening and active voting (one ballot per attendee allowed) is just as important as the average ballot score from each screening (with films being rated on a scale of 1 – 5). Vouchers are now available for the U.S. Premiere of The Lost Aviator at MiamiFF32 (March 6-15, 2015).  Reserve your seat!  —Tatyana Chiocchetti

Magician Orson Welles’ Most Famous Movie Never Released

Orson Welles

Orson Welles

As part of Miami Film Society’s monthly screening series, next week’s special event features an advance screening of Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles, where documentarian Chuck Workman takes us through the life of the legendarily uncompromising actor and director behind such classics as Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons andTouch of Evil. Beginning with Orson Welles’ early career as a dazzling yet hard-nosed young genius, the film charts his rise and tumultuous collision with the Hollywood studio system, and the toll it would eventually take, leaving him forced to do television commercials in his final years. Welles’ infamous struggles with money, women, and authority are all part of his story, as are his charm, immense talent, and astonishing work. Magician, not due out in South Florida theaters until next spring, features interviews with Steven Spielberg, Richard Linklater, Martin Scorsese and Welles’ close friends and family, and provides a strong visual sense of the world in which the enormously complex figure lived and worked.

On the set of 'The Other Side of the Wind'; Orson Welles

On the set of The Other Side of the Wind; Orson Welles

After more than four decades, more material regarding Welles is coming to light. The New York Times recently reported that Hollywood insiders, financiers and dreamers have been obsessed by the quest to recover The Other Side of the Wind, the unfinished last film of Orson Welles—a movie within a movie about the comeback attempt of an aging, maverick director played by John Huston. Endless legal battles among the rights holders, including Welles’ daughter, kept the 1,083 reels of negatives inside a warehouse in a gritty suburb of Paris despite numerous efforts to complete the film.

The quest may be over. A Los Angeles production company, Royal Road Entertainment, said last month it had reached an agreement with the sometimes-warring parties to buy the rights. The producers say they aim to have it ready for a screening in time for May 6, 2015, the 100th anniversary of Welles’ birth, recently promoting its distribution at the American Film Market in Santa Monica, Calif., last week. Cinema buffs consider it the most famous movie never released, an epic work by one of the great filmmakers.  —Tatyana Chiocchetti

The Art of Adapting Page Turners to the Big Screen

MiamiFF31adaptations copy

This past March, MiamiFF31 featured a number of titles stemming from novels that were translated into the language of film including: Manuel Martín Cuenca’s Cannibal (Caníbal), about a Spanish tailor who lusts for female flesh in a secretly unconventional way—based on the novel of the same name by Cuban writer Humberto Arenal; Lukas Moodysson’s We Are the Best! (Vi är bäst!), about three teen girls who form a punk band, without instruments, in 1980s Stockholm—depicted from an autobiographical novel written by the Moodysson’s wife and based on Charlotte Roche’s best selling novel of the same name; and David Wnendt’s Wetlands (Feuchtgebiete), about a fluid-obsessed German teen who exists completely outside the acceptable limits of female sexuality and hygiene—based on the best-selling novel of the same name.

Miami Book Fair International

This year’s 31st edition of Miami Book Fair International offers you the chance to meet and learn from prominent agents, producers and Hollywood insiders who have navigated the long, intricate process of turning literary fiction into film at the “From Book to Big Screen: The Art of Adaptation” panel. The free event will be held at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave., Batten (Building 2, 1st Floor, Room 2106) on Sunday, November 23rd at 10:00 AM.

Presenters include Chris Goldberg, former director of literary affairs for 20th Century Fox; Paula Mazur, award-winning Hollywood producer and principal in Mazur / Kaplan, which specializes in producing literary properties for film and TV—she’s currently working on a film adaptation of the bestselling novel, The Gurensey Literary and Potato Peel Society in partnership with Miami’s own Mitch Kaplan (Fair co-founder and Books & Books owner) and Fox 2000; Howard Sanders, partner and co-head of United Talent Agency’s book department; and novelist Russell Banks (MiamiFF22 jury member in 2005), whose acclaimed fiction has been converted into award-winning films by Adam Egoyan, Paul Schrader, and others. The panel will be moderated by Rachel Deahl, news director at Publishers Weekly.  — Tatyana Chiocchetti, Josie Brown

CITIZENFOUR is a ‘Transcendent Experience’ Says MiamiFF’s Veteran Curator

Just over a week ago at MIFFecito, Day 3 opened with the first of two thought-provoking Master Classes: The Art of Curation with Thom Powers (@ThomPowers), manifesting what it takes to be the link between a film and its audience—the curator is the bridge. During the class, veteran curator Thom Powers (documentary programmer for MiamiFF and TIFF) cited Citizenfour, by Academy Award®-nominated director Laura Poitras, as an example of what a film experience should be, stating it was “a transcendent experience that I’m not sure I’ll have again… a movie [like Citizenfour,] brings anticipation and keeps you at the edge of your seat.”

Thom Powers

Internationally renowned film curator Thom Powers

Poitras’ film reveals the first extensive interviews with Edward Snowden after he blew the whistle on the National Security Agency (NSA) and government intrusion. A real life thriller, Citizenfour, is engrossing mainly because we get to see, up very close, the man behind the controversy. “Citizenfour“ was the alias that Snowden used to contact Poitras in January 2013—aware that she had long been a target of government surveillance—and the two corresponded over the course of five months. Once Poitras learned that Snowden didn’t intend to remain an anonymous source, she wanted to understand his motivations and convinced him to allow her to film their face-to-face meeting in a Hong Kong hotel room—along with journalist Glenn Greenwald—resulting in more than 20 hours worth of footage.

Director Laura Poitras, Citizenfour poster

Director Laura Poitras, Citizenfour poster

Citizenfour not only displays the dangers of governmental surveillance, it leaves you feeling vulnerable to them as well. The film opened in five theaters this past weekend, averaging an impressive $25,721 per theater, Indiewire reported yesterday, “With exceptional reviews, sell out crowds and multiple standing ovations. Citizenfour is already on track to become one of the biggest documentaries of the last five years,” Tom Quinn, Co-President, RADiUS said.  Hitting more theaters next weekend, Citizenfour will premiere at Miami Beach Cinematheque Friday, November 21st.  —Tatyana Chiocchetti, Josie Brown

LIFE FEELS GOOD: The Enduring Power of the Human Spirit

LIFEFEELSGOOD3 A true story about a young man suffering from cerebral palsy who struggles to communicate with those around him that he is an intelligent and conscious human being—and the institutional fallacies that treat mental disorders—provide the inspiration for Polish writer-director Maciej Pieprzyca’s award-winning film Life Feels Good (Chce się żyć).  Set in the late ’70s and early ’80s Poland, a cultural climate rife with discrimination, Pieprzyca places the character of Mateusz squarely at his story’s center, serving compelling evidence as to the endurance of the human spirit. Simultaneously heartbreaking and humorous, we feel how tortuous being trapped inside yourself would be, and how damning the surrounding world can be, as Mateusz fights hard to communicate with those around him to prove that he is an intelligent and conscious human being. lifefeelsgoodstrip As a boy (Kamil Tkacz), Mateusz devises a remarkably autonomous method of moving around the apartment, lying on his back and flailing his arms to propel himself backward during his relatively happy childhood. His social instruction is gained by observing neighbors from his window, and while his mother (Dorota Kolak) wheels him around indulging him with love and laughter, it is his quirky father (Arkadiusz Jakubik) who provides Mateusz with an endless flow of cosmic knowledge, which serves to fuel his imagination. LIFEFEELSGOOD4 As he grows into a man, Mateusz’s (David Ogrodnik) attempts to influence the world around him seem to continuously backfire, as he meets endless challenges head-on with soul-stirring determination. Mateusz’s erratic movements and unintelligible sounds register less as symptoms of his illness and more as a language that most simply lack the inventiveness to interpret. A breakthrough occurs after Mateusz joins forces with a teacher of Bliss language, a popular method that serves to engender nonverbal communication, and their collaboration revolutionizes Mateusz’s life. Life Feels Good will have its Florida Premiere at MiamiFF’s mid-season mini festival, MIFFecito, on Sunday, October 19 at 6 PM, at Tower Theater. A reception will follow for all ticket holders at 8 PM; sponsored by The American Institute of Polish Culture and The Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Poland. Visit miamifilmfestival.com or call 1-844-565-6433 (MIFF) for tickets.  —Tatyana Chiocchetti