Film Festivals + TV = New Audiences

For a TV series, the spotlight of a Film Festival premiere is an opportunity to prove its ability to stand on its own as a cinematic story and attract new audiences. Now, as the quality of TV fare warrants it, a trend has begun to emerge as film festivals add new sections to their program lineups offering a glimpse of the best in episodic storytelling from around the globe. Miami International Film Festival (in 2012), this year’s SXSW, Sundance, followed by Tribeca and now TIFF are marking a number of major film festivals presenting TV on the big screen.

Mitch Glazer, writer, executive producer and creator of Magic City and lead actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan at  Colony Theatre in 2012. Photo credit: Sun Sentinel

Mitch Glazer, writer, executive producer and creator of  and lead actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan at  Colony Theatre in 2012. Photo credit: Sun Sentinel

The Mitch Glazer-created period Miami casino mob series Magic City, which enjoyed a two-season run on Starz, is currently in development for its move to the big screen. A star-studded showing of the pilot episode was held at the Festival’s 29th edition in 2012 at the Colony Theatre on Lincoln Road, with cast members Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Steven Strait, Kelly Lynch, Elle Satine, Yul Vazquez, Dominik Garcia-Lorido (Andy Garcia’s daughter), and writer/executive producer Mitch Glazer in attendance.

Magic City TV series cast: Olga Kurylenko (from left), Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kelly Lynch, Steven Strait, Christian Cooke, Taylor Blackwell, Elena Satine, Jessica Marais, Dominik Garcia-Lorido, Yul Vasquez and Danny Huston.

Magic City cast: Olga Kurylenko (from left), Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kelly Lynch, Steven Strait, Christian Cooke, Taylor Blackwell, Elena Satine, Jessica Marais, Dominik Garcia-Lorido, Yul Vasquez and Danny Huston.

The Magic City TV series, currently available on Netflix, took place in 1959 Miami and revolved around a club owner, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who is forced to make a deal with a mobster; the Magic City movie will be set in 1962 and once again will revolve around the Miami club owner. Glazer wrote the script and will direct series regulars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Danny Huston, Olga Kurylenko and Kelly Lynch, who’ll be joined by Bruce Willis, Bill Murray and others. Also, the Elmore Leonard novel Bandits is finally getting its movie closeup. Bruce Willis is the driving force behind this one, and will play the lead role in an ensemble drama that will be scripted by Mitch Glazer, coming off Magic City and Rock The Kasbah.

Prófugos director Pablo Larraín; Prófugos stars

Prófugos director Pablo Larraín at Regal South Beach in 2012; Prófugos stars Néstor Cantillana, Francisco Reyes, Benjamín Vicuña, Luis Gnecco

Also during the Festival 29th Edition, the Festival featured the first two episodes of the HBO Latin America series, Prófugos (Fugitives), in its Cinema 360° program. The Chilean series by award-winning director Pablo Larraín (Tony Manero, Post Mortem), celebrated writer Pablo Illanes (“¿Dónde está Elisa?”), and Fabula (Young and Wild, 4:44 Last Day on Earth) brought big screen quality to the TV mini-series world in a big budget 13-episode epic thriller, where four men are contracted by a mob boss who needs to move a truckload of liquid cocaine from Bolivia into Chile. The failed drug trafficking operation triggers an all-out manhunt across the vast regions of the Chilean landscape, where the enormous Atacama desert was only one backdrop selected for the first-ever HBO Latin America production in Chile.  —Tatyana Chiocchetti

Wim Wenders’ Striking Visual Ode to Sebastião Salgado

With deep empathy for the human condition, Sebastião Salgado’s photographs directly confront injustice, inhumanity and horror, while capturing the dignity within every subject. In multi-year, globe-spanning projects such as Workers: Archaeology of the Industrial Age, Sahel: The End of the Road, Migrations, and Genesis. Salgado’s stunning black-and-white compositions chronicle the lives of forgotten people—rendering them unforgettable.

Sebastião Salgado

Sebastião Salgado

Born in the Brazilian mining state of Minas Gerais and trained as an economist, Salgado moved to France in 1969 after Brazil’s military coup, and in the early ‘70s, in close collaboration with his wife Léila Wanick (then an architect), set up a home and studio in Paris to focus on photography. Devoting decades of his life to documenting the world’s darkest corners—among them the unspeakable horrors of the Rwandan genocide—left him deeply traumatized, and he decided not continue capturing such unimaginable horror. He couldn’t. In 1990, he returned from exile to the desiccated remains of his family’s formerly verdant farm, where his wife Léila said, “Let’s plant a few trees.” The ‘few’ trees became over a million through an experimental program of replanting. Their technique proved so successful that the project, called “Instituto Terra,” has now reforested parts of Brazil’s Atlantic (Mata Atlântica) rainforest and is a model for similar efforts worldwide.


Refugee camp in Rwanda

Having collected Salgado’s photographs since the 1980s, German filmmaker Wim Wenders already knew that this Salgado really cared about people; what he didn’t know was that he was going to discover much more than just a photographer. His latest film, The Salt of the Earth (Le Sel de la terre), co-directed with Juliano Ribeiro Salgado (Sebastião’s son), is a fascinating amalgam of insider and outsider perspective on the Salgado family’s story. “Salt,” which earned a 2015 Oscar-nomination for Best Documentary Feature (Wender’s third, following Pina in 2011, and Buena Vista Social Club in 1999) is a stunning visual odyssey through Sebastião’s career.

Dinka group of Pagarau cattle camp, South Sudan, Africa 2006

Dinka group of Pagarau cattle camp, South Sudan, Africa 2006

For the past decade, Salgado has moved on to take pictures of pristine territories, our planet as it was created, hence the project’s name “Genesis”. His hope is that these images of absolute peace will help counter-balance the onslaught of negative imagery that we are exposed to on a daily basis. Lélia, the curator of the exhibit says that “Genesis is a quest for the world as it was, as it was formed, as it evolved, as it existed for millennia before modern life accelerated and began distancing us from the very essence of our being”.

Wenders, who received Miami International Film Festival’s Career Achievement Tribute in 2006, created a clever, cinematic way of filming Sebastião discussing his work in The Salt of the Earth. By projecting the master’s photographs onto a semi-transparent mirror, he allows audiences to see both image and man. In this manner, Wenders elicits memories of various monumental projects, turning ordinary talking-head visuals into emotion-filled interactivity. Following its Florida premiere at #MiamiFF32 last month, The Salt of the Earth makes its commercial debut on Friday, April 17 at MDC’s Tower Theater. —Tatyana Chiocchetti

Florida’s Flickering Landscapes Conference

The University of Central Florida’s Center for Humanities and Digital Research, College of Arts and Humanities,  is seeking papers for an upcoming conference, Flickering Landscapes: Florida’s Landscape, History, and Identity on the Screen, taking place in Orlando on November 12-14, 2015. The conference is geared toward academics from a broad range of disciplines and industry professionals, with the goal of initiating an ongoing dialogue on the dimensions of how Florida sees itself and is seen by the rest of the country through the lens of popular culture.

The First Hollywood; Pearl Bailey, Budd Ross, "Babe" Oliver Hardy and Ethel Burton: Actors and actresses in Jacksonville's motion picture industry (photo cred: Florida Memory - State Archives of Florida)

The First Hollywood; Pearl Bailey, Budd Ross, “Babe” Oliver Hardy and Ethel Burton: Actors and actresses in Jacksonville’s motion picture industry (photo cred: Florida Memory – State Archives of Florida)

Any form of screen experience relating to Florida is of interest: cinema, television, government and industry promotional film, training film, anthropological film, tourist experience video, home movies and non-professional video. The conference will likely trace back to the early years of the 20th century, when Jacksonville became the “Winter Film Capital of the World.” The first film studio opened there in 1908, to save money by using sunlight instead of pricey studio lights. Over the course of the next decade, 30 other studios followed, including Metro Pictures – later to become Hollywood giant, MGM. The studios eventually headed west to California when the people of Jacksonville began opposing such practices as filming bank robberies on Sundays, cars careening out of control in downtown and plunging into the St. Johns River, calling in false alarms to shoot a film of speeding fire trucks, and the like.

The Record Man featured at #MiamiFF 2015—a portrait of the late Henry Stone, a gutsy, enterprising music pioneer who ran an independent record empire out of a Hialeah warehouse; 80s TV show “Miami Vice”

Three key areas will be explored at the conference, including Landscape, History and Identity. Possible topics may include:

  • The relationship between Florida and the motion picture industry in
    • Jacksonville in the Silent Era
    •  The Race films of Richard Norman Studios
    •  The Gulf Coast Land Boom of the 1930s
    • Exploitation films at Wakulla and Silver Springs, 1950s-1960s
    • The “Hollywood East Movement” in Orlando, 1989-2000
  • South Florida television productions 1984-2010
  • The preservation of Florida film heritage sites.
  • From “Crackers to Cocaine Cowboys” archetypes of Florida-based characters on screen.
  • “Florida as the Promised Land:” Escapist films set in Florida or have Florida as the destination.
  • “Florida as a Backdrop:” Set design, Architecture, Still Images, Landscape.
  • Tax incentives and the economics of Florida filmmaking.
  • “Tin Can Tourism to Theme Parks:” Florida depicted as a vacation destination.
  • LGBTQ representations in Florida-set films.
  • “Paradise Lost and Found:” Beach, Swamps, Lakes, and Forests – Florida Ecology on Film.
  • Ethnographic and anthropological film
  • Non-commercial Florida on screen: corporate, government, and tourism films
  • The place of Florida in relation to other “secondary” film locations, (i.e. Wilmington, NC, Vancouver, BC, Toronto, ON, Dallas, TX, Pittsburg, PA, etc.)
  • The future of Florida’s film and television industry.

Deadline for submissions is May 31, 2015. Please view the Center’s Call for Papers page for details on submitting individual papers, panels or workshops.  —Tatyana Chiocchetti

Brazilian Writer/Filmmaker Anna Muylaert’s Latest to Screen at Tower

Anna Muylaert

Anna Muylaert

Miami Film Society’s monthly special event screening for April will feature a moving drama, The Second Mother (Que Horas Ela Volta?), by award-winning Brazilian writer and director Anna Muylaert, who wrote the first version of the film 20 years ago when she had her first child—it was called, The Kitchen Door, and was a magical realism story of a domestic servant who was a magician in her own village who could read the future of people. Born in São Paulo in 1964, Muylaert studied at the School of Communications and Arts at University of São Paulo (USP) in the early eighties, then became a film critic for Istoé (Brazil’s equivalent of Time or Newsweek) and O Estado de S. Paulo. In 1988, she joined the staff of Rede Gazeta’s program Mix TV, and several years later wrote for various children’s TV series, including “Mundo da Lua”, and “Castelo Rá-Tim-Bum”. Her impressive list of screenplay collaborations includes the HBO series “Filhos do Carnaval” and “Alice”, as well as multiple feature films including Xingu, The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (O Ano em Que Meus Pais Saíram de Férias, and Desmundo.

“A Origem dos Bebês Segundo Kiki Cavalcanti” (1995); Durval Records (2002); Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (2009)

“A Origem dos Bebês Segundo Kiki Cavalcanti” (1995); Durval Records (2002); Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (2009)

Muylaert began her filmmaking career with short films—most notably A Origem dos Bebês Segundo Kiki Cavalcanti (1995), which won the Best Film award at Rio Cine and Cine Ceará Festivals. In 2002, she directed her first feature film, Durval Records (Durval Discos), which took home seven awards at Gramado Film Festival, including Best Picture. Her second feature film, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (É Proibido Fumar) in 2009, garnered over 30 national awards, including Best Film at Brasilia Film Festival, Grand Prize of the Brazilian Academy of Cinema, and Best Direction at Los Angeles Latino Film Festival.

The Second Mother

The Second Mother

Oscilloscope Laboratories picked up the U.S. rights to Muylaert’s latest, The Second Mother, on the heels of its Special Jury Award for Acting at Sundance Film Festival, and Panorama Audience Award at Berlin Film Festival. The film features Rio-born veteran actress, comedian, television host, and director Regina Casé in the role of Val, a live-in housekeeper who loyally serves her wealthy São Paulo employers day in and day out while lovingly nannying their teenage son, whom she’s raised since toddlerhood. Val’s estranged daughter Jessica (Camila Mardila)—who came of age far removed, literally and figuratively, from her mother’s servitude mentality—suddenly appears to take college entrance exams, and the unspoken class barriers that exist within the home are thrown into disarray.  Quoting C.L. on Sundance’s site, “The immense satisfaction and fun of The Second Mother stem from watching tacit social codes and delicate hierarchies waver as a new generation blithely treads on sacrosanct boundaries.”

A special event screening of The Second Mother will be held on Tuesday, April 21 at MDC’s Tower Theater at 7:00 PM. TICKETS are currently available for Miami Film Society members, and will go on sale for the general public on Monday, April 6. See you at the movies!  –Tatyana Chiocchetti

2015 Festival Award Winners ~ It’s a Wrap!

Writer, producer, director Phil Lord; The Obscure Spring poster

Writer, producer, director Phil Lord; The Obscure Spring poster

The vibe of the night at this past Saturday’s Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival Awards Night Ceremony, held at Olympia Theater at Gusman Center, may be best summed up by Miami-born writer, producer, director Phil Lord, who quoted the following food for thought found on the Knight Foundation’s website: “We seek to bestir the people into an awareness of their own condition, provide inspiration for their thoughts, and rouse them to pursue their true interests,” as Jack Knight once described as the bedrock purpose of his newspaper.



> Knight Grand Jury Prize: The Obscure Spring (Las oscuras primaveras) (Mexico), produced by Luis Albores, Erika Avila, Carlos Mesa and Armon O’Farrill
> Grand Jury Award Best Performance: Cecilia Suarez, Jose Maria Yazpik and the entire cast of The Obscure Spring (Las oscuras primaveras) (Mexico)
> Grand Jury Award Best Director: Abner Benaim for Invasion (Invasión) (Panama / Argentina)

KNIGHT DOCUMENTARY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD (Selected by the Festival audience.)
> Tea Time (La once) (Chile / USA), directed by Maite Alberdi

> In the Grayscale (En las gamas de gris) (Chile), directed by Claudio Marcone

> Theeb (Jordan / Qatar / United Arab Emirates / United Kingdom), written by Naji Abu Nowar and Bassel Ghandour

> Best Short Film: “Young Lions of Gypsy” (“A Ciambra”) (Italy/France), directed by Jonas Carpignano
> Honorable Mentions: “A Tree In The Sea” (United Arab Emirates), directed by Shahir Zag; and Alba Baptista for her performance in Simão Cayatte’s “Miami” (Portugal)

MIAMI ENCUENTROS presented by Knight Foundation
> The Apostate (El apóstata) (Spain / France / Uruguay), produced by Guadalupe Balaguer Trelles, Fernando Franco, and Federico Veiroj; directed by Federico Veiroj


Spring director Aaron Moorhead, CinemaSlam champion “First Day” director Rita Pereyra, Graham Winick

> Grand Prize winner: “The First Day” (“El primer dia”) (Miami Dade College), produced by Rita Pereyra, Martin Castañeda and Andrea Estrada
> Audience Award winner: “The First Day” (“El primer dia”) (Miami Dade College)
> Best Documentary: “Romana” (University of Miami), produced by Barrett Dennison, Luis J. Galvis, Chantale Glover and Nick Katzenbach
> Best Drama: “The First Day” (“El primer dia”) (Miami Dade College)
> Best Actor: Juan Jimenez, “The First Day” (“El primer dia”) (Miami Dade College)
> Best Actress: Valentina Jimenez, “The First Day” (“El primer dia”) (Miami Dade College)
> Best Director: Rita Pereyra,“The First Day” (“El primer dia”) (Miami Dade College)
> Best Technical Achievement: Timothy Wilcox, “Top Shelf” (Miami Dade College)

Alex Pina Kamilaze and Lexus man

Kamikaze director Álex Pina and Lexus vehicle operations manager Marcus Williams

> Favorite Feature Film: Kamikaze (Spain), directed by Álex Pina
> Favorite Short Film: “Young Lions of Gypsy” (“A ciambra”) (Italy), directed by Jonas Carpignano

Capping a stellar 32nd edition of the Festival, which featured a total of 124 films from 41 countries, including 15 world premieres, the Lexus Audience Award announcements were made by the Festival’s executive director Jaie Laplante and Lexus’ vehicle operations manager, Marcus Williams, at the Patrón XO Igloo Café Awards Night Party, at the Historic Alfred I. Dupont Building.

The Festival’s 33rd Edition is set for March 4-13, 2016. See YOU at the movies!  —Tatyana Chiocchetti


Two thousand and thirty two films have been screened by the Festival since it began in 1984, and 1,323 of those since 2004, when the event settled into its now permanent home at Miami Dade College.  This coming Friday, March 6th, and for 10 full days running, we will add 124 new films to both statistical columns, carefully selected for our audience’s enjoyment and education.

Best of Enemies, A Second Chance, Being Evel

Best of Enemies, A Second Chance, Being Evel

We’re blessed to have the trust of so many artists who bring their films to Miami International Film Festival. More than 30 of this year’s directors have previously shared their work with us and are unveiling their latest screen creations, including Oscar winners Morgan Neville (Best of Enemies), Susanne Bier (A Second Chance), and Daniel Junge (Being Evel); Oscar nominees Wim Wenders (The Salt of the Earthand Damián Szifron (Wild Tales); local Miami filmmaking heros Billy Corben & Alfred Spellman (Dawg Fight), and Mark Moormann (The Record Man); and new generation Miami stunners like Ronnie Rivera (“The Sun Like a Big Dark Animal”), working this year with Christina Felisgrau. Other veterans are on screen with us for the first time, and we’re delighted to be launching a number of brilliant newcomers with their first-ever works—some that I am certain will be at future Academy Awards ceremonies as nominees and winners.

The Price of Fame, Three Hearts, Saint Laurent

The Price of Fame, Three Hearts, Saint Laurent

France, one of the great cinema producing nations of the world, is having a triumphant year, and it was an uncontested choice to put in our annual spotlight this year. New works by veterans Xavier Beauvois (The Price of Fame), Benôit Jacquot (Three Hearts), Bertrand Bonello (Saint Laurent), and André Techiné (In the Name of My Daughter) carry the spirit and zest of their best works, while a new generation impresses with its wit and verve. Still to come, later this year, is Laurent Canet’s remarkably nuanced and moving Return to Ithaca, filmed in Havana from a script by novelist Leonardo Padura.

Which brings us to Cuba…a long-sought change is in the air, although a change that is still too filled with uncertainty to fully grasp, perhaps most especially here in Miami. As with everything in life, I turn to the work of the artists to approach any kind of understanding. Last fall, at our new “MIFFecito” event, the wisdom of Ernesto DaranasBehavior (Conducta) laid bare the essential need to honor those independent filmmakers whose resolve to make that art despite unbelievable frustrations and obstacles. And for that, we pay Tribute this year not just to one filmmaker, but all Cuban filmmakers for whom making art is a must.

As always, welcome and gratitude to all those who create, organize, finance, attend and participate—and especially to the dedicated Festival team, who could win a World Series with their ability to field daily curveballs. Muchísimas gracias!  —Jaie Laplante, Executive Director, Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival

FIVE Opening Night Film Events for 32nd Festival

Patrón Opening Night Party

Patrón Opening Night Party

Wild Tales (Relatos salvajes) will easily stand as one of the most buzzed-about Opening Nights in Miami International Film Festival history—advance ticket sales already ended last week, more than two weeks in advance, and only a RUSH LINE option remains—but you can still get a chance to meet director Damián Szifron at the Patrón Opening Night Gala party by purchasing a ticket today, while those party tickets are still available. Get treated to some fine entrée samples from Miami Argentine restaurants and an all-new Patrón dessert surprise!

Did you know that the Festival actually has FIVE Opening Night films to choose from? Each Festival venue is opening with its own film, and tickets for our Calle Ocho, Miami Beach and Coral Gables openings are still available. Kick off your Festival with one of the four other fantastic options and then join all the filmmakers in town at the Freedom Tower party immediately following your screening.

Being Evel

Being Evel

Oscar-winning (from 2012) director Daniel Junge will be personally presenting the O Cinema Miami Beach opening with his film Being Evel, a thrilling look at the legendary daredevil Evel Knievel, and the complex personality behind that legend. This is also the first of 23 documentaries that you can vote on to give away $10,000 cash for the Knight Documentary Achievement Award, and attending (and voting!) will automatically enter you to win a year’s worth of free movies at Cinépolis in Coconut Grove.

A Girl at My Door

A Girl at My Door

Opening Coral Gables Art Cinema is first-time feature director and Jordan Alexander Ressler Screenwriting Award nominee July Jung. She brings us the dangerous, thrilling mystery A Girl at My Door, in which a recovering alcoholic cop is given one shot at redemption—but a damaged young girl may stand in her way of getting back her sanity.

Partners in Crime

Partners in Crime

See what’s up with tomorrow’s youth in another thriller, Partners in Crime, that opens Regal South Beach Cinemas. Not the most popular kids in their high school, three teenage boys become amateur detectives as they suspect a fellow classmate of bullying another classmate to death—but the tables turn to a race to prove the truth.

Aaron Moorhead; Kristen Nyman, Joey DeSantino

Aaron Moorhead; Kristen Nyman, Joey DeSantino

Equally exciting will be the talent of Miami’s young filmmakers at the 5th annual Cinemaslam competition at MDC’s Tower Theater, where jury president Aaron Moorhead (Spring) will be unveiling the grand prize winner from 11 finalists, seven of which are from Miami Dade College.

Don’t be left waiting out in the RUSH LINE for any of your FOUR remaining Opening Night options, or any of our Argentine films as well—will one of these be Argentina’s Oscar entry next year? Butterfly (Mariposas), Sunstrokes (Las insoladas), Easy Sex Sad Movies (Sexo fácil, películas tristes), or Tango Glories (Fermín  glorias del tango)?  – Jaie Laplante

U.S. Premiere of Multiple Goya Winner MARSHLAND Added to Festival Lineup

Raúl Arévalo and Javier Gutíerrez in Marshland

Raúl Arévalo and Javier Gutíerrez in Marshland

Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival has just scored the U.S. Premiere of Marshland (La isla mínima), a stylish thriller which last week became the third highest Goya-awarded film in history—only The Sea Inside and Ay, Carmela! have won more—making it a worth-the-wait late addition to our CineDwnTwn Galas presented by Miami DDA program.

Set in 1980, in the swampy lowlands of the Guadalquivir River in southern Spain, Alberto Rodríguez’s Marshland is an atmospheric, highly skilled detective story with an eerie sense of unease. Two teenage girls have disappeared after a local fiesta, and two mismatched and troubled cops from Madrid arrive to investigate—Juan (Javier Gutíerrez, winner of the Best Actor Goya) and Pedro (Raúl Arévalo, in a very different role than his comedic turn in the Festival’s awards night film, Sidetracked). The two outsider detectives are greeted with suspicion and hostility from the townspeople, including the victims’ parents. Ensnarled in sordid discoveries and clues that only deepen the confusion and mystery, Marshland explores more than a potential murder—rife with political nuance, it upends a conservative faction in a Spain still traumatized by the harsh light of post-Franco liberalism.

Director Alberto Rodríguez hails from Seville, Spain. His first feature, The Pilgrim Factor (2000), co-directed with Santi Amodeo, won the Best New Director award at San Sebastian Film Festival. As a solo director, his filmography includes The Suit (2002); 7 Virgins (2005), which won a Special Mention in the Knight Ibero-American Dramatic Competition at the 2006 Miami International Film Festival; After (2009) and Unit 7 (2012).

Marshland will have its U.S. Premiere at Olympia Theater at Gusman Center on Thursday, March 12 at 9:45 PM, following the screening of Kamikaze.  [more info & tickets]  — Tatyana Chiocchetti

Win Free Movies for One Year


The new Cinépolis movie theater in Coconut Grove will be giving one lucky Miami International Film Festival attendee an incredible prize of their own: a double-guest pass good for complimentary admission to the theater every day, any day for a full 365 days.

All you have to do to be eligible is purchase a ticket to at least one of the 24 films in this year’s Festival vying for the audience-voted $10,000 cash Knight Documentary Achievement Award, fill out your ballot after the screening (including your full name, phone number & email), and drop it in the ballot box at the exit.

Ballot box designates films eligible for Knight Documentary Achievement Award.

Ballot box designates films eligible for Knight Documentary Achievement Award.

The more films in this category you attend, and vote, the more chances you have to win. As you plan your Festival schedule, make sure to include at least one film that is eligible for the Knight Documentary Achievement Award, indicated by the red ballot box symbol on the film’s webpage.

Not only will you be helping your favorite documentary filmmaker out with the chance to win $10,000 cash, each time you vote, you’ll be entered for a drawing that will take place at the Patrón XO Igloo Café Awards Night Party, presented by The Historic Alfred I. Dupont Building courtesy of The TILIA Companies on Saturday, March 14.

bestofenemies1jpg copy 2

With today being President’s Day, consider adding Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon’s Best of Enemies to your shopping carts. A riveting series of explosive TV debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr., as Republicans and Democrats met in 1968 to choose their presidential candidates—this slice of American and Miami Beach history is not to be missed.

Neville, who won an Oscar for 20 Feet From Stardom, will be on hand for this special Miami Manifesto presentation—showing extra footage not included in the final film during an extended conversation with programmer Thom Powers following the screening at 1:00 PM on Sunday, March 8 at Coral Gables Art Cinema. Your ticket includes a post-screening reception sponsored by SundanceNOW Doc Club at the theater.  – Jaie Laplante

GUEST BLOG: Cheryl Boone Isaacs & The Oscars, by Kevin Sharpley

Cheryl Boone Isaacs

Cheryl Boone Isaacs

The Academy Awards, the biggest event in film is coming soon, and so is my favorite event in film, Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival, and I’m truly as excited as I’ve ever been! Although I have accomplished quite a bit in my career, including a film that features Daryl Hannah, Michael Chiklis, and Tommy Flanagan (some of my favorite actors), which was an official selection at the 2012 Miami International Film Festival; a documentary narrated by Danny Glover (one of my favorite actors growing up); and being inducted into Miami Dade College’s Hall of Fame last year. But what I am most proud of is coming on Tuesday, March 10th at Miami International Film Festival. One of my personal heroes, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, will be conducting a master class at O Cinema Miami Beach at 7:00 PM—and I helped make it happen! As the current President of the Academy for Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the first African American to hold that position, Cheryl will be discussing her illustrious career, providing an insider’s view of Hollywood. As Paramount’s executive vice president of worldwide publicity, she orchestrated the marketing campaigns for Best Picture winners Forrest Gump and Braveheart, then served as president of theatrical marketing for New Line Cinema, and now heads her own company, CBI Enterprises, Inc. She has consulted on several films, including Best Picture winners The King’s Speech and The Artist.

12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen and Lupita Nyong’o's

Oscar winners: 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen and actress Lupita Nyong’o

Last year was Boone Isaacs’ first as the head of the Academy, and was a banner year for diversity. 12 Years A Slave, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor in the lead role—which earned him an Oscar nomination—won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The film, directed by Steve McQueen, was the first time a black person took home a Best Director Oscar. Best Supporting Actress was also won by a person of color, African actress Lupita Nyong’o for the same film. There was also a nomination for first-time actor Barkhad Abdi of the film Captain Phillips, a black man of Ethiopian descent, and now one of my favorite actors. This year, there has been an outcry about the lack of diversity in the nominations for the Academy Awards. Although Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the President of the Academy, she has no voting capability. That is left to the over 6,000 members of the organization, many current and former film industry professionals. Nevertheless, she has instituted measures that will provide more diversity in the future.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs recently stated “We are very active about increasing diversity throughout the Academy and recognition of talent, and it will increase. I think what is important, and what we cannot lose sight of, is the fact that the discussion of motion pictures and filmmaking has gotten broader, and we are very happy to be involved in that discussion.” Last year the Academy inducted 271 new members, including 12 Years A Slave supporting-actress winner Lupita Nyong’o and comedian Chris Rock. I believe that Mrs. Boone Isaacs has taken important steps toward ensuring increased diversity in the future. To have an African American woman at the head of the Academy for Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is an indication of the change that’s already happening. Substantive change takes time, but having a person of color at the helm making changes will help to provide more diverse opportunities in the future.

I’m truly excited to hear from Mrs. Boone Isaacs about what’s happening for the Academy Awards, now and for the future, and to hear insights from her remarkable career. As a person of color, the pride I feel to have Cheryl Boone Isaacs as the President of one of the biggest organizations in the film world can’t be measured. And to have her here in Miami for an in-person conversation is a treasure I will long remember. I look forward to being there, front and center. You’ll find me on stage making introductions, and when I leave the stage, I’ll be glued to my seat waiting to experience the wealth of knowledge Mrs. Boone Isaacs has to offer! [ more info & tickets ] – Kevin Sharpley