• 2018 Essence Festival | New Orleans | July 5 - July 8, 2018
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Jason Reitman’s ‘Tully’ to Open 2018 Miami Film Festival March 9th

Miami, FL — Four-time Oscar nominated writer, director and producer Jason Reitman will premiere Tully, his newest collaboration with Oscar winners Charlize Theron and screenwriter Diablo Cody, as the Opening Night of the 35th edition of Miami Dade College’s (MDC) acclaimed Miami Film Festival, on Friday, March 9th at the Olympia Theater.

Charlize Theron’s fearless performance as a struggling suburban mother on the brink of losing mental control is made possible by another brilliant collaboration by the creators ofJuno and Young Adult,” said Festival director Jaie Laplante. “Tully is both a parable and a salve for our stressed-out times – it reminds us all of who we are, and there is no more beautiful way to open our 35th edition than with this film.”

The Festival will give its Precious Gem – Icon Award to the great French actress Isabelle Huppert, recent Oscar nominee for Elle and the most nominated actress in César Award history – a total of 16 nominations from France’s Academy – winning twice. She has also twice won the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival, in a career that has seen her work with some of the greatest directors of contemporary times.  Huppert will be honored on Friday, March 16th at the Olympia Theater.

Isabelle Huppert has made profound contributions to cinema over the course of her illustrious career,” Laplante said. “With her recent performances in Things to Come andElle, as well as Souvenir and Claire’s Camera, both of which we will be screening in conjunction with her Festival appearance, Ms. Huppert reaches ever-new pinnacles that continually astonish us, and add to her iconic status.”

The Festival will give its Precious Gem – Master Award to Spain’s greatest living filmmaker, Carlos Saura, on the occasion of a new documentary about the master’s career and family life, Félix Viscarret’s Goya-lauded Saura(s), on Sunday, March 11th at the Olympia Theater.

“Carlos Saura returns to Miami after receiving the Festival’s Career Achievement Tribute Award at our 20th edition in 2003,” said Laplante. “At that time, he was 71. Now, he’s 86 and has made eight more brilliant films since his last visit to Miami – but with Saura(s), we see him in a new light, as both a filmmaker and a family-maker. He is a peerless master, and we celebrate the life that continues to nourish his art.”

An Opening Night Gala Dinner at EAST, Miami will follow, as well as a simultaneous Opening Night Party at Miami Design District’s new Jungle Plaza.

In all, the Festival will present 148 feature narratives, documentaries and short films of all genresfrom 50 different countries, including three countries being represented in the Festival’s Official Selection for the first time– Benin, Georgia and Swaziland. The 35thedition of the Festival runs March 9th – 18th. Thirty-eight of the films are directed or co-directed by women filmmakers. The Festival will wrap up with an Awards Night Galascreening at Olympia Theater of the International premiere of Curro Velázquez’s smash hit Spanish comedy Holy Goalie (Que baje Dios y lo vea), with star Alain Hernández in attendance. All Olympia Theater screenings are part of the Festival’s CINEDWNTWN GALA series, sponsored by Miami Downtown Development Authority. KORBEL Awards Night Party at The Historic Alfred I. Dupont Building will follow the Awards Night ceremony and screening.

Academy Award winning filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) and revered American screenwriter and director Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, Affliction) will attend the Festival for Marquee presentations of their newest films. The Festival’s Marquee series features screenings accompanied by on-stage conversations with major film personalities of the moment, discussing their career and sharing an exciting new work. Hazanavicius will present Godard Mon Amour, his serio-comic look at Jean-Luc Godard’s love affair with the actress Anne Wiazemsky during the shooting of his classic films La Chinoise and Weekend.  Schrader will present First Reformed, a dramatic thriller starring Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried and Cedric The Entertainer. They join (previously announced) Mateo Gil and Jean-Marc Barr in the Marquee section.

The Festival’s specialty programmers are Carl Spence, Thom Powers, Kiva Reardon, Lauren Cohen and Diana Cadavid.

Ten finalists were selected for the Festival’s signature $40,000 Knight Competition, open to feature films directed by filmmakers who have presented at least one feature in a previous edition of the Festival, sponsored by the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation. Three of these films will also screen as CINEDWNTWN GALAS at the Olympia Theater, sponsored by Miami DDA. The finalists are:

  1. Another Story of the World (Uruguay, directed by Guillermo Casanova).
  2. April’s Daughter (Mexico, directed by Michel Franco).
  3. In Love & In Hate (Argentina, directed by Alejandro Maci). *CINEDWNTWN GALA
  4. The Laws of Thermodynamics (Spain, directed by Mateo Gil). *WORLD PREMIERE
  5. My Love or My Passion(Argentina, directed by Marcos Carnevale). *CINEDWNTWN GALA
  6. Sergio and Sergei (Cuba/Spain, directed by Ernesto Daranás).
  7. A Sort of Family (Argentina, directed by Diego Lerman).
  8. The Summit (Argentina/Spain, directed by Santiago Mitre). *CINEDWNTWN GALA
  9. Time Share (Mexico, directed by Sebastián Hofmann).
  10. The Warning (Spain, directed by Daniel Calparsoro).

Eleven finalists were selected for the Festival’s inaugural $10,000 Knight Made in MIA Competitionsponsored by Knight Foundation, which is open to any film – short or feature, documentary or narrative – in the Festival’s Official Selection that features a qualitatively/quantitatively substantial portion of its content (story, setting and actual filming location) in South Florida, from West Palm Beach to the Florida Keys, and that most universally demonstrates a common ground of pride, emotion, and faith for the South Florida community. The new award was inspired by the international success and 2017 Best Picture Oscar win by the Miami-set Moonlight, directed by former Miami resident Barry Jenkins and co-written by Tarell McCraney. The finalists are:

  1. “#THECONNECTEDMAN”, directed by Fabián Cárdenas.
  2. “Ayita’s Dream”, directed by Isis Masoud, Roger Ingraham.
  3. “Fight Like a Girl”, directed by Agustín Gonzalez, Nicole Wulf.
  4. Gladesmen: The Last of The Sawgrass Cowboys, directed by David Abel.
  5. Latinegras: The Journey of Self-Love Through An Afrolatina Lens, directed by Omilani Alarcón. *WORLD PREMIERE
  6. Love in Youth, directed by Quincy Perkins. *WORLD PREMIERE
  7. Make Love Great Again, directed by Aaron Agrasanchez.
  8. “Noa”, directed by Angel Barrota. *WORLD PREMIERE
  9. Operation Odessa, directed by Tiller Russell.
  10. “Roadside Attraction”, directed by Ivette Lucas, Patrick Bresnan.
  11. Supermarket”, directed by Rhonda Mitrani. *WORLD PREMIERE
Two significant Soiree nights will pair a major film event with one of Miami Film Festival’s world-famous parties. An Evening with Tim Clancy, the showrunner of HBO’s acclaimedVice series through six seasons, will present a big-screen return look at three significantVice episodes, followed by an in-depth, on-stage conversation about Vice’s Emmy Award-winning approach, philosophies and techniques. “HBO NIGHT” continues with a party at downtown Miami’s newest hotspot, The WharfGreg Berlanti’s Love, Simon will have its Festival premiere at the Regal Cinemas South Beach and continue with a Light Box Love Story soiree at Miami Light Project’s Goldman Warehouse in Wynwood.

The fiercely-contested, audience-voted $10,000 Knight Documentary Achievement Award, sponsored by Knight Foundation, returns with 24 finalists, including 4 world premieres, and new films from Oscar winner Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom), Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond, In America), Goya winners Félix Viscarret and Gustavo Salmerón, Emmy winner Rene Balcer (Law & Order), Sundance 2018 prize winners Tim Wardle and Maxim Pozdorovkin, Pulitzer Prize winning journalistDavid Abel and the late Oscar winner Jonathan Demme, as executive producer on The Foreigner’s Home. Subjects featured in the films include Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Edwidge Danticat, Toni MorrisonMr. RogersAndre Agassi, Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds in the Live Nation production Believer, Cuban-America playwright María Irene Fornés and Miami’s Rene Lecour. The finalists are:

  1. 6 Weeks To Mother’s Day (USA, directed by Marvin Blunte).
  2. Above The Drowning Sea (Canada, directed by Rene Balcer, Nicola Zavaglia).
  3. Amigo Skate, Cuba (USA, directed by Vanesa Wilkey-Escobar). *WORLD PREMIERE
  4. Believer (USA, directed by Don Argott).
  5. Cuban Food Stories (USA, directed by Asori Soto).
  6. Dolphin Man (Greece/Canada/France/Japan, directed by Lefteris Charitos).
  7. Foreign Land (Israel, directed by Shlomi Eldar).
  8. The Foreigner’s Home (USA/France, directed by Rian Brown, Geoff Pingree).
  9. Gladesmen: The Last of The Sawgrass Cowboys (USA, directed by David Abel).
  10. In Search of Voodoo: Roots To Heaven (USA/Benin, directed by Djimon Hounsou). *WORLD PREMIERE
  11. Liyana (USA/Qatar/Swaziland, directed by Aaron Kopp, Amanda Kopp).
  12. Lots of Kids, A Monkey and a Castle (Spain, directed by Gustavo Salmerón).
  13. Love Means Zero (USA, directed by Jason Kohn).
  14. The Music of the Spheres (Cuba/USA, directed by Marcel Beltrán). *WORLD PREMIERE
  15. Nuyorican Basquet (Puerto Rico, directed by Julio César Torres, Ricardo Olivero Lora).
  16. The Oldies (Cuba/USA/Venezuela, directed by Rosana Matecki).
  17. Operation Odessa (USA, directed by Tiller Russell).
  18. Our New President (USA, directed by Maxim Pozdorovkin).
  19. RBG (USA, directed by Betsy West, Julie Cohen).
  20. The Rest I Make Up (USA, directed by Michelle Memran).
  21. Saura(s) (Spain, directed by Félix Viscarret).
  22. Three Identical Strangers (USA, directed by Tim Wardle).
  23. When The Beat Drops (USA, directed by Jamal Sims). *WORLD PREMIERE
  24. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (USA, directed by Morgan Neville).

HBO returns as sponsor of the Festival’s $10,000 Ibero-American Feature Film Competition, this year featuring 25 finalists, including three world premieres. Three of the films in this section star Argentine actress Dolores Fonzi, prompting Festival organizers to declare Monday, March 12th “DOLORES FONZI DAY” at Miami Film Festival. The finalists are:

  1. Al Berto (Portugal, directed by Vicente Alves do Ó).
  2. Another Story of the World (Uruguay, directed by Guillermo Casanova).
  3. April’s Daughter (Mexico, directed by Michel Franco).
  4. Ashes (Ecuador/Uruguay, directed by Juan Sebastián Jácome). *WORLD PREMIERE
  5. Bingo: The King of the Mornings (Brazil, directed by Daniel Rezende).
  6. Candelaria (Colombia/Cuba/Argentina/Germany/Norway, directed by Jhonny Hendrix-Hinestroza).
  7. Cocote (Dominican Republic, directed by Nelson Carlo de Los Santos Arias).
  8. The Eternal Feminine (Mexico, directed by Natalia Beristáin).
  9. The Future Ahead (Argentina, directed by Constanza Novick). *DOLORES FONZI DAY Film
  10. Hunting Season (Argentina/USA/Germany/France, directed by Natalia Garagiola).
  11. In Love & In Hate (Argentina, directed by Alejandro Maci). *CINEDWNTWN GALA
  12. Killing Jesus (Colombia/Argentina, directed by Laura Mora).
  13. La Familia (Venezuela/Chile/Norway, directed by Gustavo Rondón Córdova).
  14. The Last Suit (Argentina/Spain, directed by Pablo Solarz).
  15. The Laws of Thermodynamics (Spain, directed by Mateo Gil). *WORLD PREMIERE
  16. On The Seventh Day (USA, directed by Jim McKay).
  17. The River (Bolivia/Ecuador, directed by Juan Pablo Richter). *WORLD PREMIERE
  18. Sergio and Sergei (Cuba/Spain, directed by Ernesto Daranás).
  19. The Skin of the Wolf (Spain, directed by Samu Fuentes).
  20. A Sort of Family (Argentina, directed by Diego Lerman).
  21. The Summit (Argentina/Spain, directed by Santiago Mitre). *CINEDWNTWN GALA
  22. Tigre (Argentina, directed by Silvina Schnicer, Ulises Porra Guardiola).
  23. Time Share (Mexico, directed by Sebastián Hofmann).
  24. The Warning (Spain, directed by Daniel Calparsoro).
  25. Wind Traces (Mexico, directed by Jimena Montemayor Loyo). *DOLORES FONZI DAY Film
The highly sought-after $10,000 Jordan Ressler Screenwriting Award, won in recent years by Oscar nominated Theeb, Venice Golden Lion winner From Afar and Chilean world premiere launch Little White Lie, has 20 diverse and intriguing first-produced screenplays in competition. All but two of the finalists also directed his or her screenplay. The finalists are:

  1. Michael Pearce for Beast (UK).
  2. Cory Bowles for Black Cop (Canada).
  3. Taylor Allen, Andrew Logan for Chappaquiddick (USA).
  4. Nelson Carlo de Los Santos Arias for Cocote (Dominican Republic).
  5. Xavier Legrand for Custody (France).
  6. Feifei Wang for From Where We’ve Fallen (China).
  7. Constanza Novick for The Future Ahead (Argentina).
  8. Sonja Maria Kröner for The Garden (Germany).
  9. Lucien Bourjeily for Heaven Without People (Lebanon).
  10. Natalia Garagiola for Hunting Season (Argentina).
  11. Christian Papierniak for Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town (USA).
  12. Blake Jenner for Juvenile (USA).
  13. Quincy Perkins for Love in Youth (USA). *WORLD PREMIERE
  14. Molly McGlynn for Mary Goes Round (Canada).
  15. Ziyang Zhou for Old Beast (China).
  16. Juan Pablo Richter for The River (Bolivia/Ecuador). *WORLD PREMIERE
  17. Ana Urushadze for Scary Mother (Georgia).
  18. Samu Fuentes for The Skin of the Wolf (Spain).
  19. Silvina Schnicer for Tigre (Argentina).
  20. Hlynur Palmason for Winter Brothers (Denmark).

Seven finalists for the Festival’s $5,000 Zeno Mountain Award were announced at an earlier date.  A previously-announced Precious Gem Award for Miami-based independent producers Kevin Chinoy and Francesca Silvestri (The Florida Project) will be presented at the Awards Night Gala on March 17. Chinoy and Silvestri will lead a Producer’s Masterclass on March 15 at MDC’s Tower Theater Miami.

The 25 finalists for the Festival’s $2,500 IMDbPro Short Film Competition will be announced on Feb. 8.

Films showing out of competition include selections by Oscar-nominee Michaël R. Roskam (Bullhead), Oscar-nominee and Emmy-winner Armando Iannucci (In the Loop, HBO’s Veep), and a US premiere starring retired NFL veteran and South Florida resident, actor/producer Thomas Q. Jones (A Violent Man). The films are:

  1. Ali’s Wedding (Australia, directed by Jeffrey Walker).
  2. Darling (Denmark, directed by Birgitte Stærmose).
  3. The Death of Stalin (UK, directed by Armando Iannucci).
  4. “The Driver is Red” (USA, directed by Randall Christopher).
  5. Grace and Splendor (Panama/Dominican Republic, directed by Arturo Montenegro).
  6. The Journey (Iran/UK/France/Qatar/The Netherlands, directed by Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji).
  7. Kiss Me Not (Egypt, directed by Ahmed Amer).
  8. Life is a Bitch (Brazil, directed by Julia Rezende).
  9. Racer and the Jailbird (Belgium/France, directed by Michaël R. Roskam).
  10. Sollers Point (USA, directed by Matthew Porterfield).
  11. Three Peaks (Germany/Italy, directed by Jan Zabeil).
  12. Under The Tree (Iceland/Denmark/Poland/Germany, directed by Hafsteinn Gummar).
  13. A Violent Man (USA, directed by Matthew Berkowitz).
  14. Wajib (Palestine/France/Germany/Colombia/Norway/Qatar, directed byAnnemarie Jacir).
The Festival takes a special look at the Chinese film market this year in Cinema & China,sponsored by Beijing Hainabian Culture & Arts Development Corp and the Confucius Institute at Miami Dade College. This section features the Florida premiere of the Cannes Film Festival 2017’s Palme d’Or winner for Best Short Film, “A Gentle Night”, directed byYang Qui, and the documentary Above the Drowning Sea, a historical look at an amazing story of European Jews being safeguarded by Shanghai and Chinese diplomats during World War II.  A day-long symposium on the trends and markets will be held, in conjunction with the Festival screening of four Chinese-produced features:

  1. From Where We’ve Fallen, directed by Feifei Wang.
  2. Love Education, directed by Sylvia Chang.
  3. Old Beast, directed by Ziyang Zhou. *KEYNOTE FILM
  4. Walking Past The Future, directed by Li Ruijun.

The Festival’s exceedingly popular Reel Music section returns with five outstanding selections, including a world premiere from Panama and a feature about famed flamenco star Diego “El Cigala” as he explores the world of salsa in Cuba and beyond:

  1. Guaco: Semblanza (Venezuela, directed by Alberto Arvelo).
  2. I Tita, A Life of Tango (Argentina, directed by Teresa Constantini).
  3. Indestructible: The Soul of Salsa (Spain, directed by David Pareja).
  4. Me, My Father and the Cariocas: 70 Years of Music in Brazil (Brazil, directed by Lucia Verissimo).
  5. A Night of Calypso (Panama, directed by Fernando Muñoz). *WORLD PREMIERE

MIFFecito, the beloved Films for Families section, returns with four new feature films for film fans of all ages. This section includes Fishtronaut The Movie (Brazil), Home Team(Uruguay/Brazil/Argentina), Lila’s Book (Colombia/Uruguay) and Zombillenium(France/Belgium). An animated short film winner from MDC’s Miami Animation and Gaming International Complex 2017 MIA Animation Conference & Festival will also be shown in this section. 

South Florida’s college film students will again battle it out in Cinemaslam 2018.  The nine finalists include films from Center of Cinematography, Arts & Television’s Lidia Rosa Hernandez; Miami Dade College’s Armando Stephano Rivero, Robert Requejo Ramos, Christopher Foode and Fernando Dumas; and University of Miami’s Chantal Gabriel, Jorge Martinez and Vasisth Sukul.

The Festival’s parallel industry activities include a French film market sponsored byUnifrance, and a Producing in South Florida panel moderated by Kevin Sharpley.

The Festival will co-present three special events during this year’s event. A “From The Vault” of Todd Haynes’ classic Velvet Goldmine will be held on Sunday, March 11th in partnership with Flaming Classics. On Friday, March 16th, in partnership with The Black Lounge Series, a screening of In The Morning with filmmaker Nefertiti Nguvu in person. In celebration of the Festival’s Tribute to Carlos Saura, one of Saura’s greatest classics,Cría cuervos, will screen on Sunday, March 18th at Miami Beach Cinematheque.

Additional major sponsors of the Festival are American Airlines, Miami-Dade County, State of Florida, Telemundo, Viendomovies, FlixLatino, Stella Artois, Miami Herald Media Company, NBC, Brown-Forman, The Standard Hotel, Acción Cultural Española, Fringe Partners, Miami New Times, Telefilm Canada, Consulate General of Canada in Miami, TV5Monde USA, and Barton & Guestier. A complete list of the Festival’s sponsors is available at miamifilmfestival.com/sponsors-2018

The Festival is produced with the support of the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority.

Individual tickets for all Festival events will go on sale to the general public beginning Feb. 16. Festival members have the opportunity for pre-buy. For more information, visit miamifilmfestival.com or call 1-844-565-6433 (MIFF) or 305-237-FILM (3456).

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