Special Events (4)
Opening and Awards Night hold a special place in the Festival, as must-be-there events showcasing two honored films followed by extravagant parties. Join us in toasting the kickoff, and award winners, at the start and end of a fabulous 10 days!
(Opening Night Film) NORMAN: THE MODERATE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF A NEW YORK FIXER
Norman (Richard Gere) is a fixer. He lives to connect people. He always claims to “know a guy.” He ingratiates. Sometimes he irritates.
When Israeli Foreign Minister Eshel visits New York, Norman buys him outrageously expensive shoes and cements a gold-star connection. When Eshel later becomes Israel’s Prime Minister a scandal develops, and Norman, accustomed to flailing on high society’s periphery, suddenly finds himself precariously occupying its center.
Writer-director Joseph Cedar, whose Beaufort and Footnote garnered Oscar nods, has crafts a mysterious character study while brilliantly capturing a cloistered milieu. Norman’s astonishing cast includes Michael Sheen, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Steve Buscemi, but it’s Gere, never better, who draws us close and keeps us guessing.
Marquee Series (3)
Film screening accompanied by on-stage conversations with major film personalities of the moment, discussing their career and sharing an exciting new work.
Set within the milieu of Britian’s wartime film industry, this stirring and delightful new film from An Education director Lone Scherfig follows a screenwriter (Gemma Arterton) who experiences both an emotional blitzkrieg and unexpected liberation while shooting on location for the British Ministry of Information’s Film Division.
Based on the novel by Lissa Evans, Their Finest is deeply satisfying and utterly entertaining. It boasts a marvelous cast that includes Bill Nighy, Richard E. Grant and Jeremy Irons, yet its richest, subtlest, most moving performance comes from Arterton, who imbues her inspiring heroine with vulnerability and grace.
THE HISTORY OF LOVE
Based on American author Nicole Krauss’ bestseller, The History of Love is a sprawling saga of undaunted ardor and merciless twists of fate. Spanning decades and continents, the film’s central narrative begins in prewar Poland and follows Leo Gurski and Alma Mereminski, neighbours and sweethearts whose romance is thwarted by the rise of fascism. Before the war Alma is sent to America; after the war Leo tries to find her, oblivious to the surprises that await him.
Aided by a brilliant cast that includes Gemma Arterton and veteran actors Derek Jacobi and Elliott Gould, director Radu Mihăileanu deftly weaves the many threads of Krauss’ novel into a soaring epic that touches on the duties of Jewishness, literature and love.
AN EVENING WITH ROSSY DE PALMA
Join actress, musician, fashion icon and Almodóvar muse Rossy de Palma for a wild night of laughter, style, art and music—a night as unique as Rossy herself!
Rossy stars in Travelling Lady, Colombian-born artist Jessica Mitrani’s daring exploration into the pioneering spirit of Nellie Bly, the 19th century American journalist known for her record-breaking 72-day trip around the world, a journey that memorialized her as a woman ahead—and yet very much of—her time.
Mitrani will lead an onstage conversation about Rossy’s film career and the Travelling Lady project. A musical surprise and a screening will round out a perfectly eclectic, glamorous evening.
Soiree Series (5)
A memorable evening out, beginning with an inspiring and entertaining film, segueing into a fabulous party.
DUBFIRE: ABOVE GROUND LEVEL
Iranian-American Ali Shirazinia, aka Dubfire, is one half of the Grammy Award-winning duo known as Deep Dish and one of the most influential and innovative producer-DJs of our time. This documentary profile from Berlin-based directors Michael Koczynski and Mino Kodama traces Shirazinia’s wild journey from his Iranian childhood, which was thrown into turmoil by the 1979 Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War, to his emergence in the world of electronic dance music via the nightclubs of Washington, DC.
Featuring commentary from illustrious peers such David Guetta, Pete Tong, Paul Oakenfold and Ritchie Hawtin, Above Ground Level is an intimate and insightful look at one of the most dynamic forces in modern music.
A CHANGE OF HEART
Frustrated with the cards life has dealt him, Hank (Jim Belushi) is man whose circumstances have driven him to fear diversity, yet his Central Florida town is adhering less and less to the white, straight profile with which he’s comfortable. After suffering a heart attack, Hank’s life is saved by a transplant—but will Hank’s body accept a donation from a Puerto Rican drag queen?
Playing on both the literal and symbolic significance of that most treasured of organs, A Change of Heart conveys the sort of story America needs right now, reminds us that even the most hardened among us can learn to embrace difference, accept love, and move on with life.
LIPSTICK UNDER MY BURKHA
Gloriously audacious in its presentation of Indian women in all their complexity and sexuality, Alankrita Shrivastava’s high-spirited—and sometimes hilarious—second feature tracks its four heroines as they seek liberation from oppressive gender codes.
A young mother and secret saleswoman; a college student hiding her partying from her parents; a beautician who enjoys a healthy sex life with her boyfriend yet is condemned to a limpid arranged marriage; an older woman whose addiction to erotic fiction threatens to spill over into real life: the ladies in Lipstick Under My Burkha are each of them bursting with ideas and appetites that no social order can crush.
CineDwnTwn Galas (2)
Red carpet events featuring the year’s most compelling star-driven works be top-tier directors showcased at the historic Olympia Theater, presented by Downtown Development Authority of Miami.
LAST DAYS IN HAVANA
Miami favorite Fernando Pérez (Havana Suite) returns to the Festival with this story of two modern habaneros whose deepest desires steer them in very different directions. Middle-aged busboy Miguel dreams of leaving Havana for New York, but waits for a visa seems like it will never arrive. Diego, who is HIV-positive and in poor health, dreams only of staying alive. These men share a home, but while one lies low the other strives to stay open to whatever possibilities life still holds.
Last Days in Havana poignantly portrays lives lived in suspension—and the way waiting and hoping can alter how we inhabit the moment.
She took her stage name from Rita Hayworth’s titular siren in Charles Vidor’s noir classic, but she was born Miriam Alejandra Bianchi in Buenos Aires in 1961. The cumbia singer fans knew as Gilda gleamed in the spotlight far too briefly, but she had already lived a life as arduous as it was glamorous. I’m Gilda tells her astonishing, inspiring, ultimately tragic story.
Making the leap from documentaries to this sweeping bio-pic, Argentine filmmaker Lorena Muñoz takes us for a thrilling ride along the hard road this legendary vocalist took to make her dreams come true.
Special Culinary Events (2)
Sumptuous stories foodies will love, guaranteed to pique your appetite; paired with a delicious three-course film-inspired meal, at an outstanding local restaurant.
BIG EASY BRUNCH AT RIVER YACHT CLUB + SCREENING OF “ELLA BRENNAN: COMMANDING THE TABLE” AT TOWER THEATER
ELLA BRENNAN: COMMANDING THE TABLE (SCREENING ONLY)
Americans know Ella Brennan as the matriarch of the family behind Brennan’s and Commander’s Palace, an inspiring creator of New Orleans breakfasts and jazz brunches, a great proponent of Creole cuisine, and a pioneer in what would become the modern American food movement. But there’s a fascinating story beneath the glory, a biographical trajectory that swings between familial conflict and dazzling success.
Knight Competition (16)
A mesmerizing variety of powerful works from around the world, directed by filmmakers who have directed at least one previous Official Selection (feature) of the Festival. Films are eligible for Achievement awards totaling $40,000 in cash, courtesy of Knight Foundation.
THE LOST BROTHER
Unemployed and without purpose, Cetarti (Daniel Hendler)’s days seem blurred and interchangeable—until he learns that his mother and brother have been shot to death in Lapachito, a town in the north of Argentina. Roused from his sofa in Buenos Aires, Cetarti journeys to Lapachito in order to collect the life insurance. There he meets Duarte (Leonardo Sbaraglia), a local thug involved in kidnapping schemes and friend to the man who murdered Cetarti’s kin. A hugely precarious alliance is formed—one that drags Cetarti into ever-darker, unpredictable places.
This grittily absorbing new feature from Adrián Caetano draws us into an intricate web of mystery, crime and loyalty.
THE UNKNOWN GIRL
Late one night, the door buzzer rings at a medical clinic in Liege. Dr. Jenny Davin ignores it. The next morning Jenny learns that the caller was an unidentified young woman who has since died. Punctured with guilt, Jenny determines to discover who this woman was and how her short life came to its end.
The latest from Belgian maestros Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne showcases their distinctively dogged, deeply compassionate approach to storytelling while giving their familiar MO an ingenious genre twist. Think of The Unknown Girl as a social realist noir procedural. It will both tug at your heartstrings and keep you on the edge of your seat.
Genre maestro Álex de la Iglesia, whose My Big Night was last year’s Opening Night Film, returns to the Festival with this wicked little chamber thriller that will keep you on the edge of your stool.
The Bar focuses on a huddle of clients held hostage in their beloved local after an unseen gunman kills one of their peers. With the gunman threatening to liquidate anyone who leaves, the regulars try to determine the rationale behind their being targeted. As they do so, queasy secrets begin seeping out.
With its high-concept, The Bar echoes Hitchcock and Buñuel, not to mention Tony Scott and Larry Cohen. Its distinctive black humor, ingenious characterizations and manic style, however, are 100% pure de la Iglesia.
One needn’t be a cynic to recognize that a politician’s persona is very much a designed thing, the product of various minds—and various agendas. Martín Marchand, the titular character in Uruguayan director Daniel Hendler’s pitch-perfect political comedy, radiates charisma, intelligence and commitment—attributes that seem set to win Marchand his country’s highest office. But as his team of advisers and creatives assemble at his country home to devise campaign strategies, it appears that not everyone present agrees that a Marchand presidency is a foregone conclusion.
THAT THING CALLED LOVE
Camila must contend with long-stifled emotions when she learns the cemetery where her son’s ashes are kept has been condemned. Erika is on the cusp of leaving for Spain to start a new life with her daughter when a meeting with a client yields a startling surprise. Marlon and The Happy Girl are street performers whose makeup and costumes shield their troubled true identities.
This enchanting anthology film from Colombian writer-director Carlos César Arbeláez offers a trio of beguiling tales, each originating on Mother’s Day at the same Medellín coffee shop—each offering delight and catharsis in their disparate ratios.
SMOKE & MIRRORS
Set in the mid-1990s, this fact-based thriller recounts the story of Spanish banker, arms dealer and spy Francisco Paesa. Narrated by Jesus Camoes (José Coronado), whose complicity in the action constitutes a seductive mystery all its own, Smoke & Mirrors tracks Paesa (Eduard Fernandez) from his return to Madrid after years of exile to his involvement in a former police chief’s sprawling embezzlement operation to his elaborate program of revenge.
The latest from Goya-winning director Alberto Rodríguez (Marshland) is a dazzling saga of crime and duplicity that recalls Scorsese and Sorrentino while blazing a trail all its own.
SUCH IS LIFE IN THE TROPICS
Guayaquil is Ecuador’s populous city. It is also the most afflicted with class disparity. Such is Life in the Tropics focuses on a wealthy young man struggling to evict 250 families who have been squatting on the land he has inherited from his father. The appointed leader of the squatters is willing to negotiate—but can this high-tension conflict, so emblematic of the city’s fraught economic imbalances, be resolved without bloodshed?
At once an homage and a scalding social critique, the latest from Miami Film Festival veteran Sebastián Cordero (Cronicas, Pescador) portrays Guayaquil in all its colour and chaos.
SANTA & ANDRES
Set in 1983, the second feature from Cuban writer-director Carlos Lechuga (Melaza) chronicles an encounter between Andrés, a novelist ostracized for his “ideological problems” and his sexuality, and Santa, a woman charged with keeping this ostensibly dangerous dissident from disrupting a political event and gaining the attention of the foreign press.
Santa & Andrés is at once intimate and expansive, a chamber drama whose central action is a dialogue between two souls on either side of a profound cultural divide. Proximity inevitably prompts captive and warden to realize how much they have in common—and how completely the last six decades have affected the Cuban psyche.
MAY GOD SAVE US
Set in 2011, with a Papal visit looming and anti-austerity protests burgeoning, this intricate thriller from Rodrigo Sorogoyan—whose spare romance Stockholm screened here in 2014—combines genre thrills with searing social critique.
Someone is killing the pious old ladies of Madrid. The “true detectives” of May God Save Us are Alfaro, played by Almodóvar alumni Roberto Alamo, in the blistering performance that won him the Best Actor prize at the 2017 Goya Awards, and Velarde (the always-intense Antonio de la Torre, who recently did some killing himself in the recent Miami Film Festival hit Cannibal).
The closer Alfaro and Velarde get to capturing their killer, the more they realize how close that killer might be to home, and the psychological complexities begin to compound in very uncomfortable ways.
IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD
Oscar-shortlisted and winner of the Grand Jury Prize at 2016 Cannes Film Festival, the latest from French-Canadian enfant terrible Xavier Dolan chronicles an unusually fraught family reunion: after more than a decade away, a dramatist returns to his hometown to inform his kin of his impending death.
Deploying a characteristic battery of high-style cinema wizardry, Dolan balances verbal fireworks with probing close-ups and wry behavioral observation, drawing magnificent performances from the crème de la crème of French cinema—Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel, Léa Seydoux, Nathalie Baye—to tell a story of sadness, rage and, finally, unconditional love.
Bruno and his family leave their Santiago home for a three-month visit to France. Bruno’s cousin Martín is left in charge of the house and cat. The cat goes missing, which leads Martín to meet Pachi. A romance begins, albeit one based on false pretenses: Martín claims the house is his, and that he’s a father and divorcé. Martín invents a whole new life—but when happens when real life comes back from holiday?
Adapted from his own story by author Alejandro Zambra, Family Life is the inspired collaboration of directors Alicia Scherson—whose Play and Il futuro played the Festival—and Cristián Jiménez, whose Bonsái won two prizes at the Festival and was also adapted by Zambra from his eponymous novel.
Suffering from a secret terminal illness, Fernando (Julio Chávez) decides to leave urban life behind, setting out in a sailboat to find whatever solace remains available to him in nature. Fernando’s solitude is compromised, however, by his unexpected encounter with Carla (Pilar Gamboa), a young woman pursued by authorities for a crime she did not commit.
The latest from Argentine director Matías Lucchesi echoes the bucolic setting and intergenerational dynamics of his feature debut, Natural Sciences, while introducing a quicker pulse and greater urgency into his repertoire. Instead of a burden, Carla’s desperate situation becomes a sort of gift for Fernando, an opportunity for him to feel meaningfully alive and in human communion one last time.
When his income as a fisherman proves woefully insufficient to cover his son’s school fees, Kevin turns to human smuggling in order to raise desperately needed funds. Kevin finds that he’s good at this dangerous yet profitable vocation—good enough to trust himself with smuggling his own girlfriend and her son to the US. But when faced with having to abandon refugees at sea far from Miami shores, Kevin is suddenly forced to reassess his responsibilities.
Inspired by true events, Cargo examines the world’s refugee crisis from a very local perspective. The largest Bahamian film project to date, this latest feature from Kareem J. Mortimer is a thrilling, vital call for empathy in troubled times.
THE EMPTY BOX
Due to his health condition, Toussaint, a 60 year old Haitian native, goes to live with Jazmin, his 30 year old daughter in Mexico City. Toussaint is a man who wasn’t able to take root in any of the places he lived. He was not a loving father and he is a complete stranger to Jazmín. Through this compelled cohabitation, Toussaint will put together the puzzle of his past with his remaining memories and Jazmín will be able to forgive and move on with her own life.
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THE NIGHT MY MOTHER KILLED MY FATHER
Actress Isabel (The Orphanage’s Belén Rueda) has just turned 40 and is despairing over her failure to launch. At her country home she assembles her screenwriter beau, a boozing producer and an Argentine comic to concoct that elusive star vehicle. Unexpected guests arrive, among them Isabel’s ex—who winds up dropping dead after ingesting dessert. Whodunnit? Come see!
Spanish director Inés París delighted Miami audiences with her 2007 comedy, Miguel and William. She returns to the Festival in peak form with this unpredictable screwball murder-mystery. Fair warning: you might die of laughter.
DON’T BLAME IT ON YOUR KARMA!
Karma can play tricks on you when you least expect it. In the case of Madrid-based fashion designer Sara, everything should have been perfect as she anticipates the return of her boyfriend after a year abroad. But with only a week before the reunion, Sara’s life goes bananas: her parents announce their divorce and her little sister gets engaged to famous musician (played by Festival favorite Alex Garcia) —who just happens to be Sara’s high-school crush.
Based on the eponymous bestselling novel by Laura Norton, the latest from Spanish director Maria Ripollis a careening comedy of manners and mania.
Knight Documentary Achievement Award (24)
Candid, thought-provoking feature-length documentaries examining social issues, diverse cultures and influential people compete for an audience-voted $10,000 cash achievement award, courtesy of Knight Foundation.
Bending the Arc
As we in the world’s wealthiest countries continue to negotiate access to health care, this rigorously researched documentary charts the trials and triumphs of Partners in Health, a project that has saved millions of lives in some of the world’s poorest countries over the last four decades.
Harvard medical physician Paul Farmer, physician Jim Yong Kim, and activist Ophelia Dahl began their quest for global health equity in Haiti in the 1980s; since then they have worked arduously in such regions as TB-stricken Peru and Ebola-afflicted Rwanda. Innovating not only in terms of immediate relief, but also in long-term education and community building, Partners in Health serves as an inspiration for us all.
WALK WITH ME: THE TRIALS OF DAMON J. KEITH
The career of Damon Jerome Keith is among the most remarkable in the annals of American justice. This unconventional, Detroit-born judge was once a janitor, and his personal struggles, like several of his high-profile rulings, resonate with our ongoing conversation about civil rights.
Walk With Me focuses on four highly fraught cases that appeared on Keith’s docket, all of which concerned discriminatory practices within the realms of housing, education, employment and law enforcement. Keith’s decisions placed him in precarious opposition to angry crowds, corporate America, the KKK and a certain former President. Keith’s life and work, which, now more than ever, deserves to be reckoned with—and celebrated.
Attorney-turned-filmmaker David Feige’s feature documentary debut is a challenging investigation into a profound legal mire. The term “sex offence” applies to a broad range of infractions, from child-rape to sexting, and yet “sex offender” is a scarlet letter that can make ordinary life impossible for those who bear it, even after being ostensibly reformed.
Featuring the horrifying case of South Florida lobbyist Ron Book and his daughter Lauren, who founded Lauren’s Kids and is now a Florida state senator, Untouchable explores all sides of this hot-button issue. Feige urges us not to simplify a complex subject, to look closely at the pariahs we create and what we consider to be genuine justice.
The tremendous anxieties that underlie struggles with fertility and the decision to seek medical intervention are given an inquisitive, empathetic voice in Oscar-nominated director Amanda Micheli’s new documentary. Profiling contestants in an annual video contest to receive free in-vitro fertilization treatments—which can cost as much as $20,000 and which have a success rate average of 30%—Micheli uncovers a peculiar world in which women’s desperation to conceive is regarded as material for a reality show. But the heart of haveababy lies in Micheli’s interactions with the contest’s finalists, who speak with affecting openness about their dreams, disappointments and diverse reasons for wanting children to begin with.
VOICES BEYOND THE WALL: TWELVE LOVE POEMS FROM THE MURDER CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
Over the last quarter-century, in a bunker-like building in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, 70 girls ranging in age from one to 18 have found refuge from poverty and violence. Our Little Roses is Honduras’ only orphanage for girls. Its charges are looked after by a devoted staff who supply food, shelter, medical attention and nurturing care.
The debut documentary from filmmaker Brad Coley is a moving, eye-opening tribute to the courageous work performed at Our Little Roses. Voice Beyond the Wall tracks the long and difficult process of recovering from trauma, healing deep wounds and preparing for a better future.
Some offers really are too good to be true. In 2015, 68 Nepalese and Indians students learned this lesson the hard way. Each paid $10,000 to study at an American institution calling itself Lambirds Academy. Lambirds promised eight months of education, a work visa and a guaranteed job on a cruise ship. When the students arrived at Lambirds’ campus on the Caribbean isle of St. Lucia, they found nothing but an empty room above a grocery store. They were left stranded, broke and homeless, with their passports confiscated.
Fini Maza’s documentary recounts the story of these ruthlessly scammed students as they struggle to redeem their investment—and their dreams.
THE CAT FROM HAVANA
To this day, Havana remains that rare city where music-lovers can still wander into a small club and, for a nominal fee, witness some of the world’s most vibrant sounds being generated by some of its greatest talents. Perhaps the most illustrious of all Havana’s clubs is Gato Tuerto, now in its sixth decade of existence. Its stage is small but has hosted giants, among them Omara Portuondo, Pablo Milanés and Chucho Valdés, while around its tables have sat the likes of Gabriel García Márquez and Julio Cortázar.
Dacio Malta’s documentary chronicles the long, fascinating story of Gato Tuerto in all its bohemian glamor and creative bliss.
SYMPHONY IN D
This soaring documentary from Dennis Scholl and Miami native Marlon Johnson—whose Deep City: The Birth of the Miami Sound world premiered at the Festival in 2014—tracks the highly unusual and inspired collaboration between Pulitzer Prize-nominated musician Tod Machover and the people of Detroit.
Machover received over 15,000 individual contributions; bars of music, but also field recordings capturing the everyday sounds of the city. Over 13 months Machover assembles the material and shapes it into a symphony for the Motor City, to be performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Slatkin and accompanied by Detroit citizens. Symphony in D is the awe-inspiring profile of this unique celebration of a great American metropolis.
SEX, MARACAS & CHIHUAHUAS
This joyous documentary profile from director Diego Mas Trelles chronicles the colorful life of Xavier Cugat (1900-1990), the Spanish-born, Cuban-bred “Rhumba King” who was instrumental in bringing Latin music to American ears—and dancing feet.
Featuring extracts from Cugat’s numerous Hollywood screen appearances while paying tribute to his years of work in radio and in countless casinos, hotel ballrooms and nightclubs—including the legendary Coconut Grove—Sex, Maracas and Chihuahuas tells an incredible story of hard work and wild times, of romance, gangsters and opulence, and of glorious, infectious, beautiful music.
RESTLESS CREATURE: WENDY WHELAN
This elegant, transporting film offers an intimate portrait of prima ballerina Wendy Whelan on the occasion of her departure from New York City Ballet following a record-setting three decades with the company. Restless Creature opens to find Whelan 46-years-old and struggling with a painful injury. From here we step back and forth in time, to revisit Whelan’s Kentucky roots and witness her new collaboration with young choreographers to create an exquisite quartet of vignettes.
Co-directed by Linda Saffire and Adam Schlesinger, Restless Creature profiles an artist undergoing great change, asking fundamental questions about creativity, identity, longevity and self-worth. Through it all, Whelan is frank, articulate, inspiring and very much alive and restless.
SERENADE FOR HAITI
At Sainte Trinité Music School in Port-au-Prince, children use classical music to channel their creativity and nurture their sense of empowerment. School director Father David César has extended music education throughout the island, and, even after unimaginable disaster strikes, César, his faculty and students refuse to let Sainte Trinité’s legacy come to an end.
Filmmaker Owsley Brown began documenting the school long before Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake and he continued to follow its fate over several years of rebuilding. Serenade for Haiti captures the resilience and talent of this widely misunderstood country, and the soundtrack highlights outstanding Haitian composers who are largely unknown to international audiences.
NOBODY SPEAK: HULK HOGAN, GAWKER AND TRIALS OF A FREE PRESS
When Hulk Hogan sued Gawker in a Florida state court for releasing a sex tape, it opened a can of worms concerning the limits of the First Amendment. Hogan’s case was funded by Silicon Valley libertarian Peter Thiel, who had his own vendetta against Gawker. Filmmaker Brian Knappenberger digs deep into this case and others to reveal a burgeoning battle over free speech in America.
Besides Hogan’s case, Nobody Speak also looks at casino owner Sheldon Adelson’s purchase of the Las Vegas Review-Journal to influence its coverage. For billionaires who want to shape the media according to their wishes, money is no object. For the rest of us, this film is a bracing wake-up call.
LOVE AND SAUCERS
Whenever life on Earth seems too dire, or simply too limiting to our imaginations, many of us look to the heavens for solace, sensing that somewhere out there, just maybe, another creature is looking back at us. Brad Abrahams’ new documentary introduces us to someone unusually invested in that vision of intelligent life on distant planets. David Huggins claims to have made contact repeatedly over the course of his 72 years—including the closest encounter of all: an interspecies romance.
Wondrous, fun and respectful, Love and Saucers lets Huggins tell his story without shame, and display his collection of surreal paintings documenting his astonishing experiences.
GIVE ME FUTURE
Major Lazer is a major force in the world of electronic dancehall. In 2015, riding the wave of their hit “Leon On,” the EDM supergroup undertook a world tour with a stop in Havana, a destination few international acts have had permission or, given its infrastructural issues, inclination to perform. The show was a gamble—but 500,000 habaneros turned up for what turned out to be a history-making event.
Fun, fascinating and inspirational, Give Me Future exudes Major Lazer’s motto: “Making the world smaller by making the party bigger.” Director Austin Peters captures the concert while seizing glimpses of a great city in a moment of dizzying transition.
Dream Empire follows Yana, an ambitious young woman who leaves her rural home to pursue the fabled Chinese Dream in Chongqing’s thriving real estate market. Yana opens an agency designed to aid Chinese developers in reaching foreign investors, but she soon discovers that her clients’ expectations—not to mention economic realities—may prove too tumultuous for her dream to weather.
Filmed over several years, Miami-native director David Borenstein’s incisive documentary dissects the chaotic, reckless, often mind-boggling world of the globalized real estate market, showing its merciless effects not only in the abstract, but also on the life of a single, hugely determined individual.
CITIZEN JANE: BATTLE FOR THE CITY
The late, great Jane Jacobs, author of the seminal The Death and Life of Great American Cities, helped change the way we look at urban living. In the 1960s she led a citizens’ movement against ruthless developer Robert Moses, who wanted to build a highway through the New York City neighborhoods of Little Italy, SoHo and Greenwich Village. The battle against Moses saved those neighborhoods and serves as a model for standing up to powerful bullies and defending minority communities.
Citizen Jane’s Matt Tyrnauer previously directed Valentino: The Last Emperor—the Festival’s 2009 opening night film—and has spent the last two years working on a Miami-based project.
Sixteen year old Juan Carlos ran away from an abusive home and lived on the streets of Mexico City for years before finding his way to IPODERAC, a unique group home and social enterprise located in Puebla, MX. IPODERAC is defined by a strong sense of brotherhood and sustained by the sale of artisanal goat cheese.
Visitor’s Day is an observational documentary that follows Juan Carlos throughout the most transformative year of his life, as he finds the strength to return to Mexico City to overcome his sense of abandonment and forgive his father for the past. Along the way we watch other boys overcome their own obstacles with the support of the extraordinary staff at Ipoderac.
TAKE MY NOSE… PLEASE!
Take My Nose…Please! is a seriously funny and surprisingly moving look at the role comedy has played in exposing the pressures on women in contemporary society to be attractive, and our deeply ambivalent attitude toward aesthetic surgery. The film follows two comedians, Emily Askin, an improv performer in Pittsburgh, and Jackie Hoffman, a seasoned comic actress, celebrated for her ‘funny face,’ as they contemplate having surgery and its possible impact on their careers, relationships, and self-regard. Intercut with these personal stories are those of iconic comedians–from Fanny Brice, to Phyllis Diller, Totie Fields and Joan Rivers, among others–who have spoken honestly about their surgical makeovers, while their colleagues in dramatic roles have remained steadfastly silent. Putting it all in perspective are surgeons, sociologists, historians, cultural critics, and fellow comics who contribute surprising insight. Will it hurt? Only when you laugh.
The subjects of Maite Alberdi’s documentary are four middle-aged students at a Chilean school for Down’s Syndrome children. The quartet studies and works in their catering department, but to what end? This winsome, opinionated group feels ready for a life of greater autonomy, yet financial independence is elusive in a system that marginalizes them as disabled. Those who caught Tea Time at the 2015 Festival know Alberdi’s capacity for generating tremendous charisma, but Grown-ups’ infectious warmth is balanced with indignation over its subjects’ dearth of options. Grown-ups doesn’t dismiss the innate challenges faced by those with Down’s Syndrome; rather, it merely urges us to consider their desires and abilities on a case-by-case basis.
LEAGUE OF EXOTIQUE DANCERS
Sassy and empowering, Rama Rau’s League of Exotique Dancers offers both front-row seats and a backstage pass to Legends of Burlesque, an annual extravaganza hosted by Las Vegas’ Burlesque Hall of Fame. We’re introduced to veterans like Gina Bon Bon, Camille 2000 and Marinka, Queen of the Amazons, all of them in their 60s or 70s, preparing to present their vintage vamps from the pre-pole-dancing era.
Ten years after retirement from a career as a professional athlete, Kenny Anderson finds that basketball is easy, it’s life that’s hard. Still reeling from his mother’s death, the former New York City high-school prodigy and NBA All-Star loses a cherished coaching position, sending him into a midlife crisis. Facing his personal demons head-on, the charismatic Anderson must come to terms with his past in order to find a way forward.
Embargo chronicles the story of the politics and collusion behind the Cuban embargo; its history, impact and evolution. Along with information from recently declassified documents and original interviews with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Sergei Khrushchev, Ted Sorensen, and Lucie Arnaz—among others—an unprecedented array of historical political, social and cultural perspectives are revealed dating back before the 1959 Cuban revolution that catapulted Castro to power, and led to the failed CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion and 1962’s Cuban Missile Crisis.
A CONCRETE CINEMA
Omar is a humble bricklayer, fragile-looking, thin and ungraceful. He began to build a movie theatre above his home, all by himself and without telling anyone. It took him four years. He opened the cinema with a projector from 1928, got the seats from the old village cinema and set up the screen painting a canvas that his wife helped him hang. This room became his refuge.
After 10 years of trying to keep it running, his brothers decided to sell the land where Omar’s house and theatre were. He had to move.
Omar did not give up and started again. Like an ant, slowly and quietly.
HBO Ibero American Competition (11)
Open to all Ibero-American films in the Official Selection, competing for a jury-selected cash Achievement Award of $10,000, courtesy of HBO.
Most of us have had moments where we have felt ourselves to be prisoners of love. This ingeniously conceived feature from the Dominican Republic’s José María Cabral, meanwhile, explores the possibility of finding love in an actual prison.
Julián is an inmate with a rather peculiar task. At the risk of engendering harsh punishment, Julián communicates across gender-restricted prison yards with Yanelly, having been hired by her ex-husband to act as a messenger. Julián and Yanelly innovate their own form of sign language, which they call “woodpecking.” As they peck away at each other from an otherwise unbridgeable divide, the two fall in love, sparking a precarious secret romance in the face of unusually forbidding odds.
A gorgeous and moving trilogy of migration and loss, X500 follows Maria, a Filipino woman recently transplanted to Montreal, David, a man from the countryside who moves to Mexico City, and Alex, a Colombian fisherman unable to disentangle his business from the criminals that control commerce in his region.
This second feature from Colombia’s Juan Andrés Arango (La Playa DC) dexterously navigates its trio of narrative threads, which unfold in such different worlds and yet are unified by aspiration, violence and personal transformation. X500 is an ambitious work of curiosity and compassion. Arango acknowledges the legitimacy of his characters’ fears, while still angling for hope.
Miguel (Javier Mendo) is only 14, but has already taken on countless responsibilities. His mother, Carmen, is unemployed and emotionally unstable, so Miguel does the housework, sells what he can and shoplifts when he has to. When social services comes calling, Miguel, preferring freedom at all costs to state assistance, flees. He winds up staying with Carmen’s ex and befriends the proprietor of a bar. Meanwhile, Carmen has disappeared.
Anchored in a heartrending, brave, seemingly artless performance from Mendo, this third fiction feature from Spain’s Alberto Morais is an arresting drama about youth in peril and the vagaries of a family in which traditional roles have become unnervingly blurred.
Gustavo (Brontis Jodorowsky) and his three children live alone in a fog-shrouded wood. There are allusions to some recent apocalypse. Twilight seems permanent here, prompting Gustavo to carefully shutter out all light from their home when it is time to sleep. But there are more troubling things than the midnight penumbra, such as 12-year-old Argel’s strange dreams—or an apparent haunting.
The second film in Daniel Castro Zimbrón’s trilogy of light, shot by the gifted cinematographer Diego García (Neon Bull, Cemetery of Splendor) is a stunning work of primal fear and atmosphere, drawing us into the darkness, just as it reminds us why we are instinctively afraid of it.
THE DEATH OF MARGA MAIER
We are in a remote town somewhere very far from the Argentina we know. In the wake of a carnival parade the river washes a corpse onto the shore. A crime has been committed, a mystery blossoms to life, and the legend of mythical cursed diamond is tantalizingly revived.
Shot on location in Punta Indio, the latest from director Camila Toker (Upa! An Argentinian Movie) combines elements of the thriller and the western to relay an intricate, timeless, darkly seductive detective story set in a strange and lonely place.
THE BLIND CHRIST
Ever since he was a child Michael (Michael Silva) has known that God speaks directly to him. Traversing across Chile’s Pampa del Tamarugal barefoot, Michael searches for a friend who has been injured in a mining accident. Michael is ready to perform his first miracle.
It is, of course, what happens along the way to this miracle that occupies much of Christopher Murray’s new film and makes it so fascinating. A weave of fiction and documentary—Silva is the sole professional actor in the sprawling cast—The Blind Christ is a sort of spiritual travelogue, a stirring survey of faith in all its diverse forms.
MONDAY NIGHTS AT SEVEN
This second feature from multi-hyphenate Marty Sader merges fiction and real-life, un-choreographed events to tell the story of Persian-American Lazo (Sader), a damaged single father clinging to his past, and Isabel (Vanessa Cure), a young Hispanic woman whose own troubled history mirrors that of Lazo. Together, they have a shot at determining a new, better future.
With an inspired supporting cast that includes UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and the legendary Edward James Olmos (who also produced the film), Sader has sculpted a visceral, soul-stirring work of neorealism about forging ahead by staying true to one’s dreams.
In October 1988, 14 men were murdered by the Venezuelan military in El Amparo, a village near the Arauca River. The victims were fishermen, but the military claimed they were guerilla fighters. This painful atrocity and its tumultuous aftermath are the subject of Robert Calzadilla’s haunting first feature.
Based on a play by Calzadilla and scriptwriter Karin Valecillos, El Amparo invests much time in its characters, their relationships and way of life, while, in a masterstroke of directorial judiciousness, the massacre itself is elided, its horrors left to our imagination. This is a profound meditation on how communities contend with outrage and grief, and the troubling question of who gets to control historical truth.
MARIA (AND EVERYBODY ELSE)
Since her mother died, María has taken care of her dad and her brothers. Responsible and controlling, she has always been the pillar of the family and feels proud about it. When his father announces his marriage with Cachita, his kind nurse, María feels her world fall apart. It’s time to dare to live her own life.
Jordan Ressler Screenwriting Competition (13)
Screenwriters from all feature films in the Festival that have a first-produced feature screenwriter credited, compete for a jury-selected cash prize of $10,000, courtesy of the family of the late Jordan Alexander Ressler.
Little White Lie
In an age where fact-based news has become increasingly compromised by social media, counter-knowledge and the cult of personality, this feature debut from rapper, deejay and director Tomás Alzamora feels piercingly del momento.
The protagonist of Little White Lie is a journalist struggling to maintain a career in a small Chilean town. Worrying that he’s on the verge of losing his job, he fabricates a story—a “little white lie”—that turns into a very big deal, transforming him into a hugely popular local celebrity. Should our humble hero confess his peccadillo or sacrifice his integrity at the altar of fame? Find out in one of the wittiest debuts of this or any other year.
Land surveyor Eric, alienated from urban existence and those who love him, travels to a remote and unnamed Irish woodland to assess its suitability for a dubious development project. Intangible elements are at play in this ethereal environment. The place seems to be imbued by an intelligence of sorts. A silhouette flits between trees. The place fascinates the fragmenting Eric as much as it disturbs him. Following in the psychonautic footsteps of the mysterious Devoy, Eric attempts to communicate with his surroundings, but risks becoming a prisoner of a place Without Name.
Ladji lives hand-to-mouth selling bus tickets on the streets of Bamako. With no opportunity for advancement, Ladji decides to take on a more profitable—and far more precarious—vocation. Ladji finds fast success as a drug trafficker, but with that success comes uneasy alliances with the upper echelons of the underworld, Mali’s military, and even Al-Qaeda.
An inspired fusion of fact and fiction, Stéphanie di Giusto’s debut takes as its subject the life and work of the underappreciated American dancer Loïe Fuller. The Dancer follows Fuller (alluringly portrayed by the singer Soko) as she makes her way from America to Belle époque Europe, where her innovations in movement, costume and lighting dazzle audiences and bring her into contact—and some friction—with the likes of Isadora Duncan (played by Lily-Rose Depp).
Based on Giovanni Lista’s novel about Fuller, The Dancer is a bio-pic buoyed with conjecture—which is another way of saying that this is history transformed into rapturous, visually breathtaking cinema, reminding us of the legacy of one of America’s forgotten artistic pioneers.
THE ONE-EYED KING
David is a riot cop; he’s shot a bullet into the eyes of two protestors already this year. Lidia is David’s foodie wife; she’s invited their friend Sandra for dinner. Sandra brings along her boyfriend, Ignasi—who just happens to be wearing an eye-patch.
Based on his own play, Catalan writer-director Marc Crehuet’s feature debut synthesizes sundry aspects of post-financial crisis Spanish life into a wickedly comic satire. When Lidia walks out on him, David winds up soliciting advice from Ignasi—which he interprets as a prompt to kidnap a politician.
Rife with twists and resisting easy polemics, The One-Eyed King burns with ideas and savage dramatics.
THE SUMMER IS GONE
In Inner Mongolia in the early 1990s, 12-year-old Xiaolei looks forward to his long-awaited summer vacation, free of homework, with his father, who works at a film studio, and his education-minded mother. But life is rapidly changing, as stable jobs at state-owned companies disappear. His parents, seemingly calm in the blazing sunshine, seeth with inner anxiety. Xiaolei has a feeling that a revolution is quietly taking place.
Jeffrey is only 12-years-old, but he helps put food on his family’s table by working as a Santo Domingo windshield washer—and he helps feed his spirit by composing and recording music with his big brother Jeyson.
Director Yanillys Perez sensitively contrasts her loveable subject’s dreams of making it big as a reguetón singer with the complex reality of life on the streets of the Dominican Republic’s teeming capital, a place as marked by poverty as it is by beauty. Jeffrey is a tribute to the resilience of youthful aspiration even in the most daunting circumstances.
Handyman José lives with his family in La Soledad, a ramshackle villa located in what was once among Caracas’ most affluent neighborhoods. After learning that the villa’s owners are planning to sell the estate, José seeks any solution that might keep his six-year-old daughter from growing up in Caracas’ crime-sodden slums. Might that fabled treasure supposedly hidden in La Soledad’s walls offer José’s family a chance at a better life?
Jorge Thielen Armand’s feature debut carves fiction from reality: La Soledad was once his family’s home; this story is true, acted out by the people who lived it. La Soledad is a magnificent feat of real-life storytelling—and a profound fusion of creativity and compassion.
Among the various services that form the backdrop of life in Los Angeles, none is perhaps more simultaneously ubiquitous and invisible as the parking valet. Writer-director Heidi Saman’s feature debut smartly centers on one such figure, a young Egyptian-American who over the course of Namour gradually succumbs to a nervous breakdown.
ON THE ROOF
A pizzeria may seem a modest venture, but for the three enterprising habaneros at the center of Cuban filmmaker Patricia Ramos’ winsome feature debut, success in the pizza business holds the promise of prosperity, purpose and, just maybe, love and happiness.
A deliciously off-beat romantic comedy, On the Roof offers an impeccable balance of colloquial charm and universal appeal. Ramos and her excellent cast have crafted highly relatable characters with varying degrees of ambition, ingenuity and quirk. Some current Cuban films seek to correct sweeping social ailments; by contrast, Ramos and her collaborators understand that sometimes the world is changed one dream at a time.
Miami’s own Blake Jenner is the star, scenarist and co-producer of this absorbing drama about a disenfranchised young man’s struggle to balance the temptations of crime with his ambitions for a better future.
Billy Forsetti (Jenner) came of age with a dearth of prospects and an abundance of angst. Hi friends introduce him to the fast thrills and easy money of carjacking, while a budding romance plants in Billy’s mind the possibility of a different life, one grounded in love, faith and legit work.
Sensitively directed by Jenner’s Glee cohort Bradley Buecker, Billy Boy is a tale of youth in peril and a society that can’t afford to let its citizens slip between the cracks.
Stories can imbue our lives with meaning and order; they can also be our undoing. Fenton, a promising young writer, is reeling from the latter effect: he lost his girlfriend Jessie after The New Yorker published his thinly veiled story about her family. And when Fenton returns to New York after a year away he finds that time hasn’t healed the wound in his favour: Jessie is engaged to another man.
With its crack cast of newcomers and veterans—among them Chris Noth, Shiloh Fernandez and Mary-Louise Parker—Miami director Xavier Manrique’s feature debut navigates numerous emotional geometries with sophistication, wit and understated wisdom.
Canada 150 (4)
In recognition of Canada's 150th Anniversary of Confederation in 2017, the Festival will highlight Canada's internationally influential film culture, with the support of Consulate General of Canada in Miami and Telefilm Canada.
THE HEAD VANISHES
Jacqueline isn’t quite in her right mind anymore, but she’s determined to take the train to the seaside, as she does every summer. Only this year, she’s constantly being followed by some woman who claims to be her daughter, and the trip takes some unexpected, phantasmagorical turns.Franck Dion’s gentle, poetic film invites us to share the journey of an elderly woman living with degenerative dementia, as her confused mind leaves her open to danger.
Set upon the sprawling tundra of the Canadian Arctic, this entrancing new work from visionary filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk—whose Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner was recently voted the greatest Canadian film of all time—tracks a search led by an Inuk man for the marauders who pillaged his home and kidnapped his wife.
60 years after John Ford’s iconic The Searchers, Kunuk and his collaborators have crafted a companion piece that is both homage and a critique, a searing mediation on vengeance and the colonialist doctrine lodged deep in the heart of the western. Maliglutit is an astonishing spectacle, a thrilling story, an iconoclastic reassessment of genre, and a window into a world seldom seen at the movies.
I AM HERE
A mysterious traveller journeys across space and time in search of the origin of the universe, life, and God. Eventually finding himself alone in the dying light of an aging cosmos, he arrives at a devastating realization. Yet the world continues to spin.Through sharp modernist shapes and a riveting score by composer duo Menalon, I Am Here takes a curious and contemplative approach to dark and complex themes like the nature of time and consciousness. Directed by Oscar®-shortlisted animator Eoin Duffy and featuring the voice acting of Nicholas Campbell (Da Vinci’s Inquest, Goon), I Am Here is a thoughtful and open-ended exploration of existence itself.
A PARADISE TOO FAR
Following the death of their mother, Samuel and Emilie, two siblings with developmental disabilities, leave the safe harbor of their lifelong home. They set out for Matchi Manitou, the magical territory in northwestern Quebec where Emilie believes her mother’s soul was delivered. Samuel and Emilie’s is a journey at once geographical and spiritual—one that will test the limits of their resources and their relationship.
Weaving Cree and Anicinabe myths into a contemporary narrative about loss and regeneration, this fourth feature from Quebecois filmmaker Denis Langlois is an iconoclastic, heartfelt road movie that allows space for reality and fable to coalesce and arrive at a greater truth.
Cinema 360º (13)
A vibrant and dynamic selection of narrative works, from both accomplished and emerging filmmakers around the world, includes an international selection of dramas, comedies, suspense thrillers, and innovative docudramas.
WHAT’S LEFT OF MY LIFE
Everything is falling into place for Schimon. He has the career he always dreamed of, a wife he loves deeply, and a child on the way. Then disaster hits. Has everything fallen apart? Or is Schimon allowed to start anew?
German director Jens Wischnewski’s second feature is an honest examination of devastating loss that has the bravery to approach its topic with a life-affirming and comic spirit. The title What’s Left of My Life is both a question and a statement: Schimon survives catastrophe, slowly picks up the pieces and, just as importantly, leaves space in his life for the unexpected, whether good or bad.
Cannes Best Actor Award-winner Peter Mullan (My Name is Joe), multi-Golden Globe-nominee Sam Neill (Jurassic Park) and rising star Jack Lowden (’71) share the screen—and don some fetching kilts—in this exhilarating period drama about family, tradition, ambition and the transcending of seemingly fixed notions of caste.
Set in 19th century Scotland, Tommy’s Honour chronicles the true story of beloved caddie master Tom Morris (Mullan) and his son Tommy (Lowden), who dares to defy his station in life so as to fulfill his talent as a golfer. In the face of powerful naysayers, young Tommy risks everything to realize his goals, marry the woman he loves, and help elevate and popularize the game of golf.
THE DARK WIND
The Dark Wind begins with a couple’s happy engagement in a Shingal village—an event rapidly followed by a murderous ambush. The bride-to-be survives the attack but is kidnapped and trafficked. When she finally makes it back home, will she still be considered marriageable material?
ISIS’ campaign to exterminate the Yazidi—a Kurdish religious community whose roots date back to Mesopotamia—is at the heart of Hussein Hassan Ali’s second feature. But The Dark Wind does more than simply memorialize the 2014 Yazidi genocide; it is also a critique of cultural attitudes than span various parts of the Muslim world, particularly with regards to women. This is harsh, but also essential, viewing.
THE BLOOM OF YESTERDAY
Toto is an esteemed Holocaust scholar. He is also the grandson of a Nazi war criminal. While organizing a conference, Toto takes on an intern who’s the granddaughter of a Holocaust victim. After a rocky meet-cute, the two bond, speak candidly about their familial legacies, and stumble toward romance. Which may or may not be a problem for the married—yet ostensibly impotent—Toto.
Chris Kraus’ audacious The Bloom of Yesterday wrings comedy from unfathomable atrocity. Yet the film’s lightness allows its inherent gravity to settle fully once we apprehend its true message: that every generation must find its own path to reckoning with the daunting shadows of history.
We know we can’t live forever. It’s part of what drives us to have kids, build monuments, leave legacies. We hope to remain, somehow, after we’ve passed.
Such concerns weigh heavily on the mind of Marc, a successful artist who heads his own advertising firm, and is deeply in love with the beautiful Naomi (Oona Chaplin). He’s recently learned he has inherited the same painful terminal illness that his father perished from. Shock is followed by sorrow, and then a denial instinct that will usher Marc into uncharted territory—a journey for which he will fall asleep and wake up in 2084.
Writer-director Mateo Gil is one of Spain’s most profoundly revelatory and uncommonly visceral filmmakers., Realive is his most visionary work yet.
Consumed with grief and infuriated by the Lausanne authorities’ inability to apprehend a suspect, Diane (Emmanuelle Devos) becomes convinced that a certain vintage mocha-colored Mercedes was the vehicle that killed her son in a hit-and-run; that Mercedes is owned by Evian beauty salon proprietor Marlene (Nathalie Baye). Diane poses as a potential buyer of the Mercedes so as to get close to Marlene and, when the moment is right, exact her revenge.
Showcasing the talents of two of France’s finest actresses—and utilizing Lac Leman, the lake that serves as a border between Switzerland and France, to great metaphoric effect—Moka is a riveting thriller driven by loss, suspicion and duplicity.
IN BED WITH VICTORIA
Victoria (Elle’s Virginie Efira) is a criminal lawyer and divorced mother tumbling into midlife crisis. She’s highly capable, smart and attractive, but sexual satisfaction is proving maddeningly elusive. At a wedding she reunites with a former client looking to be her intern and an old friend hoping to be her new client—he’s accused of stabbing his girlfriend.
In Bed With Victoria is at once smart and totally bananas: a chimpanzee that takes selfies is but one of this rom-com’s more outré supporting characters. French director Justine Triet’s follow-up to Age of Panic is knowing, inventive and refreshingly frank about female sexuality and neuroses.
HEAL THE LIVING
A teenaged boy goes on a road trip with friends to the sea. A woman learns that her health is worsening. The staff at a regional hospital valiantly endeavors to save lives. These disparate narrative threads will gradually weave into an absorbing whole in this third feature from the talented Ivorian director Katell Quillévéré.
Based on the Booker-long-listed novel by Maylis de Kerangal, Heal the Living is an intense yet elegantly crafted film, exploring the ways that strangers can come together in times of crisis and hope can emerge from the most despairing of situations.
An atomic bomb has been stolen; the highly skilled agents who were attempting to recover it have perished. Our only hope now lies in a team of, well, let’s just call them less-skilled agents. A secret elite corps is assembled from various regions of Spain, among them a Madrid traffic cop, an insufferable Catalonian, a Basque brute, and an arrogant politician.
An inspired send-up of Spanish stereotypes, Joaquín Mazón’s hilarious feature debut places mankind’s future in the hands of a motley crew of defenders who individually might be the most bumbling heroes imaginable, but collectively will rise to the occasion. Or anyway, you know, that’s the idea. Fingers crossed.
More invested in subversive, effete classic rock than the brutish, macho rugby culture favored by his peers, 16-year-old Ned seeks to draw as little attention to himself as possible as he endures his sentence at boarding school. Things take a radical turn, however, when Ned befriends Connor, a dashing rugby wizard with a secret only Ned knows.
Witty, wise and delicate, Irish filmmaker John Butler’s sophomore feature vividly invokes those years of adolescent angst. Both Ned and Connor are forced to reckon with questions of loyalty and self-interest while stumbling toward the realization that being true to yourself is the only way to truly be in the world.
Toshiro is a quiet, dependable husband and father who runs a machinery shop out of his house. His family’s placid domestic life is disrupted, however, when Toshiro’s old friend Yasaka comes calling after having just been released from prison. Mysterious yet well-mannered, Yasaka movies in, Toshiro gives him work, and the situation seems tenable… until shadows from the men’s shared past begin creeping in, and the smooth veneer of Toshiro’s marriage starts showing cracks.
Kôji Fukada’s latest is a meticulously rendered slow-burn, a psychologically acute tale of punishment and crime that pulls us deeper into its world of familial tension and fraught allegiances with every elegantly measured scene.
Wladyslaw Strzeminski was an iconoclastic artist, educator and author whose work clashed with the Stalinist ideology of postwar Poland, and his story serves as an inspiration for all of us seeking the strength to speak truth to power in today’s troubled political climate.
This passionate, masterfully made final work from Oscar-winning Polish director Andrzej Wajda vividly chronicles Strzeminski’s struggles with the darkening skies of totalitarianism. Boldly embodied by Polish superstar Boguslaw Linda, Strzeminski bucks against the dominant social realist conventions while navigating numerous challenges as a creator, parent, mentor and double-amputee.
If ever you presumed life was easier for geniuses, Carrie Pilby (Bel Powley) will set you straight. Carrie graduated from Harvard at the age of 19, yet she’s utterly adrift in life, with no work, no sense of purpose and no talent for friendship—in part because she can’t stand most people. Can her father’s therapist friend (the ever-adorable Nathan Lane) help the fearsomely clever Carrie settle into functional adulthood? Maybe even find someone she’s willing to date?
Susan Johnson’s adaptation of Caren Lissner’s bestseller is a smart, surprisingly resonant coming-of-age comedy that turns notions of privilege inside out. Carrie may have a hard time liking people, but she’s doing her best!
Florida Focus (11)
Profiling the best works partially or wholly shot in Florida or by a filmmaker who is originally from or current resident of Florida.
On the eastern shore of Florida sits Palm Beach, one of the wealthiest communities in America. Just 40 miles west is one of the poorest. It’s known as ‘The Muck’. Despite the poverty and violence, ‘The Muck’ has forged over 60 NFL players. Our documentary tells the story of Pahokee, FL. (population 5,649), a unique place where high school football has become more than a game – it’s a way of life. By following three key members from the 2015-16 Pahokee High School football team, we explore the past, present and future of the town. From the perspectives of ex-coaches and players from that area — including NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin — we attempt to understand a place where football becomes the only way out.
STRAIGHT OUT OF MIAMI: RAKONTUR PREVIEWS NEW WORK
Miami-based production company rakontur has an outstanding track record of attention-getting documentaries, from Cocaine Cowboys to ESPN’s The U. In this special Miami Film Festival presentation, director Billy Corben and producer Alfred Spellman preview clips from their upcoming projects including A Sunny Place for Shady People, a doc series about the scams and schemes that flourish in Florida, and a new documentary miniseries that returns to the milieu of Cocaine Cowboys to profile a Miami-based Cuban crime family with a longstanding involvement in the drug trade. Corben and Spellman will reflect on the factors that have allowed them to thrive in Miami.
A ferociously inventive new interpretation of a timeless tragic tale of revenge, this one-of-a-kind film is the product of Miami-born filmmaker and choreographer Yara Travieso’s recent New York dance-theatre event, which was performed, shot and edited in real time.
Reimagining Euripides’ infanticidal anti-heroine as the subject of a live, tell-all TV special, La Medea uses aspects of contemporary media culture to provoke questions regarding notions of justice and the so-called hysterical woman. Part opera and part soap opera, part myth and part “reality,” partly improvised and partly scripted, this electrifying, blackly comic melodrama promises to deliver brutality and tenderness, spectacle and intimacy.
Jossie and Miguel Alonso’s move into their stately Havana home coincided with the arrival of the Cuban revolution. Through five decades of social upheaval , the couple cared for each other and their house. Now a widow, Jossie still lives there, surrounded by her memories and the echoes of the past.
Miami Film 2017 (4)
For the third consecutive year, The Related Group has collaborated with Miami Film Festival on a new program aimed at supporting emerging Latin American cinema artists. MIAMI FILM 2017 locates 3 new short filmmakers working at a high standard of artistic value, representing work of significant promise for future development, particularly toward feature films. This program will screen all three winning films, and an Awards ceremony and post-screening celebration.
AND THE WHOLE SKY FIT IN THE DEAD COW’S EYE
Emeteria, is an old lady, who is visited by the ghost of her patrón¸ Teodoro, whom she believes is coming to take her to the afterlife, when in fact he comes bearing more devastating news. Magical realism sets the tone to this visual and deeply moving journey of a mother trying to save her son’s life.
Specially curated for younger film fans, these narrative films are for the entire family to enjoy.
ZIP & ZAP AND THE CAPTAIN’S ISLAND
Spanish director Oskar Santos and his loveably naughty brothers are back in Miami for more mischief with Zip & Zap and the Captain’s Island.
Last time around, in Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang, Zip and Zap spearheaded a resistance movement at a sinister summer school. This fiendishly fun sequel finds them stuck on a boring boat trip with their parents. Yet once they reach their remote island destination, a sudden storm forces them to seek shelter at an eerie mansion inhabited by the mysterious Miss Pam—and maybe some ghosts!
The BOSS BABY
DreamWorks Animation and the director of Madagascar invite you to meet a most unusual baby. He wears a suit, speaks with the voice and wit of Alec Baldwin, and stars in the animated comedy, DreamWorks’ The Boss Baby. The Boss Baby is a hilariously universal story about how a new baby’s arrival impacts a family, told from the point of view of a delightfully unreliable narrator, a wildly imaginative 7 year old named Tim. With a sly, heart-filled message about the importance of family, DreamWorks’ The Boss Baby is an authentic and broadly appealing original comedy for all ages.
Set in a small community on Mexico’s spectacular Pacific Coast, this enchanting new feature from veteran writer-director María Novaro—whose Danzón delighted Miami Film Festival audiences back in 1992—follows siblings Dylan and Andrea as they and their new friends set out, map in hand, to seize a pirate’s treasure that’s been hiding for centuries. What they’ll find, however, will prove to be far more priceless than any old fabled booty.
Tesoros is a spirited tale of high adventure and discovery that promises a cache of cinematic riches for the whole family to enjoy.
This feature debut from Colombian writer-director Henry Rincón centers on Eduardo, a ten-year-old boy who has more than his share of harrowing challenges: he is poor, a victim of Colombia’s armed conflict, and is missing a leg. Yet, with the help of his music teacher and some valiant friends, Eduardo is determined follow through with what he considers his mission: to participate in a children’s soccer tournament without being discovered.
Hero Steps is a heartrending drama about triumph in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity. If little Eduardo can follow his dreams, then surely there’s hope for all of us.
Special Presentation (8)
THE DISTINGUISHED CITIZEN
Success for Nobel Prize-winning, Barcelona-based novelist Daniel Mantovani (Wild Tales star and Miami favorite Oscar Martínez) is a double-edged sword: he enjoys its fruits, but it may be spoiling the integrity of his work. Desperate for self-renovation, Daniel accepts an invitation to return to his hometown of Salas, Argentina, to accept an award. Salas has served as the setting for all Daniel’s stories—though he hasn’t been back for 40 years. Daniel’s journey becomes a comic odyssey underpinned by irony: he’s a fish out of water in his own home.
A universal story about place, identity and the peculiar nature of nostalgia, The Distinguished Citizen has already been nominated for a Goya and won prizes at Haifa, Thessaloniki, Valladolid and Venice.
LIBERTY IN A SOUP
Food is nourishment, food is pleasure, food is comfort—and food is also history, culture and memory. This delectable documentary from Miami artist and filmmaker Dudley Alexis explores the depths of significance to be digested in joumou, a traditional pumpkin-based soup consumed in Dudley’s native Haiti every Haitian Independence Day, which also happens to be New Year’s Day. The ritual preparation of joumou is an emblem of freedom for Haitians, redolent of Revolutionary ideals, emancipation and victory. Join Dudley on this personal journey as he returns to Haiti to investigates joumou, its meanings—and its culinary delights.
HOT GIRLS WANTED: TURNED ON
Former Miami Herald writer Jill Bauer and former staff photographer Ronna Gradus team up with writer-actor-filmmaker Rashida Jones to create this new Netflix series that spins off from their feature documentary Hot Girls Wanted (2015), which was set in South Florida. Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On is an anthology series with each episode examining a different aspect of the intersection of sex and technology and how Internet pornography and social media have changed us in the 21st century. This special festival preview features “Women on Top,” directed by Jones, that looks at the idea of feminist pornography. The screening will be followed by an extended conversation with Jones, Bauer and Gradus discussing what they’ve learned over the last 10 years of covering modern day sexuality.
In a small German town grieving in the immediate aftermath of the Great War, Anna is surprised to find a stranger laying roses on the grave of Frantz, her fallen fiancé. The stranger is Adrien, a Frenchman who knew Frantz in the years before the war and who brings with him memories of music and dancing—and of colour, which bursts joyously onto the screen for fleeting passages in François Ozon’s elegantly rendered, mostly monochromatic tale of loss and recovery. Based on the same play that inspired Ernst Lubitsch’s Broken Lullaby, the sublime Frantz shifts between France and Germany, French and German, past and present.
DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS
Dominican park ranger Eligio Eloy Vargas and his Haitian wife Calina led a life emblematic of the complex relationship between their respective countries—and, just as emblematically, Eligio’s life ended when he was killed in a machete attack against the backdrop of an illegal trade in charcoal.
With investigative rigor and stunning cinematography, filmmakers Juan Mejia Botero and Jake Kheel use Eloy Vargas’ murder case to address rising tensions along the Dominican Republic-Haiti border and larger issues concerning environmental devastation, ethnic violence and the fight over natural resources. Death By a Thousand Cuts was the winner of the Audience Award at the DOC NYC festival.
EVERYTHING BUT A MAN
Vanessa is a self-made, African-American career woman. She seems to have everything going for her, yet there is one element of a happy life that continues to elude her: a good man. Could Max, a mysterious, French-speaking foreigner be the one to change Vanessa’s luck? His lifestyle is so different from hers, yet these differences could be just what Vanessa needs: a challenge to her fixed notions of love, relationships and what being a strong woman really means.
This second feature from writer-director Nnegest Likké explores romance and self-discovery from a bold, intelligent, female perspective—and it might just provoke the rest of us to question our idea of personal success.
Google Talks on Gender & Racial Gaps in Film & Tech (5)
A series of keynote talks + Q&As addressing solutions for gender and racial gaps in the film industry, especially in creative, producing, criticism, and technical roles
Short Competition (11)
The latest in films 30 minutes or less from around the globe, the jury-selected winner will receive a $2,500 cash prize.
HOUSE FOR SALE
Three Cuban people will guide the sale of their homes, leading us how if we were buyers, into intimate spaces that are far from being tradable objects to become objects filled affection, connected to their personal stories, making clear link between the policy changes in Cuba living and the needs of the characters. We become buyers of those memories, aspirations and needs.
GREAT MUY BIEN
The middle-aged students of a private English school in Havana have very diverse aspirations, but all want to learn English in order to be prepared for a future of normalized relati ons between Cuba and the United States . During the English lessons we hear about their dreams for the future and the new Cuba that is starting to appear on the horizon.
A group of highschoolers decide they don’t want to study, cut classes and will spend the day at large urban park, in the middle of a love triangle between the main characters they will be discover how a network gossip change everything, betray is a grown up thing and painfully they approach to adulthood.
A MAN RETURNED
Reda’s dreams of escaping the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain El-Helweh ended after being deported from Greece, from where he returned with a heroin addiction. In a camp torn apart by internal strife and against all odds he decides to marry his childhood sweetheart. A love story, as bittersweet as the camp itself.
In the award-winning short documentary film Joe’s Violin, a donated musical instrument forges an improbable friendship between 91-year-old Holocaust survivor Joe Feingold and 12-year-old Bronx school girl Brianna Perez, showing how the power of music can bring light in the darkest of times and how a small act can have a great impact.
A young black Jamaican girl from the underclass and on the brink of womanhood works at a Jamaican resort where she witnesses tourists’ affluence on a daily basis. As the de facto breadwinner for her very large family, she faces a crisis of conscience when a tourist couple seems to be the answer to her financial predicamen
GIMP GAIT is a solo for two – surrogates to one another. It includes exploration of the subjects’ private and public lives – how the perspective of the viewer may attempt to control or shape or have some sort of power over who they are. The title of this work discloses its origin: ‘gimp’, a slur meant to mark a weak or handicapped person and ‘gait’, the manner or style of a person’s walk. The subjects do not hide these from you – do you have a good view? Can you notice every part of their bodies – both the similarities and differences? This is Marjorie, and she wants you to witness her. This is Pioneer, and he is performing Marjorie’s power.
From the Vault (1)
Iconic films that deserve another theatrical viewing and opportunity to leave their mark
ASHES AND DIAMONDS
May, 1945. Germany has surrendered. In a small Polish town two soldiers are ordered to assassinate a communist commissar searching for his son. In the midst of the assassination attempt one of the soldiers becomes infatuated with a barmaid. As the fateful hour grows closer each of these characters will be drawn closer to some decisive realization.
Originally released in 1958, Andrzej Wajda’s Ashes and Diamonds is a bracing yet romantic war film that surveys the ways in which the dousing of one conflict can lead to the kindling of others. We are honored to offer this memorial screening of one of the late Polish master’s most revered works.
Engaging, on-stage conversations with film industry leaders on how to best navigate new filmmaking frontiers