Reflecting Miami’s diverse culture, the Miami International Film Festival strives to foster the understanding of different cultures through its careful selection of films – a selection process which has been acclaimed by the film industry, and has come to be known to bring some of the best global cinema to South Florida.
MIFF 2016 (March 4th to 14th), the 33rd annual edition, consisted of 129 films, from 40 countries. This year’s theme, “Projecting light in the Magic City”, thoughtfully conceived the world as being seen through differing qualities of light, which could enhance one’s experience for better or worse.
The screenings took place in many different venues throughout Miami, with My Big Night, a Spanish film starring recording legend Raphael, featured on opening night. It was fun to watch Raphael walk the Red Carpet in front of the iconic Olympia Theater downtown, and then glimpse him again during the after-party at the historic Alfred I. Dupont Building.
Other glamorous and instructive film-related events were held at amazing venues such as the Standard Hotel, Haven, Temple House… There was the HBO luncheon at Nautilus Hotel, and the closing party, which took place at One Brickell.
But of course, a film festival isn’t (only!) about the parties. After winning La Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015, Dheepan (France, produced by Pasquale Caucheteux and Jacques Audiard) took home MIFF’s Knight Grand Jury Prize in 2016.
Interesting fact: There was a very strong representation of female filmmakers at MIFF: Of the 129 films that were shown, 40 of them were either directed or co-directed by women.
It was also interesting to note the “I’ve never not been from Miami” theme, comprising 10 short films directed by local (Miami) filmmakers. This growth in local, ‘home-grown’ talent was not overlooked by festival director Jaie Laplante, who suggested, (what) “has been so gratifying to witness is the development of a Miami voice in a Miami style”.
In fact, it’s precisely Miami’s new artistic voice… Its ongoing, inviting incentives, from Art Basel of course, to the development of the funky Wynwood neighborhood and New World Center in South Beach (since 2011, home to our renowned New World Symphony); plus, multiple art and cultural events throughout the year, can’t help but have an impact on film-driven visual artists as well… So that once again, the Magic City’s film devotees — as well as visitors and some very special guests — could be ‘enlightened’.