February 2010, Volume 14, Number 1


Stars of international cinema glitter at 27th Film Festival

Miami Dade College will once again produce and present the Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), one of the U.S.'s premier cinematic events. The 2010 Festival will run March 5 -14.

In its 27th year, MIFF remains as innovative and crowd-pleasing as ever, an 11-day cinephile’s celebration where the love of film reigns supreme as the cause de rigueur. Movies, music, media, design, visual and performing arts, the avant-garde and the prêt-à-porter jet-set will converge upon the Festival’s venues in a global showcase of exceptional talent and unrestrained creativity.

Living up to its international moniker, and befitting the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the Festival will open with the riotously clever UK comedy Looking for Eric. Directed by Ken Loach, this film is inspired by the original idea of French-born, former Manchester United soccer-superstar Eric Cantona, who is also featured in the cast as himself – hence the title.

Another comedy receiving accolades is City Island (U.S.). An Audience Award winner at Tribeca 2009, this crowd pleaser is directed by Raymond de Felitta and stars Andy García, his daughter Dominik García-Lorido and Julianna Margulies. In attendance at this Gusman Gala screening will be García, who is also one of the film’s producers, accompanied by his aforementioned daughter and co-star.

From Italy comes the sumptuous audiovisual feast of I, Don Giovanni, the latest by legendary Spanish-born writer/director Carlos Saura. This ravishingly exquisite film is based on the life of 18th century lyricist and Mozart favorite Lorenzo Da Ponte and their collaboration in the opera masterpiece Don Giovanni. As part of the evening’s entertainment, MIFF and the Florida Grand Opera are collaborating on what promises to be a spectacular evening of truly operatic proportions.

Frigid Sweden brings us what is sure to be one of the hottest movies ofthe year. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, directed by Niels Arden Oplev, who will attend the festival, is the film adaptation of the book by the same title, the thriller that is the first in the international best-selling Millennium Trilogy.

From director Nicole Holofcener, whose Friends With Money closed the Festival in 2006, is Please Give, starring Amanda Peet, Katherine Keener and Oliver Platt. Keener and Platt, along with Holofcener, will be present at the screening.

Among the Festival’s brightest notes figures the exclusive screening of The Beatles on Record, directed by official Beatles’ documentarian Bob Smeaton. Previously shown at the BBC, but nowhere else, this film is part of the Festival’s Reel Music Scene.

Also featured in this category is Accordion Kings (U.S. and Colombia), a documentary directed by Alan Tomlinson about a vallenato competition and featuring GRAMMY® Award-winning Colombian singer, composer and actor Carlos Vives, who will also be in attendance.

Cinema 360, a sampling of outstanding films from around the world, brings to MIFF this year the English-dubbed French animated hit Eleonore’s Secret, directed by Dominique Monfery and sure to delight audiences of all ages.

From Australia comes Samson and Delilah, winner of the 2009 Camera D’Or Cannes Film Festival award for first-time director Warwick Thornton.

Brazil flexes its moviemaking muscles with Besouro. Based on the life of the titular legendary capoeira fighter in Bahia during the 1920s, this film gives his myth a new spin through revolutionary cinematic and story-telling techniques.

Colombia also shines in this category with writer/director Ciro Guerra’s 2009 Cannes’ Award of the City of Rome winner The Wind Journeys (Los viajes del viento).

This year's MIFF Abroad focuses on Peru with 2009’s Golden Berlin Bear award recipient The Milk of Sorrow (La teta asustada) by Claudia Llosa. MIFF Abroad is an international film exchange program which has previously engaged countries like Chile, Mexico, Colombia and Uruguay.

From the edge of the avant-garde comes Cutting the Edge, MIFF artistic director Tiziana Finzi’s signature touch as a playground for the visually innovative, featuring an amalgamation of artistic disciplines. This year showcases revolutionary works such as Pepperminta, a film directed by Swiss world-renowned video artist Pipilotti Rist in a trippy blend of Pippi Longstocking and The Beatles’ 1967 Magical Mystery Tour.

Philippine director Brillante Mendoza graces us with Kinatay, which won him Best Director at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, as well as his latest, Lola, 2009’s Venice Film Festival Golden Lion nominee and Dubai International Film Festival winner of the Muhr AsiaAfrica award for Best Feature.

The World Issues/World Films category will feature Other Among Others (Otro entre otros), a fascinating documentary from Argentina about the struggle of gay Jewish men for acceptance and support in their religious community. This presentation will be followed by a panel discussion on this controversial subject.

Like all good things, MIFF will too come to a fitting end with The Secret in Their Eyes (El secreto de sus ojos), also from Argentina. This crime/drama, directed by Juan José Campanella, was a huge box office smash in Spain and Argentina. It stars Ricardo Darín and Soledad Villamil, who, along with Campanella, will all be present at this gala closing night screening.

In years past, the festival has welcomed the likes of Sophia Loren, Geraldine Chaplin, Pedro Almodóvar, Wim Wenders, Demi Moore, William H. Macy, Liv Ullmann, Antonio Banderas, Helen Hunt, Viggo Mortensen, Kate Hudson and many more.

For more on the 2009 Miami International Film Festival, visit www.miamifilmfestival.com.

— HP

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