Mariachis, slackers, canines and zombies are about to invade South Florida, courtesy of the 29th Miami International Film Festival, which runs March 2-11.
A slate of more than 100 films from 35 countries was unveiled Tuesday by Miami Dade College, which produces the venerable event. Along with the usual emphasis on Ibero-American feature films, documentaries and up-and-coming directors, this year’s festival features several new categories, including a spotlight on Quebec cinema, a celebration of American indies, a block of family-oriented pictures and a trio of thrillers event ,
Opening night brings Mariachi Gringo, the story of a Kansas teenager (Shawn Ashmore of X-Men: The Last Stand) who runs away to Mexico to become a mariachi singer. The closing night film will be Argentina’s award-winning Chinese Take-Away ( Un cuento chino), the story of a shopkeeper (the great Ricardo Darín) whose quiet life is changed after he befriends a Chinese immigrant.
Other festival highlights include:
World-class directors returning to the festival with their new films include David Trueba (Madrid 1987), Santiago Segura (the 3D action-comedy Torrente 4: Lethal Crisis), Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (The Kid with a Bike), Jean-Marc Vallée (Café des Flore) and Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea).
Along with the return of the Ibero-American, short films and documentary competitions, the festival is introducing a new category, the Ibero-American Opera Prima, in which seven first-time filmmakers from Spain, Portugal and Latin America vie for a $5,000 cash prize. In collaboration with the City of Miami Beach and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, the college will open a Festival Village space on Lincoln Road, offering free screenings, opportunities to meet visiting filmmakers and a stage for photos.
Last year’s festival drew an estimated 70,000. “It’s exciting to see the festival’s reputation as an influential and unique player among U.S. and international film festivals become stronger and stronger,” said executive director Jaie LaPlante.
“As a whole, the program makes bold statements about the world we live in and challenges audiences to think about our changing world,” said Miami Dade College president Eduardo Padrón.
Tickets for the festival will go on sale in February. A complete schedule of films and events will be posted to www.miamifilmfestival.com
A scene from the zombies-in-Cuba horror comedy "Juan of the Dead."