Ten days of movie magic came to its inevitable end, as the 23rd edition of the Miami International Film Festival had its final day of screenings yesterday. But this landmark year ended on a high note, with a mix of superb films that saved the best for last.
Several of Saturday night’s winners at the Miami International Film Festival Awards Ceremony had their final public screenings on Sunday, giving Miami audiences a last chance to see these Festival gems. ACCUSED, co-winner of the Knight Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Competition and an Audience Award winner in the same category, had a packed screening at the Regal South Beach Cinemas.
Audiences were equally enthusiastic at the final screenings at the Regal of ANGELS OF THE SUN (Audience Award winner, Ibero-American Cinema Competition), LIFE IN COLOR (Knight Grand Jury Prize, Ibero-American Cinema Competition), LOWER CITY (Special Jury Mention, Ibero-American Cinema Competition) and THE MASTER (FIPRESCI International Critics Award).
At the historic Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, a renovated 1930s movie palace in downtown Miami, the Festival presented its last two Gusman Premieres. SUMMER IN BERLIN, a German comedy/drama directed by Andreas Dresen, is the tragicomic tale of two women friends who fall for the same man, set during a steamy summer in the German capital. Writer/Director Dresen, who won the Best Director prize at the Bavarian Film Awards and Best Screenplay honors at the San Sebastian Film Festival, was present at the screening, along with lead actress Andreas Schmidt.
The Gusman Premieres ended on a musical note with the North American Premiere of VINICIUS DE MORAES, a Brazilian/Spanish musical profile of the prolific and passionate life of Brazilian poet, songwriter and playwright Vinicius de Moraes. Internationally famous as the lyricist of the bossa nova classic The Girl From Ipanema and writer of the original play which inspired the film BLACK ORPHEUS (1959), the film features interviews with family members and famous musical collaborators, including Antonio Carlos Jobim, Chico Buarque, Edu Lobo and Carlos Lyra. The highlight of the film was its musical numbers by some of Brazil’s most famous singers, including Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and João Gilberto. Director Miguel Faria Jr. and producer Luciana Soarez de Souza were present at the sold-out screening.
The music continued on Miami’s famed Calle Ocho with the rare big screen screening at the historic Tower Theater of BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB, the Oscar-nominated documentary by Career Achievement honoree Wim Wenders. The film, which chronicles the Cuban musicians who famously invented the “el son” musical movement, was a fitting end to the Calle Ocho Festival, which attracted over 300,000 people to Miami’s unique Little Havana.
Audience members then mingled with visiting filmmakers, film journalists, sponsors and special guests at the Viva Vinicius! Party, a Brazilian Celebration of the Closing Night of the Miami International Film Festival, held at the Yuca Lounge on Lincoln Road. The Rose Max Band and guest artists played classic bossa nova, samba and Brazilian jazz, in a program hosted by radio personality Gene de Souza of 88.9FM’s Café Brasil.
As they say in the movie biz, it's a wrap....until next year's Festival.
Sandy Mandelberger, Industry Editor