MIAMI, February 6, 2007 – In recent years, the documentary film has taken flight in terms of commercial interest. At the heart of this trend, the Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), presented by Miami Dade College (MDC), remains one of the premiere festivals for celebrating non-fiction filmmaking from around the world, as recently announced in their 2007 program.
“We are always compelled by the art of storytelling in the documentary form,” said Festival Director Nicole Guillemet. “Non-fiction filmmaking borrows the same storytelling engines usually reserved for fiction films, but gives their subject matter an extraordinary power by capturing it through reality.”
The Festival program includes 23 documentary features: 21 in the competition category and 2 in the International Panorama category.
Documentary Features - World & Ibero-American Cinema Competition
Documentary feature films from around the world are screened in this prestigious competition. Social issues, diverse cultures, icons and inspiring people are an integral part of this category.
A Knight Grand Jury Prize of $25,000 is awarded and each entry is eligible for a MIFF Audience Award sponsored by American Airlines.
"Accident" ("Acidente") Directors: Cao Guimarães, Pablo Lobato (Brazil)
Part of the “city symphony” tradition of documentary filmmaking, the mesmerizing “Accident” beautifully weaves a tapestry of scenes shot in the 20 towns that comprise the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. Narrated in the form of a nursery rhyme that pays tribute to each of the places visited, the film deftly captures the unpredictable moments of daily life. (East Coast Premiere)
"Banished" Director: Marco Williams (USA)
This powerful documentary chronicles a shameful and obscure chapter in America’s post-Civil War history—the violent, and complete, expulsion of African Americans from a number of communities across the country. Centering on three of these communities, the film explores what can be done to redress a legacy of racial injustice and reconcile the past. (East Coast Premiere)
"The Cemetery Club" ("Moadon Beit Hakvarot") Director: Tali Shemesh (Israel)
Poignant, intimate, at times hilarious, this prize-winning documentary follows the complex relationship between 80-year-old Lena and her 85-year-old sister-in-law Minia. The two are Holocaust survivors and members of a social club of elderly Polish-born Jerusalemites who meet every Sabbath to discuss philosophy, politics and poetry at the Mount Herzl National Cemetery. (U.S. Premiere)
"Cocalero" Director: Alejandro Landes (Bolivia/Argentina/USA)
Bolivia, 2005: An Aymara Indian and union leader named Evo Morales launches a seemingly impossible bid to become his country’s first indigenous president. A must for anyone interested in Latin America’s present and future, this fly-on-the-wall documentary reveals the personalities and politics behind one of the region’s most astounding stories. (East Coast Premiere)
"Fabricating Tom Zé" ("Fabricando Tom Zé") Director: Décio Matos Júnior (Brazil)
Composer and musician Tom Zé hears music wherever he goes—in guitars, in a double-bass and, yes, even in vacuum cleaners. This absorbing documentary follows the controversial Brazilian artist as he tours through Europe, mixing music and life along the way. The film won Best Brazilian Documentary at the São Paulo International Film Festival. (East Coast Premiere)
"Ghosts of Cité Soleil" Director: Asger Leth (Denmark/USA)
Thug life and political warfare merge in this raw look at two street gang leaders in Haiti’s lawless Cité Soleil, named “the most dangerous place on earth” by the U.N. Executive-produced by Wyclef Jean, “Ghosts” is a startling Caribbean exposé of guns, gangs and politics during the fall of the regime of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. (East Coast Premiere)
"Manufactured Landscapes" Director: Jennifer Baichwal (Canada)
This stunning portrait of celebrated Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky—whose grand scale photographs capture the changes to natural landscapes wrought by modern industry—is as much about the aesthetic, social and environmental dimensions of globalization (shown here primarily in China) as about the artist and his work. The film took home Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival. (East Coast Premiere)
"Mississippi Chicken" Director: John Fiege (USA)
Questions of race, workers’ rights and exploitation form the crux of this intriguing documentary about Latin American immigrants living in rural Mississippi, where poultry plants promise jobs, but little else. Shot on Super-8mm film, which gives it a lustrous, saturated color, “Mississippi Chicken” reveals the textures, moods, and struggles of the New South. (North American Premiere)
"Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa" Directors: Jeremy Stulberg & Randy Stulberg (USA)
This engrossing documentary follows a hardscrabble community of hippies and war veterans who live on the fringe and off the grid, without electricity or running water, along the mesas of northern New Mexico. Sibling filmmakers Jeremy and Randy Stulberg have unearthed a place that stands at the bizarre crossroads of utopian ideals and post-apocalyptic nightmares. (East Coast Premiere)
"The Railroad All Stars" ("Estrellas de la Línea") Director: Chema Rodríguez (Spain)
The hookers of Guatemala City’s La Linea slum eke out a meager living in constant fear of being attacked or killed. When a local soccer championship rolls around, the ladies form a team to publicize the dangers of their trade. The resulting story becomes a media sensation giving the women a newfound voice and much-needed sense of empowerment. (East Coast Premiere)
"Septembers" ("Septiembres") Director: Carles Bosch (Spain)
The director of festival favorite “Balseros” returns with this touching film about love, imprisonment, and the power of song. For the participants of the 2005 Festival of Song held at a prison near Madrid, singing love songs isn’t just fun, it is, rather, a poignant reminder of those they long for and are without.
"Serambi" Directors: Garin Nugroho, Tonny Trimarsanto, Viva Westi, Lianto Luseno (Indonesia)
Aceh, historically a center of trade between East and West, was ravaged by the tsunami of 2004. In the months that followed the tragedy, a documentary crew chronicled the devastation left behind—a cratered landscape of destroyed homes, dead bodies, and orphans searching for their families—capturing the extent to which civilizations can be literally washed away by nature’s wrath. (U.S. Premiere)
"These Girls" ("El-Banate Dol") Director: Tahani Rached (Egypt)
Tata is tough and she'll let you know it. In a country—Egypt—where unemployment runs near 10% and girls are fourth-class citizens of a Muslim world, Tata and the homeless teens of “These Girls” are driven by a paradoxical mix of empowerment and powerlessness as they live their lives on the streets of Cairo. (Regional Premiere)
"To Play and to Fight" ("Tocar y Luchar") Director: Alberto Arvelo (Venezuela)
One of the music world’s most uplifting social phenomenons, the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra System has made world-class musicians out of otherwise forgotten young children. Interviews with music luminaries Placido Domingo, Sir Simon Rattle, and many others appear throughout this inspirational documentary about music, courage, determination and teamwork. (East Coast Premiere)
"Two Homelands Cuba and the Night" ("Dos Patrias Cuba y la Noche") Director: Christian Liffers (Germany)
What is it like to be a gay man in today’s Cuba? Director Christian Liffers traveled to the island on two occasions in 2004 to seek answers to that question. The result is a film beautifully intertwined with poetry by Reinaldo Arena. Six unforgettable personal stories underscore the many differences in experiences, social status, and opinions among gay men in and around Havana. (North American Premiere)
"Yokohama Mary" Director: Takayuki Nakamura (Japan)
“Yokohama Mary” was a World War II prostitute and legendary Japanese street eccentric who mysteriously disappeared in 1995. Rumors surrounding Mary were myriad, but little was ultimately known about her. Director Takayuki Nakamura’s engrossing documentary embarks on a poignant journey through post-war Japan as it pieces together the life and disappearance of this peculiar and fascinating woman. (U.S. Premiere)
Amazing works from the masters and up-coming filmmakers who have created more than two features are on view in this vibrant array of films from all corners of the world. In addition, International Panorama pays a special tribute to Colombian cinema as well as films that touch Florida.
International Panorama - Documentary Features: World & Ibero-American Cinema
"Back Home" Director: J.B. Rutagarama (Rwanda)
The first documentary about Rwanda made by an actual survivor of the 1994 genocide, “Back Home” tells the remarkable story of a young filmmaker who was taken in by journalists as he fled the killings and given a new life in New York City. After 9/11, he returns to his homeland to confront his nightmares and come to terms with the past. (East Coast Premiere)
"Let's Get Lost" Director: Bruce Weber (USA)
Shot in black and white by prominent fashion photographer and filmmaker Bruce Weber, this tribute film about famed jazz musician Chet Baker reveals the truth behind an artist who lived as much for the drugs that consumed him as for the music he played. “Let’s Get Lost” was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 1989 Academy Awards. (Retrospective)
"Perpetual Movements" Director: Edgar Pêra (Portugal)
This vibrant tribute to the late Portuguese guitarist Carlos Paredes uses clips of the musician and funky visual artwork inspired by his music to tell the story of this fascinating activist, artist, and national hero. “Perpetual Movements” is a visually rich and moving portrait of one of Portugal’s most revered musicians.
"Radiant City" Directors: Gary Burns, Jim Brown (Canada)
Shows such as ABC’s Desperate Housewives and Showtime’s Weeds satirize suburbia and the secrets behind the white picket fences. Is it merely good television, or is there more beneath the surface? This documentary follows a family living in a suburban housing community, juxtaposing what the family believes is gained from life in the suburbs against what is lost. (U.S. Premiere)
“Straight to the Point” (Onde a coruja dorme) Directors: Márcia Derraik, Simplício Neto (Brazil)
This engaging documentary profiles Bezerra da Silva, a Brazilian music legend known as the father of “gangsta samba”. Da Silva’s songs, many of them written by residents of the slums of Rio de Janeiro, are social critiques that champion the underdog who must do whatever it takes to survive. (U.S. Premiere)
International Panorama - Touching Florida
"Those I left Behind” Director: Lisandro Perez-Rey (USA)
Filmed in both the United States and Cuba, Lisandro Perez-Rey’s powerful documentary examines the transnational ties that bind Cuban-Americans to the family members who remain on the island. The film follows four families whose lives are directly, and emotionally impacted by controversial new travel restrictions backed by the U.S. (Regional Premiere)
International Panorama - Gone But Not Forgotten
"La Lupe Queen of Latin Soul” Director: Ela Troyano (USA)
This energetic and captivating documentary portrait traces the rise to fame and eventual disintegration of the campy “queen of Latin soul” known as La Lupe. Deemed anti-revolutionary in her native Cuba – she was told by Castro that she stole too much of his limelight – La Lupe cultivated a new existence in the U.S., where she remained until her death in 1992. (World Premiere)
Screenings will take place at six venues throughout the city: The Gusman Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami, Regal South Beach Cinema in South Beach, Tower Theater in Little Havana, Sunrise Intracoastal Cinema in North Miami Beach, The Bill Cosford Cinema at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, and The Colony Theatre in Miami Beach.
Guests who have recently attended the Miami International Film Festival have included Wim Wenders, Andy Garcia, Jonathan Demme, Woody Harrelson, Rosie Perez, Jimmie Smits, Nestor Carbonell, Geraldine Chaplin, Carlos Saura, Virginie Ledoyen, Zana Briski, HBO, Fox Searchlight, Liv Ullmann, Alexia de la Iglesia, Chris Terrio, Luis Mandoki, Stanley Nelson, Bob Rafelson, Sara Driver, Ted Hope, Sony Pictures Classics, Camilla Belle, Miramax, Baltasar Kormakur, Tony Safford, Rory Kennedy, Daniel Bruhl, Luis Tosar, Stephen Frears, Gaspar Noe, Fred Wiseman, Fernando Leon de Aranoa, Jesse Bradford, Daniele Thompson, Mikael Hafstrom, LisaGay Hamilton, Khyentse Norbu, Eve Ensler, Focus Features, ThinkFilm, Venevision, Maverick, Plural, PBS, Wellspring, Global Film Initiative, Emerging Pictures, Paradigm Consulting, Bristol Media, William Morris Agency, Ibermedia, Traction Media, Comerica Bank, amongst others.
Countries MIFF 2007 includes films from 42 countries including:
The Miami International Film Festival gratefully acknowledges the support it receives from its sponsors, including its Producing Sponsors, City of Miami, Miami-Dade County, American Airlines, The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald. Premiere Sponsors include America Filmworks, Comcast, del Rivero Messianu DDB, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Regal Cinemas, and University of Miami. Principal Sponsors are 2150 Editorial, ABC Management Services and The Historic Alfred I. DuPont Building, AméricaEconomía, CBS4 and MY33, Clear Channel Radio, Diario Las Americas, Eastman Kodak Entertainment Imaging, Entertainment Partners, FedEx Express, Florida Power & Light, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Heineken, Hertz Radio, Lava Studio, Magna-Tech Electronic Company, Miami Parking Authority and Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, Movado, Premiere Magazine, Selecta Magazine, Shore Club, Sunrise Intracoastal Cinema, Telefutura 69, Terra Group, Univision 23, Univision Radio, Vanidades, and Wachovia. The Festival’s Supporting Sponsors include Astoria Communications, Blue Capital Management, BMI, Books & Books, Carlton Fields, Catalina Hotel and Beach Club, Cineworks Digital Studios, Inc., Consulado de México en Miami, Continental New Art Digital, Cultural Services Department of the French Embassy in the U.S., Digital Devoid, Dorchester Hotel, El Argentino, FilmFinders, The Garner Foundation, Inc., Hotel Victor ICAA, JAMAN, Lion Video, Manhattan Transfer, Miami Downtown Development Authority, Miami New Times, Midtown Video, Personal Music, Pinnacle Housing, Raleigh Hotel, River Oyster Bar, SAGIndie, SocialMiami.com, TownHouse Hotel, Universal Casting, Univision Online, View Premium, LLC, 88.9 FM Serious Jazz (WDNA), WLRN Public Radio and Television, and WPBT TV-Channel 2.
The 2007 Miami International Film Festival is sponsored in part with the support of the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts; the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners the Miami-Dade Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment; the City of Miami Mayor’s Office of Film and Cultural Affairs; the Governor’s Office of Film and Entertainment; Miami-Dade Transit; the City of Miami Beach, the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority; the City of Miami Beach Cultural Arts Program; Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the Miami Coalition for the Homeless, the Alvah H. and Wyline P. Chapman Foundation, Inc., and Florida International University – Latin American and Caribbean Center.
The Miami International Film Festival to be held March 2-11, 2007, brings the best of world cinema to South Florida and plays a leading role in maintaining and further enriching its film culture. MIFF uses the unique geographical and cultural position of Miami to be a premiere venue for the exhibition of international and US films, with a special focus on Ibero-American cinema.
· More than 67,000 people attended the Festival in 2006
· In addition, more than 300 filmmakers, producers, talent, and industry representatives from around the world attended the 2006 Festival to introduce their work to Miami audiences and industry professionals
· The 2006 Festival held more than 250 screenings, including features, shorts, Outreach and press
During the last four years, the Festival has presented films from more than 60 countries, including 200 East Coast, U.S. and World Premieres, scores of Oscar winners and nominees, and many international prizewinners. Tickets go on sale to Members Feb. 2, 2007 and to the General Public Feb. 16, 2007.
Miami Dade College has a long and rich history of involvement in the cultural arts, providing South Florida with a vast array of artistic and literary offerings including The Miami Book Fair International, the Cultura del Lobo performing arts series, The Cuban Cinema Series, and the School of Entertainment and Design Technology in addition to the Miami International Film Festival. MDC is the largest institution of higher education in the country and is nationally recognized for many of its academic and cultural programs. With an enrollment of more than 163,000 students, MDC is the nation’s top producer of associate of arts and associate of science degrees. The college’s eight campuses and outreach centers offer more than 200 distinct degree programs including baccalaureate degrees in education and public safety management.
For more information contact the Miami International Film Festival visit www.miamifilmfestival.com. For more information on Miami Dade College, please visit www.mdc.edu.