GEMS, a new mini film festival preceding Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival next March, brought 14 noteworthy films to the historic Tower Theater at 1508 SW Eighth St. during a four-day run from Oct. 22 to 25.
Bringing a touch of Hollywood to South Florida, GEMS had red carpet events for its opening and closing films, Brooklyn and The 33.
Other films presented were The Assassin (Taiwan), The Club (Chile), Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia), Havana Motor Club (USA/Cuba), It’s Now or Never (Spain), Krisha (USA), Mia Madre (Italy), My Golden Days (France), A Perfect Day (Spain), Trash (UK/Brazil), Yona (Israel) and Youth (Italy).
The 33,Warner Bros.’ highly anticipated film starring Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche, Rodrigo Santoro, Mario Casas, Lou Diamond Phillips and many others, dramatically portrays the tragic accident in 2010 at the San José copper-gold mine where 33 Chilean miners were trapped 700 meters underground for 69 days. Their heroic, almost miraculous story of survival brought people around the world together.
Appearing on the red carpet for the premiere of The 33 were actors Kate del Castillo, Rodrigo Santoro, Juan Pablo Raba, Chilean television personality Don Francisco, Consul General of Chile Luis Eduardo Salinas and the film’s director Patricia Riggen. Riggen explained the challenge of bringing a real event to the movie screen.
“One of the most difficult things was to remain true to the story and the real characters,” Riggen said. “That’s something I really wanted to do. There are so many characters, both below ground and above ground, but I can tell you that probably 95 percent of what we see in the movie is based on the true event and on the secrets the miners shared with us.”
The actors attending confirmed that Riggen brought passion and commitment to the project. She said that the movie really is the whole story, because we only saw part of the story on the news, which filtered a lot what was happening below.
“They were men with a lot of dignity,” Riggen. said “They didn’t want to show any of the dark moments, or share them, but they kept them for this movie and now is the moment that we are really going to say what happened. What happened in 17 days of hunger, with no food, and in 69 days of being trapped. It’s very moving, emotional and thrilling.”
The 33 has a November release date in thousands of theaters. Looking back, Riggen said that the most memorable moments came from the source of the story.
“The most rewarding thing for me was to meet the miners themselves,” Riggen said. “Spending time with the 33, they’re a fantastic group of men. Their energy when they’re together is very special. I think it has to do with their having been to the end, and having come back. It makes them unique.”