Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), produced and presented by Miami Dade College (MDC), celebrated its 31st festival with filmmakers, talent, and guests who gathered at the National Historic Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College to hear the announcement of the popular Lexus Audience Award presented to two films for Best Documentary and Best Feature. The winners were Fading Gigolo directed by John Turturro (USA), which won Best Feature, and The Mountain (La Montaña) directed by Tabaré Blanchard (Dominican Republic), which won Best Documentary.
“Every year the films that are brought into the festival continue to amaze me. The energy and artistic excellence could be felt by all in attendance throughout the entire festival,” said MIFF Executive Director Jaie Laplante. “We look forward to what the 32nd Festival in 2015 will entail.”
Fading Gigolo stars Woody Allen, who is a late-blooming pimp to John Turturro’s middle-aged junior floristturned hustler in a hilarious NY comedy, where legendary screen sirens Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara turn up as eager clients, and Vanessa Paradis plays an orthodox Jewish widow in need of human touch. The film was part of an evening which presented John Tuturro with the Career Achievement Tribute & Award.
The Mountain is a documentary about a trio of Dominicans who contend with the harsh, freezing climate of Katmandu and made history by crowning Mount Everest with a Dominican flag in 2011, inspiring three young surfers to conquer Pico Duarte, Hispaniola’s highest mountain.
A supporter of the film festival is Kareem Tabsch who is the director of OCinema, the leading arts cinema in Miami, and one of the official MIFF venues.
“The Miami International Film Festival is a cultural gem in our community, bringing the best in contemporary global cinema to Miami across 10 days,” said Tabsch. “As our community continues to grow with a flourishing visual art, dance, and music scene all of which have received critical acclaim, we must all continue to do our part to embrace and help grow the nascent film culture in our city. Supporting the film festival and art cinemas, like O Cinema, are integral to that.”
O Cinema turned 3 years old this past February and its growth as Miami’s preeminent venue for independent cinema has happened alongside the Miami International Film Festivals strongest years.
“I think that both O Cinema and our brethren indie cinemas like the Miami Beach Cinematheque and the Miami Film Festival have symbiotically and simultaneous helped grow Miami’s appreciation and support of film culture,” said Tabsch.
O Cinema just recently renovated to include state-of-the-art digital projection, a brand new screen, 7.1 surround sound, and more seats.