32nd Edition of the Miami International “Mini Film Fest” starts October 16

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Miami International Film Festival (MiamiFF), a program of Miami Dade College’s MDCulture, has announced the lineup for MIFFecito 2014, the “mini” film festival which provides a mid-season “taste” to next year’s 32nd edition running March 6-15, 2015. Taking place over four days (October 16- 19, 2014), MIFFecito will premiere international films submitted from countries including Bhutan, Cuba, Italy, Mexico, Poland, and Spain. Miami Dade College’s Tower Theater will serve as the exclusive location for all screenings.

MiamiFF Executive Director Jaie Laplante mentions, “As Miami’s beloved cafecito culture is to mid-day refreshment, MIFFecito is to our annual March festival. MIFFecito is an appetizer to MiamiFF’s main course, the perfect Fall break for film lovers who crave a cinematic fix.”

The ‘mini’ festival’s film slate includes:

Behavior (Conducta) (Cuba), directed by Ernesto Daranas. FLORIDA PREMIERE. *OPENING NIGHT FILM – FOLLOWED BY OPENING NIGHT PARTY AT THE SOON-TO-BE-OPENED “BALL & CHAIN” NIGHTCLUB. In director Ernesto Daranas’ second dramatic feature film, which will screen opening night at MIFFecito, a Havana boy sent to a reform school becomes the subject of a moral tug-of-war between generational ideologies in today’s Cuba. The complex, dramatic story centers on Chala, who on the critical cusp of adolescence, scrapes by with few positive role models as he illegally trains fight dogs. After Chala is sent to reform school, his addict mother’s attempts to have him released set up a chain reaction among the school leaders. Since its premiere in Cuba, the film became an unexpected social phenomenon sparking Cuba’s current social state as a hot topic for discussion.

“The Blue Car” (“El carro azul”) (Germany / Cuba), directed by Valerie Heine. FLORIDA PREMIERE. A short dramatic film about Marcos. His grandmother’s death forces Hansel, his worldly brother, to return Cuba to care for him, and an old family game helps restore the trust lost over the years.

Carmina POSTERCarmina and Amen (Carmina y amén) (Spain), directed by Paco León. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE. Actor-cum-director Paco León is a familiar face to Miami art film lovers. He starred in the 2013 film Three Many Weddings which played at MiamiFF31. But the year prior, he created a charming showcase for the incredible force, charisma and outrageous personality of his actress-mother Carmina Barrios’ in Carmina or Blow-Up, which became an unexpected hit both in Spain and Miami. In this 2014 sequel, Carmina and Amen, Carmina triumphantly returns, upgrading the low-budget original with a deeper, more mature work that ups the ante on her larger-than-life outlook on family, sex, death and any other topic that falls into her purview.

I Can Quit Whenever I Want (Smetto quando voglio) (Italy), directed by Sydney Sibilia. Full of farcical comedy and social commentary, I Can Quit Whenever I Want is director Sydney Sibilia’s vehicle to offer Italians the chance to chuckle at the gloomy 43% unemployment rate for Italy’s youth. Realizing their post-graduate degrees are worthless, a rag-tag crew of desperate intellectuals imagine a new psychotropic drug, and then apply their refined but completely unmarketable skills to the illicit drug trade, much to the chagrin of the local Mafia. This film was nominated for 12 Donatello Awards, the Academy Awards of Italy.

LAKE LOS ANGELES posterLake Los Angeles (U.S.A.), directed by Mike Ott. FLORIDA PREMIERE. Francisco, played by Miami’s  Roberto Sanchez, is a middle-aged Cuban man who works odd construction jobs, and makes money on the side by providing his home as a holding house for illegal Mexican immigrants. Cecilia, a 10-year-old Mexican girl, crosses the border hoping to find a better life in the US, but her treacherous journey into the Promised Land will test her spiritual and physical fortitude. Lake Los Angeles (2014) completes Mike’s desert trilogy which also includes: Littlerock (2010) and Pearblossom Hwy (2012).

Life Feels Good (Chce się zyć) (Poland), directed by Maciej Pieprzyca. FLORIDA PREMIERE. The winner of several major awards at the 2014 Polish Academy Awards, Life Feels Good is about a boy born with cerebral palsy and whose inner voice dialogue drives the film’s narrative during his 26 year fight to communicate with the world. Like My Left Foot, which is also based on a true story, the Maciej Pieprzyca-directed film draws parallels to Poland’s national struggles over the time period of Mateusz’s life, both the nation and the man refusing to give up.

Paradise (Paraíso) (Mexico), directed by Mariana Chenillo. FLORIDA PREMIERE. Director Mariana Chenillo’s second feature film takes on society’s obsession with “the perfect body” through definitions of relationship balance. A deeply in-love, overweight married couple’s relationship suffers when, humiliated by social weight-loss chatter, they mutually seek to shrink their plus-sized bodies. Only one spouse succeeds, burdening the “failing” spouse with today’s idea of appearance and self-worth, even in the presence of unconditional love. The premiere at the Festival will be Chenillo’s second visit. Her previous film, Nora’s Will, won the Audience Award at MiamiFF26 in 2009.

Root (Raiz) (Chile), directed by Matías Rojas Valencia. FLORIDA PREMIERE. What happens when the estranged, abused 20-something daughter of a privileged family spontaneously adopts a nine year old boy orphaned from her domineering mother’s maid’s death? A long, rewarding road-trip, fraught with self-discovery, and bond-building.

SPANISH AFFAIR posterSpanish Affair (Ochos apellidos vascos) (Spain), directed by Emilio Martínez-Lázaro. EAST COAST PREMIERE. The 98-minute comedy is the all-time highest-grossing Spanish film at the domestic Spanish box office in 2014. A love-smitten Seville man must pretend to be a Basque man in order to win the girl of his dreams, highlighting the cultural divide between northern and southern Spain. The tensions of Basque separatist sentiments, exasperated by Spain’s economic crisis, are a difficult daily reality, providing a taboo-busting opportunity to ease the pain with laughter through a seemingly-innocent film that proves otherwise.

Vara: A Blessing (Bhutan / Hong Kong / Sri Lanka), directed by Khyentse Norbu. FLORIDA PREMIERE. Director Khyentse Norbu’s lush, breathtaking visuals unfold the story of India’s brutal, indiscriminate caste system, which too-frequently constricts the possibility for the simplest, earnest relationships. The communion of love, art and spirituality collide when a lower-caste Muslim enraptures a lovely Hindu girl through the earthy, artistic grace of pottery, complicating village elder plans of marrying Lila off to a wealthy scion. Vara: A Blessing is a triumphant expression of whirling dance, music and the boundaries of devotion. The film is accompanied by music from worldwide famed composer and producer Nitin Sawhney.

In addition to MIFFecito’s slate of premieres, visionary playwright and director Moisés Kaufman will host a special event titled A Conversation with Moisés Kaufman & THE LARAMIE PROJECT Retrospective Screening.The Laramie Project, his landmark 2002 HBO documentary, chronicles the legislative aftermath of gay teen Matthew Shephard’s hate-crime murder. The film, an exposé of intolerance and discrimination which echoes current news from Russia and Africa, offers fresh lessons in the ongoing war. The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act has positively impacted the past five years in the United States. The director will lead a post-screening conversation on the issues, techniques, and engagement his landmark film helped spark. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Kaufman is currently in Miami rehearsing for the November debut of Bizet’s Carmen, which is being co-produced by his Tectonic Theater Project.

For membership opportunities or more information, please visit www.miamifilmfestival.comor call 305-237-FILM(3456). Miami International Film Festival is the only major film festival event housed within a college or university.

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