We’re staying indoors and turning to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, crossword puzzles and even charades, but earlier this month, Miami went all out at the Miami Film Festival. There were fabulous parties, industry happy hours, short film programs, feature film premiers, and masterclasses. It was a week of walking around Downtown between screenings with a prideful “I heart Miami” grin and an extra spring in our step because we live here 365 days a year.

The 37th edition of MDC’s Miami Film Festival kicked off on Friday, March 6th at The Olympia with the premiere of The Burnt Orange Heresy with director, Giuseppe Capotondi and two of the protagonists, Claes Bang and Elizabeth Debicki presenting the film. Concluding the premiere, the Opening Night Extravaganza ensued with Such Is Life in the Tropics party at the The Historic Alfred I. duPont. There was music, dancing and the cuisine was curated by Gluttonomy featuring La Mar, Carrot Express, Lovelife Café, Honeyspot and many more treats. The bar was comprised of a 1930s hand-wrought bank teller window and there was even an arcade inside the original bank vault with a 50,000 pound door. If you’re from Miami and you’re all about experiencing gems in our city, Miami Film Festival’s opening made it the perfect night.

Miami Film Festival

On Sunday, March 8th, in support of the arts, the Knight Foundation presented their second edition spotlighting unique talent. Knight Heroes Master Class took place at The Olympia Theater with three courageous and inspiring filmmakers: writer and director of the recently released The Photograph, Stella Meghie; writer and director of The Last Blackman in San Francisco, Joe Talbot; Best Feature awardee at Film Independent Spirit Awards for The Farewell, Lulu Wang.

Spotlight Cinema in Downtown was the main location for the film festival. The new movie theatre housed the film festival on the 5th floor. Some screenings here were: 90 Minutes, Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back, Only the Animals, Historic Moment in Our Lifetime, My Little One, Instinct, The Last Rafter, Fabulous, Fairchild, Endure the Suck. Coral Gables Art Cinema showed Free Color and Miami Blues, Some Kind of Heaven. Tower screened Chateau Vato, Lara, and Letters to Eloisa. During the Festival’s opening night, Pablo Larrain’s Ema was awarded Oolite Arts Miami Film Festival Poster Design Award and Oolite Arts Miami Film Festival Trailer Award. The film was shown at Tower and will be one of the movies to look for this year!

One of the best participations of the film festival was the story of Marcel Marceau who joined the French Resistance during World War II to save the lives of thousands of orphaned children, extraordinarily made into the film Resistance, which premiered at The Olympia with writer and director Jonathan Jakubowicz in attendance. He spoke of his family’s Holocaust story and put the film in context for South Florida’s audience.

Miami Film Festival

The Miami Film Festival was shut down early due to the current health crisis, but they were successful in completing six eventful days of the festival: 66 features and 42 short films were screened, and four masterclasses took place. It was just a couple days short of the closing party and we missed out on four days of screenings: 21 features, six shorts, and two masterclasses. Whether it’s a house party, a full moon party on the beach or anything scheduled before a hurricane warning, Miami usually rides the wave as much as we can and they sure did.

We can look forward to seeing what we missed some time in the future at Tower and cinemas in our cultural city. Now more than ever, support local and independent filmmakers. Keep them in mind since we will all be watching their creations via streaming at home and we are reaping their efforts that once were shown at film festivals hoping to get seen by local and international audiences. Support comes in many forms; we can view the trailers that were part of the film festival program, follow the directors’ careers and make a note to see the films when they do come out in theaters.

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