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Miami International Film Festival 2006 Is Here
(released 2/2/2006)

The Miami International Film Festival has announced the films selected for the 2006 festival program. They have also released the festival poster, which includes a photograph called "The Light Entering the House," which can be seen in the media section of this website. This year, the Grand Jury prize pool has seen a tremendous cash contribution that will elevate and further define the film industry infrastructure in south Florida as world class. Filmmakers from around the globe will commence on the city of Miami from March 3rd through the 12th in a celebration of themes.

Here are some of the highlights, so you're not left in the dark.

Gusman Gala Premieres
Every night the latest films from world renowned directors and emerging filmmakers are showcased at the historic Gusman Theater. Look for themes of our times: world issues, poverty, war, comedy, drama, sex, and politics at this and every venue throughout the 10 days of films.

The films in competition are vying for the grand jury prize. This year the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation came to the table with a handsome seed to help plant the festival's future. The Knight Foundation will contribute $250,000 over three years to create the Knight Grand Jury Prizes as well as support the festival’s marketing efforts. The Knight Grand Jury Prizes will carry a cash award of $25,000 each in the three categories: Dramatic Features (World Cinema Competition), Dramatic Features (Ibero-American Cinema Competition), and Documentary Features (World & Ibero-American Cinema Competition).

The Miami International Film Festival has become a defining cultural event in South Florida, according to Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. "Events like this set an artistic standard that most cities can only hope for. But, our interest at Knight Foundation is that they also help define the community and give it a common language," said Ibargüen. "A festival of films can lead us to a better sense of who we are by showing us the great variety from which we come and view the world. That is essential to understanding each other and building community."

The opening night film will be the world premiere of "Heartlift" A successful plastic surgeon confronts a mid-life crisis and lives to tell the tale - just barely - in director Eliseo Subiela's sexy, frothy meditation on the madness of love.

Festival goers will then be able to party in the sky following the screening as the first party of the festival gets underway.

Touching Florida celebrates the latest works from Floridian directors and producers with films whose subjects touch on Florida. Feature films and documentaries are showcased in this special section devoted to the Sunshine State. Titles to watch for in this category are:

"Bob Marley & Friends"
"Class Act"
"Purvis of Overtown"

Another film with Florida imprints
"The Notorious Bettie Page" was partly shot in Florida and will have its Regional Premiere at this year's festival.

Festival alumni Andy Garcia will again exhibit his talents... directing and acting through a very personal piece called "The Lost City"

"a/k/a Tommy Chong" Director: Josh Gilbert (USA)
This documentary catches the stoner comedian using his brush with the Drug Enforcement Agency for fodder and reflection. Final score: The Feds, nine months; Tommy Chong, the last laugh? (East Coast Premiere)

The Career Achievement Tribute this year will shine light on Wim Wenders. His film "Don't Come Knocking" will screen at the festival. Director Wim Wenders and Playwright Sam Shepard re-team in a story about a western movie star looking for his past. Featuring Sam Shepard, Jessica Lange, Tim Roth, Eva Marie Saint and Sarah Polley. Wenders Film "Buena Vista Social Club" will be screening in celebration of Calle Ocho on the closing day of the festival March 12th at the Historic Tower Theater in Little Havana.

In addition, a program of more than 20 panels and discussions will be held throughout the 10-day festival. MIFF Abroad launches as a new film exchange program. The MIFF Abroad program will celebrate the filmmaking of one Latin American country each year. This year Chile is the focus. The exchange is made up of two components. The first part is here in Miami. US audiences will be exposed to first and second time filmmakers from the Chile. The second part being in Santiago as US and Chilean film professionals encourage, build contacts, share knowledge, all the while supporting Chilean filmmakers with the development and production process with advice from film industry advisors (producers, marketing executives, filmmakers, critics, etc.).

The closing night film will be "Friends with Money" What do the haves and have-nots have in common? They never have enough money! An ensemble cast of actors portray people on the brink of middle age, who only pretend to have it all together. Jennifer Aniston, Frances McDormand, Catherine Keener and Joan Cusack chase the almighty dollar, while we laugh and pretend we don't love money, designer clothes and bling-bling as much as they do. Screened at this year's Sundance Film Festival, this will be the film's East Coast Premiere.

The 23rd Annual Miami International Film Festival will showcase 117 Films - 92 Features and 25 Shorts. The 2006 Festival highlights 10 World Premieres, 34 International, North American & U.S. Premieres, and 31 East Coast Premieres. 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 in Miami Beach.

For more info, go to

To view pictures from the press conference held at Miami Dade College, go to the Photo Seen.

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