The Miami International Film Festival announced Wednesday, January 10th the full schedule of films for the 24th annual festival to be held March 2-11, 2007.
The Opening Night film this year will be Black Book from director Paul Verhoeven (Robocop, Starship Troopers, Basic Instinct). This tale of espionage, intrigue and betrayal is set in Nazi-occupied Holland.
On Wednesday, March 7th, MIFF will honor director Luc Besson with the Career Achievement Tribute for his distinguished body of work. Following the tribute, there will be a screening of Luc Besson's film Angel-A. Luc Besson is known for The Transporter 1 & 2, La Femme Nikita, and The Professional.
The Awards Night film will be Ira & Abby from director Robert Cary. Neurotic Ira and free-spirited Abby are a mismatched Manhattan couple who impulsively marry six hours after first meeting. Newly wedded bliss is short-lived, however, when meddlesome parents and ineffective therapists become involved. This warm, witty relationship comedy penned by actress-screenwriter Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein) took home the Audience Award for best narrative feature at the 2006 Los Angeles Film Festival. The film stars Chris Messina, Jennifer Westfeldt, Frances Conroy, Judith Light, Jason Alexander, Robert Klein, and Fred Willard.
On Sunday, March 11th, the festival will close the program with the World Premiere of the Spanish film The Heart of the Earth from director Antonio Cuadri.
Films in competition are eligible for a Knight Grand Jury Prize with the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Knight Grand Jury Prizes carry a cash award of $25,000 each in the three categories judged by three different juries: Dramatic Features (World Cinema Competition), Dramatic Features (Ibero-American Cinema Competition), and Documentary Features (World & Ibero-American Cinema Competition. Films in competition are also eligible for audience awards. On Saturday, March 10, 2007, the recipients of each award will be announced during the Awards Ceremony. The films in the Dramatic World Competition will also be eligible for a FIPRESCI prize.
A new audience award will celebrate the best of Latin American and Caribbean film. The Latin America Caribbean FedEx Express Audience Award will be given to a film made by a Latin American or Caribbean filmmaker or originated from Latin American or Caribbean country and featured in the non-competition categories of MIFF: Gusman Premieres and International Panorama. On Saturday, March 10, 2007 the recipient will be announced during the Awards Ceremony. On Sunday, March 11, 2007 the winning film will be screened at the Colony Theater in Miami Beach at 7pm.
Special programs featured throughout this year's festival include:
Gone But Not Forgotten – Two masters of Cuban music are being celebrated this year at the Festival. We are proud to present the World Premiere of La Lupe (USA) from director Ela Troyano and the East Coast premiere of El Benny (Cuba/UK/Spain) from director Jorge Luis Sánchez González. No better place than Miami to commemorate their lives and their music!
Special Animation: For Kids and NOT for Kids – In this special animation category, the Festival presents two strikingly different animated features. U (France) from directors Grégoire Solotareff and Serge Elissalde, is a fantastic, colorful and poetic adventure for young audiences—a magical tale of friendship, love, separation, death, and parental relationship. Princess (Denmark) from director Anders Morgenthaler takes a high and mighty line on the sex industry, mesmerizing the audience through its obsessive, over-the-top sex, violence and vengeance.
Touching Florida – The Festival proudly celebrates the latest works from filmmakers from Florida and from directors and producers with films whose subjects touch on Florida. Included in the program are: Bella (USA) from Director Alejandro Gómez Monteverde, Full Grown Men (USA) from director David Munro, Thanks to Gravity (USA) from director Jessica Kavana Dornbusch, Those I Left Behind (USA) from director Lisandro Perez-Rey.
The Big Picture: Modern Slavery – The Big Picture program highlights films that tackle world issues and the human struggle for life and dignity. Often asking more questions than they answer, these films aim to increase awareness and inspire dialogue that will lead to understanding and meaningful change. Ghosts, written and directed by the highly acclaimed filmmaker, Nick Broomfield, is based on the shocking true story of a group of Chinese illegal immigrants who were drowned while picking cockles in a British seaside town. Broomfield, whose credits include Biggie & Tupac and Kurt & Courtney, has stepped out of his documentarian role to create a grippingly compelling film that will change your views on the entire migrant population and leave you wondering about slavery in the 21st century. Ghosts was chosen to be the opening film at the 2006 San Sebastian International Film Festival and is in competition at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2007.
MIFF Abroad – A cultural exchange established in 2006, MIFF Abroad focuses on the filmmaking of one Latin American country each year. Given the tremendous resurgence of filmmaking in Colombia, this year the program will highlight new directors from that country and include a special program of films, discussions and events. Later this year, MIFF will travel to Colombia with films and U.S. industry professionals to participate in this program with the Colombian film industry.
Encuentros – For the fifth year, the Festival will present Miami Encuentros, which gives emerging producers from Spain and Latin America the opportunity to present new projects to U.S. and European industry professionals: producers, sales agents, television stations and distributors. This intensive three-day event fosters dialogue, builds lasting connections and offers opportunities for networking and the nurturing the next generation of filmmakers, providing access to distributors and thus, to the public.
REEL Education Seminars Series – The Miami International Film Festival, Miami Dade College and University of Miami School of Communication present film industry leaders and noted filmmakers as they share their experience, knowledge, and advice in a series of eighteen panels covering various aspects of the creative process, film production, funding distribution, new technology and independent filmmaking.
For more information about the 24th Annual Miami International Film Festival, please visit their website at http://www.miamifilmfestival.com.