Miami Film Festival GEMS To Be Held Virtually Oct. 8-11

The seventh annual Miami Film Festival GEMS is going virtual this year from Oct. 8-11.

This year’s lineup will feature eighteen films that will be available on the Miami Film Festival app in the Apple App Store and on the TV and movie streaming service, Roku. It will also feature live stream Q&As.

 “With COVID, people are craving new entertainment that’s accessible in a safe way, and with GEMS, we worked really hard at accomplishing just that,” said Miami Film Festival Co-Director of Programming, Lauren Cohen. 

This year’s festival will kick off on Oct. 8 with a Drive In-Screening of the documentary, The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart on Oct. 8 at Dezerland Park,14401 N.E. 19 Ave. in North Miami. 

The film produced by Jeanne Elfant Festa and written/produced by Mark Monroe is the first-ever authorized documentary on the Bee Gees. 

Attendees can purchase tickets here

GEMS will continue its partnership with Variety and host a virtual panel with some of the magazine’s 10 Latinx to Watch list of entertainers on Oct. 9. This year’s list includes actress Camila Mendes (Palm Springs, Riverdale), cinematographer Carolina Costa (Workforce, Hala, Wander Darkly), director Cesar Mazariegos (High & Mighty, The Simpsons), and music producer Tainy (Bad Bunny’s X 100pre). 

The list of entertainers to attend the virtual panel on Oct. 9 is yet to be announced. It was originally scheduled to take place at the Miami Film Festival in March before it was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The festival is also known for its international selection of films and this year is no different. Viewers will be able to stream films from Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Africa. Those films will compete for the GEMS Festival top prize, the $25,000 Knight MARIMBAS Award supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The titles include Black Bear (U.S.), a comedy thriller directed by Lawrence Michael Levine starring Aubrey Plaza and Christopher Abbot. It is about three people with very different personalities spending a night at a remote lake house.  

Kokoloko (Mexico), starring Alejandra Herrera, is a thriller directed by Gerardo Naranjo. The film’s main protagonist is being held captive by her violent cousin in a tropical seaside village. Noé Hernández, who plays Herrera’s love interest in the film, received a Best Actor prize at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival.

Night of the Kings (Ivory Coast, France, Canada, Senegal) is a drama about a young man who is sent to prison and must tell other prisoners stories to survive. The movie is directed by Philippe Lacôte. 

Rosa’s Wedding (Spain) is a comedy directed by Icíar Bollaín, and Undine (Germany, France) is a romance/drama directed by Christian Petzold that received a Best Actress prize (Paula Beer) at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival.  

The first two films announced to compete for the 2021 MFF $10,000 Jordan Ressler First Feature Film Award are both American. Ekwa Msangi’s Farewell Amor and Emma Seligman’s Shiva Baby, which is a comedy about a girl running into her sugar daddy while at a family shiva. 

GEMS will host five special screenings, including three that were originally supposed to run during the 2020 Miami Film Festival in March. They include the drama Out in the Open, directed by Benito Zambrano; the 2020 Miami Film Festival $10,000 Jordan Ressler First Feature Film Award winnerElla Es Cristinadirected by Gonzalo Maza; and Us Kids, a documentary about students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School speaking out against gun-violence directed by Kim A. Snyder.

The other two are My Prince Edward (Hong Kong), directed by Norris Wong Yee-Lam, who won Best New Director at 2020 Hong Kong Film Awards, and Sound of Metal (U.S., Belgium), directed by Darius Marder. It stars Riz Ahmed who plays a heavy metal drummer who is starting to lose his hearing.

Competing for the Documentary Achievement Award are three American documentaries: Finding Yingying directed by Jiayan “Jenny” Shin, We Don’t Deserve Dogs directed by Matthew Salleh, and Women in Blue directed by Deidre Fishel that dives into the challenges of women in law enforcement at the Minneapolis Police Department. 

Individual movie tickets are $9.99 (plus fees), but if you plan on watching multiple films, your best bet might be to purchase the GEMS Virtual All-Access Pass, which is $80. It gives you access to any of the films playing at this year’s festival. Variety’s 10 Latinx to Watch virtual panel is an extra $3.

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