In an afternoon filled with movies and mimosas, the Miami Film Festival unveiled its lineup for the 2019 program on Jan. 31.
Speaking to a crowd of filmmakers and media at downtown Miami’s Silverspot Cinemas, the festival’s executive director Jaie Laplante unveiled the collection of films, speaking about their versatility and roots in Miami.
“There’s a lot of touchpoints in Miami,” Laplante said in an interview with The Reporter. “A large amount of the program comes from Miami.”
The Festival, now in its 36th year, will open with the documentary This Changes Everything, a documentary examining the role of gender inequality in Hollywood. Directed by documentary filmmaker Tom Donahue, the film features Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett and Reese Witherspoon (among others) discussing the role gender inequality has affected in the industry. The film opens on March 1 at the Olympia Theater, 174 E. Flagler St.
It marks one of the 171 films being showcased at the Festival, with many of them featuring a wide range of languages and genres. The films will be shown at a number of venues across Miami, including five theaters at Silverspot Cinemas, the Olympia Theater, the Nite Owl Theater in the Design District and a pop-up cinema created by the Festival.
The Festival will also present Golden Globe-nominated actress Patricia Clarkson with the Precious Gem Award, the Festival’s most distinguished honor that honors notable achievements in film, on March 4 at MDC’s Tower Theater located at 1508 S.W. 8 St.
On the newer end, the Festival announced a new partnership with the Knight Foundation entitled “Knight Heroes,” which will have notable filmmakers from Miami offering their insights in their field at the Olympia Theater. For its first edition, the Festival will feature Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins (Moonlight, If Beale Street Could Talk), Boots Riley (director of 2018 Sundance hit Sorry To Bother You) and Aaron Stewart-Ahn (co-writer of 2018 breakout Mandy).
It will also be the second year of the Knight Made in MIA competition, another partnership with the Knight Foundation. The dual award ($30,000 to the best feature-length film and $10,000 for the best short, both amounts up from last year) is given to the best film that features a majority of its setting in South Florida and demonstrates a strong cultural connection to the area. Some films competing for the award are Magic City Hustle (which will open the series), Huracán and A Name Without a Place.
Closing the Festival will be the Awards Night Gala at the Olympia Theater on March 10. The ceremony will feature the North American premiere of the Spanish television series Gigantes and be presented by stars Juan Carlos Librado and Isak Férriz.