Miami International Film Festival Announces Full 2014 Lineup
With 30 years of festivals in its past, the Miami International Film Festival will mark the start of its fourth decade with some changes. It's been a gradual growth process to bigger and better things since festival director Jaie Laplante took the helm of the festival in 2011.
Photo by Hans Morgenstern Jaie Laplante announcing line-up of MIFF 31
"Last year was the 30th year, which was really about looking back at our history," said Laplante following a news conference Tuesday morning on the Miami-Dade College Wolfson Campus that included not only new spotlights on two new countries (Germany and Mexico) but also local filmmakers. "Now we are in our fourth decade, and we can really look forward and create lot of new memories so that in our 40th anniversary we can celebrate things that we're doing now," he continued.
Laplante first took the stage to announce the high-profile gala events, which will include films starring Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer, Andy Garcia, Woody Allen and Sofia Vergara as well as a career tribute to John Turturro. Lapalnte then offered a slide show highlighting competition films and the return of recent new categories including the popular Mayhem category, specializing in the Midnight film variety, and Lee Brian Schrager's Culinary Cinema, which pairs food-centric films with specialized dinners at high profile restaurants.
The highlight came when he invited several local filmmakers to the stage and asked them them to offer a single word describing their feelings about being a part of MIFF 31. True to the revolution of the Miami film scene, they could hardly hold themselves within the restriction. "Super excited" said Ronnie Rivera, director of International Noise Conference 2013. O Cinema's co-founder and director of Cherry Pop: The Story of the World's Fanciest Cat, Kareem Tabsch was even more colorful with: "Fuck yeah."
Though MIFF has gradually come to embrace local film talent, it's never given it such a prominent presentation. Monica Peña's surrealistic documentary Ectotherms will have its world premiere at the festival. She said, "By championing local filmmakers, MIFF situates our work within broader trends in independent film. And the independent film industry seems increasingly intrigued by the distinct point-of-view of Miami's filmmaker-- a Miami Wave, a Miami School, supported locally at every level, from funding to production to exhibition at our city's world-class festival."