"You are completely winded, and then you take a swig of rum:" Jonathan David Kane On Papa Machete

Categories: Film Festivals

Alfred Avril in "Papa Machete"
You don't have to look too deeply into the short film Papa Machete to see the ethos of the Miami-based film collective Borscht. The short is both poetic and absurd; observant and human.

For a short film no longer than nine minutes long, it offers a layered view of a fascinating aspect of Haitian culture. It's a beautiful tribute to one of the island nation's last remaining masters of tire machèt, a Haitian farmer named Alfred Avril, who passed away only a few weeks ago. Tire machèt or "Machete Fencing" has a fascinating history, the art grew out of the slave revolt that led to Haiti's independence in 1804.

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Borscht Film Festival 2014: Ten Must-See Films

Julian Yuri Rodriguez's Lake Mahar.
Not all sequels suck. Case in point: the Borscht Film Festival, which launches its ninth edition this week at venues across Miami.

The work coming out of the Borscht Corp. film collective has earned major accolades over the past several years. Bernardo Britto's Yearbook took home the Short Film Jury Award for animation at the last Sundance Film Festival, and this year two Borscht-produced shorts, Papa Machete and El Sol Como Un Gran Animal Oscura (The Sun Like a Big Dark Animal), will be screened at Sundance. Borscht has had a presence at that festival for five straight years now; films by the collective have also screened at SXSW, the Vienna International Film Festival, the Fantasia Film Festival, and others.

You can see all three films at the Borscht Film Fest's biggest event, Borscht 9, a screening of 29 short films at the Arsht Center this Saturday at 7:30. But plenty of other worthy pieces will show at a series of events taking place between this Wednesday and Sunday. The whole lineup looks like required viewing for anyone interested in Miami, or film, or Lou Gehrig, or stripper fights. Here are ten that look especially promising.

See also: Borscht Film Festival Announces 2014 Lineup

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Two Films from Borscht Lineup Selected for Sundance 2015

Following in the awesome footsteps of years past, films from the Miami-centric Borscht Film Festival are making national waves. Sundance announced today that two of Borscht's featured short films for 2014 have been selected to screen at the illustrious Sundance Film Festival next year: Papa Machete and El Sol Como Un Gran Animal Oscura (The Sun Like a Big Dark Animal).

Papa Machete, directed by Jonathan David Kane, tells the story of Haitian farmer Alfred Avril, one of the last remaining masters of tire machèt, the indigenous martial art created by Haitian slaves to defeat Napoleon's armies. Teaching about the practical and spiritual value of the machete -- which is both a weapon and a farmer's key to survival -- Avril provides a bridge between his country's traditional past and its troubled present.

In El Sol Como Un Gran Animal Oscura, directed by Christina Felisgrau and Ronnie Rivera of Bleeding Palm, a computer and a woman fall in love only to be torn apart because of their inappropriate feelings for each other. The film was written by Rivera and Bernardo Britto, whose film Yearbook won Sundance's Short Film Jury Award: Animation earlier this year.

See also: Borscht Film Festival Announces 2014 Lineup

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Borscht 2014 Premieres Teaser Trailer for Upcoming Films

There's only a week left before Borscht opens it doors. Get psyched up by enjoying this teaser of their upcoming films. There are conjoined twins, bodybuilders, sandwich meat, and vomiting. What's not to love?

See more: Borscht Film Festival Announces 2014 Lineup

Miami Jewish Film Festival Announces 2015 Lineup

Categories: Film Festivals

As the year comes to a close and January makes its way into our lives -- with both award season buzz and junk that studios want to dump -- the Miami Jewish Film Festival is ready to launch. And it has plenty of gems in its lineup.

Just over a month before kick-off, the festival has officially announced their lineup of 74 films from 20 counties for the 18th edition. The festival, which takes place January 15-29, opens with the Florida premiere of the black comedy, Mr. Kaplan, Uruguay's official entry to the Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film, and will close with the Florida premiere of documentary The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films.

See also: Borscht Film Festival Announces 2014 Lineup

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Stephanie Hutin's Art Captures Coming of Age in a Vanished Miami

Much like many Cubans in South Florida who longed for and spoke often of the pre-Castro Cuba of their memories, Miami-bred, Los Angeles based artist Stephanie Hutin is fixated on the pubescent period in her youth. It's a place in time that is so unique, she says, "You cannot understand it unless you were there."

Picture this -- as fellow Floridian, Golden Girl Sophia Petrillo might say -- Miami, the late '80s, early '90s. A young girl, coming of age, is listening to freestyle on the car radio, strapped in the backseat, watching cruise ships sailing out of Port of Miami.

Twenty years later, living on the other side of the country, she's using art to recapture that time and place. Hutin is well aware that the city of her youth during that sort of lonely era in its history no longer exists. Of that Miami, she remembers car clubs at her high school and eternal suburbs, and says, "I think about flip-flops. It was acceptable to wear flip-flops all the time."

Hutin's recent work, Kathleen, a short film screening at Miami short Film Festival this Saturday on Miami Beach, illustrates the time in young girls' lives when you meet your best friend and feel only "pure adoration" for her. It's part of a much larger script that showcases, what she describes as, "this gray area in girlhood when friendship and romantic love are the same thing," and a Miami of yesteryear.

See also: Sundance Institute Brings Film Development Workshops to Miami

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Borscht 2014: Meet AholSniffsGlue's Miami Bus Characters (Trailer)

Ahol's Miami crew made our 2014 Art Basel issue cover.
While AholSniffsGlue's signature sleepy eyes are popping up all over town for Miami Art Week, the Borscht Film Festival is showcasing one of his more personal artistic stories for their December film line-up.

Biscayne World, AholSniffsGlue's film collaboration with Borscht, recounts when the artist was the victim of a hit-and-run while riding his bike. The experience propelled his discovery of the weird wonder of Miami's bus system. Inspired by his fellow passengers, Ahol began "sneaking out drawings" every day at his then cubicle-based job.

"I started cropping the characters, putting them into every day scenarios; they were just chillin', my little posse that hung out with me," he says. "Little by little, I wanted to take it to another level, make it animation."

See also: Borscht 2014: Scarface Redux, Bodybuilders, and the Exclusive Online Debut of Soul O Here

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Borscht 2014: Scarface Redux, Bodybuilders, and the Exclusive Online Debut of Soul O Here

A still from Bleeding Palm's Scarface Redux clip.
The Borscht Corp. has been rolling out the announcements of late, including its commissioned short film line-up at this year's Borscht 9. The annual film festival dedicated to all things Miami is boasting a bunch of new events amid the usual screening fun.

In addition to the works by regional and local artists, including video director and Miami Heat filmmaker Gil Green; street artist AholSniffsGlue; puppeteer and comedian Pepe Billete, Miami rapper Trina and Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem, Borscht 2014 will feature workshops, a Downtown Miami film bike crawl, special screening events called Borscht Nites, theme parks, and the crowd sourced remake of Scarface.

Cultist caught up with Borscht's Lucas Leyva, who not only gave us some insight into the all the weird Miami shit we can expect, but the online premiere of Soul O, featured last year at Borscht.

See also: Borscht Film Festival Announces 2014 Lineup

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Borscht Film Festival Announces 2014 Lineup

Categories: Film Festivals

Ciara Osorio
Borscht has been quite the tease this season. The film fest dedicated to South Florida talent announced its 2014 dates back in October, and we've been hanging on for updates since. Film fiends got their wish today with the long-awaited lineup announcement, detailing the short films screening at this year's show.

The 29 projects were chosen from hundreds of applications to receive various degrees of production support, from cash grants to full development. The films must be made in, of, or about Miami and the only stipulation is that the projects engage the city in some way, whether thematically or literally.

"There is no one way we help filmmakers tell Miami stories -- we just try our best to help bring them to life with support from partners like the Knight Foundation and the incredible production community in South Florida," organizers say in the release.

See also: Screw the Ice Bucket: "Kickstart" Fund ALS Short Film, Earn Miami Heat Tickets

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Spanish Film 10.000KM Impressively Depicts Long-Distance Relationships

Long-distance relationships aren't exactly an easy thing to depict. This isn't to say certain filmmakers haven't tried, but the results -- like Going the Distance and Like Crazy -- have been of middling quality, at best. But 10.000KM understands exactly how distance plays a factor in the way some relationships work.

Kicking off with a gorgeous 22-minute scene that unfolds in one take, 10.000KM introduces the audience to its couple, Alex (Natalia Tena) and Sergi (David Verdaguer), who just happen to be the only characters in the film. They're living in Barcelona together, they're sexually fulfilled and completely in tune, as both the script and the lack of editing in this opening sequence show. But when Alex gets a grant to move to L.A. to work on her photography career, and she takes it, things get choppy for the couple, both figuratively and literally.

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