Jaie Laplante: Film Fanatic

Categories: Film and TV

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Photo by Stian Roenning
"I think cinema has always been part of my DNA," says Jaie Laplante.
In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.

If Miami is the bridge from Latin America to the Unites States, the Miami International Film Festival is its silver-screen ambassador. For decades, the annual event has introduced audiences to international talent and innovation, highlighting independent films from newcomers and veterans alike.

The man behind the curtain amid the festival's exponential growth since 2010 is director Jaie Laplante, a producer, curator, and longtime film fiend.

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Nathalie Zarate: Belly-Dance Superstar

Categories: Dance

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Photo by Stian Roenning
Nathalie Zarate is proud to have served as a mentor to dozens of young girls.
In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.

These days it's entirely fair to call Nathalie Zarate a belly-dance superstar. She runs the popular Dreams Bellydance Academy in Pembroke Pines, has appeared in music videos of stars like Timbaland and R. Kelly, and organizes the Miami Bellydance Convention, which draws performers and instructors from all over the world.

But in the early '00s, Zarate was a struggling young recent immigrant trying to find her own American dream. She found work delivering food for a Colombian cafeteria downtown, and one night colleagues invited her to Taverna Opa, a Greek restaurant in Hollywood.

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Naomi Fisher: Creative Soul

Categories: Art

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Photo by Stian Roenning
Naomi Fisher is concerned with keeping Miami connected to the cultural world.
In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.

Naomi Fisher traces her current success to the web of relationships she built with Dade's class of "creative weirdos" at Miami's art magnet school programs. Not that she always intended to stay put in the city that shaped her creative identity.

"I was isolated in the deep suburbs," she says of growing up in the Miami of the 1980s and early '90s. "It was gnarly. I just wanted to get the hell out."

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Edouard Duval-Carrié: Reimagining Caribbean Roots

Categories: Art

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Photo by Stian Roenning
Edouard Duval-Carrié and Miami grew up together.
In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.

The art hung like sparkling portals to another world. Lining the walls of the dim room, lit from above by giant, ornate chandeliers, the pieces glittered in hues of pink and purple, forming tropical landscapes against a black background. To most viewers, the works in Pérez Art Museum Miami's "Imagined Landscapes" exhibit looked like an ethereal paradise.
To artist Edouard Duval-Carrié, they looked like home.

Duval-Carrié spent his childhood in the Caribbean, living between Puerto Rico and Haiti until, at the age of 16, he transferred to a high school in New York. He went on to college in Canada and lived in Paris for about a decade after that. But he never stopped thinking about his island roots.


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Daniela Ramirez: Everyday Runway

Categories: Fashion

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Photo by Stian Roenning
Daniela Ramirez says she stays inspired by designing for Miami's unique audience and its unusual climate.
In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.

In the runway world, Miami's reputation is simple: The high fashion is there, all right, but so are the dauntingly high prices. Don't tell that to Daniela Ramirez. The blogger has amassed a huge fan base by detailing the Magic City's abundant glamour for the everyday girl.

The 26-year-old's website, Nany's Kloset, is an online showroom of daily looks, including street wear, celebrity trends, and Miami's own flair -- a combination that has inspired more than 12,000 Twitter followers to find fashion in unexpected, affordable avenues.

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Aimee Carrero: Storyteller Onstage

Categories: Film and TV

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Photo by Stian Roenning
Aimee Carrero says her main goal is to continue acting in as many productions as possible.
In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.

What was once an old, empty classroom has been transformed into an intimate, dark black-box theater. Fresh black paint seeps into the wooden panels of the stage, which lacks a proper curtain. But the light fixtures on the ceiling and the rows of chairs facing the stage are enough to create the proper façade. Blackout. Shuffling feet scurry from stage right. Lights up. It's showtime.

These days, the 26-year-old Dominican-born, Miami-raised actress Aimee Carrero is on a fast track to Hollywood fame.

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Matthew Chevallard: Cool Kicks

Categories: Fashion

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Photo by Stian Roenning
For Matthew Chevallard, having Wade's approval was a watershed moment in his career.
In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.

Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook rock them. GQ calls them its "favorite slippers." Fashionistas from Milan to Manhattan fork over four figures for exotic models made of ostrich skin or stamped with gold designs from famed artists.

So it's hard to believe the man behind Del Toro Shoes, one of the hottest brands on Earth, is only 28 years old. Yet Matthew Chevallard has built a mini footwear empire spanning from his Wynwood showroom to his production facilities in Italy.

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Borscht Film Festival Announces 2014 Lineup

Categories: Film Festivals

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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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Nery Saenz: Killer Comic

Categories: Comedy

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Photo by Stian Roenning
"All my co-workers said, 'You should do standup, you should do standup,'" Nery Saenz remembers.
In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.

Nery Saenz is a funny guy. Everybody around him can sense it. In fact, his friends and co-workers have been predicting his success in standup comedy for more than a decade.

The problem was that Saenz couldn't see it himself.

"All my co-workers said, 'You should do standup, you should do standup,'" Saenz remembers. "But I always just kind of brushed it off." After all, Eddie Murphy, Saenz's comedy idol, had begun his career at the age of 16. Saenz, then 22, figured he'd missed his chance.
But at the urging of a fellow comic, Saenz signed up for a standup competition in 2003. When he finally took the stage, he killed.


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Rebekah Monson: The Life-Hacker

Categories: Technology

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Photo by Stian Roenning
"There isn't going to be another Silicon Valley. We are going to be Miami," says Rebekah Monson.
In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.

A conversation with Rebekah Monson is like that moment in The Matrix when Neo sees everything in computer code. She may not practice kung fu or pluck bullets from midair, but Monson understands the digital world we live in. As Miami's coding guru, she knows this city now faces a choice: Take the blue pill and stay a sleepy tropical town, or pop the red one and join the international tech revolution. Needless to say, Monson is pushing the red pill pretty hard.

"There is room here to grow and to do more kick-ass stuff in the digital space," she says. "We need to pull this city forward. We need to level up."

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