MIFF Director Jaie Laplante Talks MIFFecito Lineup at Tower Theater

A still from MIFFecito's opening night film Behavior.
In celebration of the reopening of Little Havana's beloved art house, Tower Theater, the Miami International Film Festival has announced a four-day mini-film festival featuring exclusive premieres, an opening night party, guests, and a seminar. The festival's director Jaie Laplante has dubbed the little festival MIFFecito in the spirit of the ubiquitous cafecito that defines the taste of the predominantly Cuban-American neighborhood where Tower sits.

The mini festival's film slate includes Behavior (Cuba), directed by Ernesto Daranas; The Blue Car (Germany/Cuba), directed by Valerie Heine; Carmina and Amen (Spain), directed by Paco León; I Can Quit Whenever I Want (Italy), directed by Sydney Sibilia; Lake Los Angeles (U.S.A.), directed by Mike Ott; Life Feels Good (Poland), directed by Maciej Pieprzyca; Paradise (Mexico), directed by Mariana Chenillo; Root (Chile), directed by Matías Rojas Valencia; Spanish Affair (Spain), directed by Emilio Martínez-Lázaro, and Vara: A Blessing (Bhutan/Hong Kong/Sri Lanka), directed by Khyentse Norbu.

See also: Miami International Film Festival To Announce MIFFecito Line-up, Offer Free Cafecito Today

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Miami International Film Festival: Jude Law Is Brilliant as a Cockney Crook in Dom Hemingway

We've been told to never judge a book by its cover, but we secretly always judge a movie by its teaser image. Skimming through the program of the Miami International Film Festival, there's one image that stands out of a man in a royal blue suit.

It's Jude Law like you've never seen him before.

Making its Florida premiere at MIFF, Dom Hemingway proves two things: Law is a sexy beast, and he's also quite the funnyman.

See also: Phoenix and Cotillard Fail to Save The Immigrant, Showing at the Miami International Film Festival

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Phoenix and Cotillard Fail to Save The Immigrant, Showing at the Miami International Film Festival

The beauty of the Miami International Film Festival is how it features plenty of up-and-coming filmmakers and short films, while at the same time sprinkling in the occasional big name or two.

Featured in the program this year is a film starring Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cotillard, who are by no means up-and-comers.

With a title like The Immigrant, it was a bold move to screen in a city whose vibrancy comes from people who have emigrated from all parts of the world. But alas, The Immigrant did not tell the story of an average Latino coming to Miami, but instead it was the tale of a beautiful Polish girl coming to New York City in the 1920s.

See also: Miami International Film Festival 2014: Five Must-See Films for the Final Week

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Miami International Film Festival 2014: Five Must-See Films for the Final Week

Only Lovers Left Alive
The second and final weekend of the Miami International Film Festival now approaches, and there is still so much to see.

This year has proven especially rich in finely executed cinema, but no sane person can see it all, especially since many screenings overlap (it's no easy task coordinating close to a hundred feature films in 10 days). In fact, some of the films in the list below have already screened.

Thank God for second chances because with the heavy amount of sell-outs this year and the usual tricky schedule made complicated by covering the distances between spread out venues, you're sure not gonna want to miss Florida Film Critics Circle member Hans Morgenstern's picks of five must-see films closing out the final weekend of MIFF 31.

None of these films overlap, so you can theoretically see them all. Give it a shot and remember to buy your tickets early lest you be relegated to the rush line. Fingers crossed you make it in to any of these screenings.

See also: Ectotherms Director Monica Peña Preps Audiences for Her Experimental Film's MIFF World Premiere

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MIFF 2014: Elsa & Fred Red Carpet with Anne Hathaway, Moonrise Kingdom Kid, and Director Michael Radford

Stars mingled with their fans at this weekend's premiere of Elsa & Fred
The 2014 Miami International Film Festival is officially underway, and Cultist was there as familiar-looking people followed a red carpet into the Gusman Center downtown for the opening night screening of Elsa & Fred.

The film is an unconventional romance that in the words of its star, Shirley MacLaine, is about "older people who fall in love before they croak." It's an independent movie, so she and her romantic interest, Christopher Plummer, croak in a racially motivated shootout during a drug heist gone wrong. (Maybe? We didn't stick around for the film.)

More salty talk from MacLaine in a bit but first, if the cast and crew wanted to get inside, they had to face our stupid questions on the red carpet. Or, failing that, at least ignore our timid waves.

"Anne Hathaway! Anne? Anne, I think you dropped your keys?"

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Director Kareem Tabsch on The World's Fanciest Cat: "Cherry Pop Was the First Cat Meme"

Photos courtesy of Kareem Tabsch
Before there was Grumpy Cat, or Nyan Cat, or Lil Bub, there was Cherry Pop.

A sweet, fluffy purebred Persian cat, Cherry Pop was the apple of her owner's eye. Her owners also happened to be filthy rich and spoiled her rotten. In Cherry Pop: The Story of the World's Fanciest Cat, Kareem Tabsch, co-founder and co-director of O Cinema, brings the story of Cherry Pop and her parents to modern audiences.

The short 10-minute film had its world premiere at the Miami International Film Festival this weekend, and we caught up to Tabsch to get more nitty gritty on the spoiled kitty.

See also: Miami Film Chub Debuts Wednesday at MIFF

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Miami Film Chub Debuts Wednesday at MIFF

For Samuel Albis and Alessandra Gherardi, this year's Miami International Film Festival will forever hold a special place in their hearts, because making its world premiere is their first-ever film, Chub.

This collaborative effort from the husband and wife duo marks her first screenplay and his directorial debut - and it screens for the first time in their hometown.

"It was written in Miami, funded in Miami, shot in Miami, post-produced in Miami, and debuting in Miami," Gherardi said with a warm laugh.

See Also: Five Must-See Films at the Miami International Film Festival This Weekend

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Miami International Film Festival: Argentine Animated Film Foosball to Premiere in 2014

David Beckham's not the only one who could bring soccer to Miami in 2014.

The Miami International Film Festival announced today that its 2014 fest would premiere the movie Foosball, an animated film from Argentina by Oscar-winning director Juan José Campanella.

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You're Next's Sharni Vinson on Horror, Hangovers, and Her Love for the 305

It's no doubt one of your worst fears. Thanks to Hollywood, just the thought of people breaking into your home to kill you has likely run through your mind. Even now, the idea probably sends a chill down your spine. Run to your neighbors for help? Nope, they're dead. Now, add masked invaders and the fact you are in the middle of freaking nowhere to the nightmare.

Meet You're Next, aka the next movie you need to see. (Good news: it opens today!)

Rotten Tomatoes explains it best: "an energetic and effective mix of brutal gore and pitch black humor will please horror buffs and beyond." Since it opened in 2011 at the Toronto Film Festival, the entire cast, crew, and directors have been on a nonstop tour of screeners with critics and film buffs alike. Thanks to the Miami International Film Festival and O Cinema, Miami was one of those stops. Even more luckily, the star of the film, Sharni Vinson, sat down with us after the screener to grab a beer, a piece of pizza, and talk about why she loves this movie and you should too.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

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Twenty Feet From Stardom Director Morgan Neville on His Own "Cinderella Moment"

Morgan Neville.jpg
If there was one standout moment during the 30th installment of the Miami International Film Festival, it was Darlene Love's performance of "Lean on Me" that followed the opening-night screening of Twenty Feet From Stardom, the documentary about back-up singers in which she is featured. (We've already written about how her pipes threatened the very structural integrity of the Gusman.)

Twenty Feet From Stardom, Morgan Neville's documentary about African-American female back-up singers and the first film to sell at this year's Sundance Film Festival, will be widely released to theaters June 14 by the Weinstein Company and is being put forth by many industry watchers as proof of the Weinstein brothers' resurgence following their separation from Miramax.

See also:
- Actor Brady Corbet on Francophiles, Old School Filmmaking, and Au Hasard Balthazar
- Everybody Has A Plan's Viggo Mortensen Wants To Tell You a Secret
- The Boy Who Smells Like Fish: Talkin' Tuna and Stank With the Cast and Crew
- Twenty Feet From Stardom: Darlene Love Dominates at MIFF Opening Night

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