Festivals & Fairs Miami-Dade County Visual Arts

37th Annual Miami Dade College’s Miami Film Festival

March 6 – 15, Olympia Theater, Silverspot Cinemas, MDC’s Tower Theater Miami, and Coral Gables Art Cinema

The Burnt Orange Heresy, the fifth screen adaptation of the works of late Miami noir novelist Charles Willeford, starring Mick Jagger, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Debicki and Claes Bang, will open the 37th edition of Miami Dade College (MDC)’s acclaimed Miami Film Festival, on Friday, March 6 at downtown Miami’s historic Olympia Theater. In all, the Festival will present more than 125 feature narratives, documentaries and short films of all genres, from 30 different countries. 

A 35mm, 30th anniversary screening of the Alec Baldwin-Jennifer Jason Leighadaptation of Willeford’s Miami Blues (1990) is also planned for the Festival, as well as a month-long exhibition of Willeford memorabilia and odes to the other Willeford screen adaptations at MDC’s Tower Theater Miami beginning Feb. 7th and leading up to Opening Night. Willeford, who passed away in 1988, was a former writing professor at Miami Dade College for 16 years.

Mucho Mucho Amor, the Sundance-debuting documentary recently acquired by Netflix for worldwide rights, about the life and vision of legendary Puerto Rican astrologer Walter Mercado, will close the Festival on Awards Night on Saturday, March 14 at the Olympia. Filmmakers Cristina Costantini and Miami native Kareem Tabsch will be in attendance to present the film in person. Our Awards Night screening and Gala are presented and sponsored by ArtesMiami and U.S. Century Bank. The film includes interviews with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Eugenio Derbez and many others. The film, which will compete for the $30,000 Knight Made in MIA Feature Film Award, supported by John S. & James L. Knight Foundation, as well as the Festival’s Documentary Achievement Award, celebrates Mercado’s long history with Miami, and HistoryMiami Museum’s recent 2019 exhibition honoring Mercado’s 50-year legacy.

Academy Award-nominated actress Amy Ryan will receive the Festival’s Precious Gem Award on Monday, March 9th at the historic Tower Theater Miami. Ryan was nominated for the Oscar in 2008 for her supporting role in Ben Affleck’s Gone Baby Gone, and has been nominated for two Tony Awards. Ryan is also known for her film roles working with Oscar-winning filmmakers Alejandro Iñárritu, Steven Spielberg, Tom McCarthy, among many others, and for her popular role on “The Office” on television. Ryan will receive the honor as the Festival screens the Florida premiere of her tour-de-force lead performance in Lost Girls, directed by Liz Garbus. Garbus, a two-time Academy Award nominated documentarian, makes her narrative feature debut with Lost Girls, and will take part in a featured Marquee conversation on her career and new direction in narrative filmmaking.

Spain’s Goya-winning actress Emma Suárez will receive a Career Achievement Tribute, sponsored by Estrella Damm, and the Festival’s Precious Gem Award on Thursday, March 12th at the Silverspot Cinemas in downtown Miami. Suárez has won three Goya Awards (Spain’s Academy Awards), for Best Actress in The Dog in the Manger (El perro del hortelano) (96) and Pedro Almodóvar’s Julieta (16), and Best Supporting Actress for The Next Skin (La propera pell) (16). Suárez will receive the Festival tribute prior to the screening of the US premiere of her new film Window to the Sea (Una ventana al mar),and participate in an On-Stage Conversation with the film’s director, Miguel Ángel Jiménez. Suárez will also appear onscreen at the Festival in another new film, The Invisible (Invisibles), by Gracia Querejeta.

Knight Heroes, a program created with the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will return in 2020 after its successful 2019 debut. With a focus on the emerging new generation of South Florida moving image content creators, three bold and bright talents will share their insights, observations and advice about their creative paths and future outlooks in a two-hour in-person session at Olympia Theater beginning at 3:05pm on Sunday, March 8. This year’s edition features acclaimed horror filmmaker Ari Aster (Hereditary, Midsommar), writer-director Stella Meghie, whose new film The Photograph with Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield opens February 14, and Miami-raised filmmaker Lulu Wang (The Farewell).


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