TORONTO (INPS) - A unique partnership with Google on a new seminar series addressing gender and racial gaps in the film industry, particularly in technical cinematographic roles, is among new highlights unveiled January 12, 2016 by Miami Dade College's Miami International Film Festival, as Festival organizers count down to the 33rd edition of the acclaimed annual event March 4-13, 2016. The Festival is the only major film festival produced and presented worldwide by a college or university.
"Google has changed the world of technology and information in swift and radical ways," noted the Festival’s executive director & director of programming Jaie Laplante. "Who better to lead a new charge at changing long-standing gender and racial inequalities in opportunities in the world of film and technology? We are incredibly honored that Google has chosen Miami International Film Festival as a forum to discuss solutions and inspire new filmmakers wanting to scale the heights of their chosen profession."
The Google Seminar Series on Gender & Racial Gaps In Film & Tech will take place in The Idea Center at Miami Dade College and other locations over four days, March 5-8, within the overall Festival program. Among the highlights of the series will be veteran cinematographer Kirsten Johnson's screening and discussion of her feature memoir, Cameraperson, set to world premiere at Sundance Film Festival later in January. Johnson's film covers her extensive career working on such films as Citizenfour and The Invisible War.
“Our research shows that when it comes to encouraging women and underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in computer science and other technical fields, positive role models matter, which makes the work of the film industry so powerful,” said Julie Ann Crommett, Google CS Education in Media Program Manager.
“We’re thrilled to support the Seminar Series on Gender & Racial Gaps In Film & Tech at The Idea Center at Miami Dade College to shed light on this important issue and inspire more creators to showcase positive portrayals of women and underrepresented minorities in tech.”
The Festival also unveiled 21 additional new feature films for the 2016 program, highlighting some of the year's most superb accomplishments. All films in today's announcement have the special distinction of having been directed by women. The films include:
JOHN S. & JAMES L. KNIGHT COMPETITION
- Francesca Archibugi's An Italian Name (Il nome del figlio), starring Alessandro Gassman and Valeria Golino. Archibugi returns to Miami after having closed the Festival in 1989 with her film Mignon Has Left.
- Liz Garbus' Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper (also eligible for Knight Documentary Achievement Award). The celebrated CNN journalist interviews his famous mother, now 91, about her eventful life, romances and tragedies.
- Dawn Porter's Trapped (also eligible for Knight Documentary Achievement Award), a look at legislative moves at the state level attempting to turn back hard-fought women's rights from only 40 years ago.
KNIGHT DOCUMENTARY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
- WORLD PREMIERE of Shaina Koren's The Rebound, a Miami-made film about the Miami Heat Wheels basketball team.
- American filmmakers and Oscar nominees Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, a candid look at the legendary barrier-breaking TV producer of the 1970s.
- Tocando La Luz (Touch the Light) Jennifer Redfearn’s (USA), which follows three interwoven stories of blind residents in Havana, Cuba.
- Weiner, by American filmmakers Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg, a look at the entertainment spectacle of American politics through the media frenzy surrounding Anthony Weiner's 2013 comeback campaign.
- Marcia Tambutti Allende's Beyond My Grandfather Allende (Allende, mi abuelo Allende), a Chilean/Mexican coproduction that won the first-ever Documentary Award presented at 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
LEXUS IBERO-AMERICAN FEATURE FILM COMPETITION
- WORLD PREMIERE of Brazilian screenwriter Vera Egito's Restless Love (Amores Urbanos), her feature film directorial debut, set in São Paulo.
- NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE of Cuban filmmaker Jessica Rodriguez's Dark Glasses (Espejuelos oscuros), partially presented as a work-in-progress at the 2015 Festival in the Emerging Cuban Independent Film/Video Artist program presented by The Related Group.
- NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE of Colombian filmmaker Angela Maria Osorio Rojas (co-directed with her partner Santiago Lozano Alvarez)'s Siembra (also competing for the Jordan Alexander Ressler Screenwriting Award), a tale of an uprooted coastal fisherman learning to build a new life in the urban center of Cali.
- Daniela Goggi's Abzurdah, a drama about a young high school student driven to anorexia over her affair with an older man, a box office smash hit in its native Argentina.
- Ana Katz’s Mi amiga del parque, also from Argentina, a psychological drama workshopped in the Festival’s Encuentros program in 2015, and making its international debut at Sundance Film Festival 2016.
JORDAN ALEXANDER RESSLER SCREENWRITING AWARD
- Israel filmmaker Yaelle Kayam's debut film Mountain, about the wife of an Orthodox scholar living next to Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, who discovers her own mountain of unexpressed sexual desire deep within.
- US PREMIERE of German filmmaker Theresa von Eltz's 4 Kings (4 Könige), a touching drama of four emotionally troubled youths learning to trust each other at a recovery facility.
- French filmmaker Catherine Corsini's Summertime (La belle saison), starring Cécile de France as a Parisian at the forefront of the women's liberation movement in the early 1970s.
- French filmmaker Maïwann’s My King (Mon roi), which won a Best Actress award at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival for Emmanuelle Bercot.
- Indian filmmaker Leena Yadav's Parched, a luminous drama about three women from rural India liberating themselves from demeaning patriarchal traditions.
- WORLD PREMIERE of Miami filmmaker Monica Peña's experimental sophomore feature film, Hearts of Palm (also competing in Knight Competition), featuring music by lead actor Brad Lovett.
LEE BRIAN SCHRAGER'S CULINARY CINEMA
- Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase's Sweet Bean (An), a beautiful story of an elderly dorayaki maker passing on the wisdom of her culinary craft.
- Megan Riakos' Crushed, a murder-mystery thriller set on a vineyard in rural Australia.
These titles join the previously announced women directors from Spain in the 2016 Official Selection: Paula Ortiz’s The Bride (La novia); Gracia Querejeta’s Happy 140 (Felices 140); Juana Macías’ We Are Pregnant (Embarazados); and Veronica Escuer & Cristina Jolonch's Snacks, Bites of a Revolution (Snacks: Bocados de una revolución).
More announcements will follow as the Festival prepares to unveil its complete program. In addition to the sponsors acknowledged above, the Festival also thanks Telefilm Canada, Frederick Wildman & Sons, German Films, the Consulate General of Canada in Miami and the Consulate General of Germany in Miami for program-specific support.
The Jordan Alexander Ressler Screenwriting Award recognizes and supports first-time produced screenwriters. It was created by the South Florida family of Jordan Alexander Ressler, an aspiring screenwriter and Cornell University film studies graduate who, during his brief entertainment career, held production positions with the Tony award-winning Broadway hits 700 Sundays with Billy Crystal and Jersey Boys. [INTERNATIONAL PRESS SYNDICATE – 13 January 2016]