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10 Days of Miami Cinema

By Isabel Pulgarin

The 10 days of the Miami Film Festival showed the soul of Miami and new hidden gems from creators from across the world. This year, Miami Dade College’s festival showcased over 185 feature films, shorts, and documentaries from all over the world. Delayed a month to April 5-14, this South Florida beacon of cinema featured more films from other major festivals like Sundance and South by Southwest, also known as SXSW. 


Local Talent 

Bursting with MDC alums and Miami natives, there were over 40 features with familiar places and familiar faces. 


Ramiro Batista as Alex in “Fallen Fruit” Photo courtesy of the Miami Film Festival

“Fallen Fruit” is one of my favorites from the bunch, sharing the story of a young 20-something trying to find his path after having to move back home to Miami. As he explores his roots and who he is with a big hurricane on the way, the story and its details served as a sentimental ode to Miami at the world premiere. Director Chris Molina is a MDC alum. 

Some other notables include “Puffing Iron” out of Little Havana, “A Communist Brainwashed My Daughter” from Hialeah, and “Mountains” out of Little Haiti. 


“Resident Orca” also had its world premiere at the festival. It was the story of Lolita, the famous killer whale, detailing her heartbreaking captivity and the quest to free her. She died last October due to multiple chronic illnesses. It also shows what conditions brought on the eviction of Miami Seaquarium in March by Miami-Dade county following the death of the whale and over 120 other animals as well as multiple other violations. The facility has tried to better conditions since then.  


Award-Winning Talent 

Several celebrities attended the festival to receive awards and engage in conversations about landmarks in their careers.  


Tom Hiddleston receiving the Virtuoso Award from Variety at the Miami Film Festival. Photograph by Alyssa Leal

Tom Hiddleston, Marvel’s Loki, received the Variety Virtuoso Award on April 9 at the Adrienne Arsht Center to honor his roles across film, theater and television.  


Molly Ringwald, an American treasure of a child actor, received the Variety Creative Vanguard Award for her decade spanning career in film and TV. On April 6 at the Chapman Conference Center at the MDC Woldson campus, she talked about her time as an ’80s it-girl for her iconic movies: “The Breakfast Club,” “Sixteen Candles,” and “Pretty in Pink.” If you haven’t already seen them, it’s about time you do. 


Emmy-Winner Sheryl Lee Ralph received the Precious Gem Award and stopped by the Chapman Center on April 13 to talk about her new hit show “Abbott Elementary” and her Broadway career. 


Tony Goldwyn, everybody’s favorite fictional president from “Scandal” received the Art of Light Award after the closing night Arsht Center screening of the new film he directed called “Ezra,” starring Robert De Niro, Bobby Cannavale and Rose Byrne, which highlights the heartwarming love of a family and a boy with autism.  


Spotlight on Cuba 

Alejandro Rios hosting a screening of Nicolás Gullién Landrián Retrospective Shorts at MDC’s Koubek Center. Photo courtesy of the Miami Film Festival

Hosted by renowned film critic Alejandro Rios, there were nine feature presentations under this category between MDC’s Koubek Center in Little Havana and the Arsht Center. Some notables were “The Asylum” based in Little Havana, “Unión de Reyes,” directed by and starring Miami-born Danny Pino from “Law & Order: SVU” and “Los Frikis,” which had its world premiere with the full cast at the Arsht Center on April 6.  


My favorite, besides “Los Frikis,” was the block of short documentaries by Cuban filmmaker Nicolás Gullién Landrián. 


“I think this is the comeback of Nicolás Gullién Landrián, who happens to be Afro-Cuban He was totally censored in Cuba and they put him in three prisons—different prisons—so this is a tribute that he really deserves,” Rios told audiences. 


More of The Buc’s Must Watch List 

  • “Thelma” to laugh with all the generations of your family 

  • “Sing Sing” to watch the healing power of theater 

  • “Daughters” for a heartwarming doc 

  • “The Idea of You” for a new romance  

  • “Ghostlight” for a sentimental watch 

  • “Women in Iran” for a feminist doc 

  • “Manicure” for a short thriller 

  • “Fred” — a short for Titanic fanatics 

  • “Letter From the Age of Ecoside”  — a poem for the earth 

  • “La Suprema” for Afro-Colombian motivation 


You will be able to find all features on various streaming platforms within the next year and on independent film sites.  


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