The Miami International Film Festival Spotlights its “Encuentros”
by Brian Brooks
Former Sundance Film Festival chief, Nicole Guillemet, has a new gig down in much warmer south Florida as the director of the Miami International Film Festival. As the MIFF opened over the weekend, Latin American culture was in the spotlight for a festival destined to champion Iberoamerican film via the annual event’s newly inaugurated program, “Miami Encuentros.” The new program aims to spotlight Spanish and Portuguese filmmakers from Latin America and the Iberian peninsula in a city that has become a nucleus for Latin culture.
Guillemet envisions MIFF as a proper forum to spotlight these films in a city that has itself evolved into a gateway for the Americas. “We want this festival to become known as one where new films are found and tomorrow’s Sauras and Almodovars are discovered,” commented Guillemet on the new program in an event release.
Among the films participating in Encuentros this year is “La Nina Santa” by Argentine director Lucrecia Martel (“La Cienega”) and fellow Argentine Fernando Soanas’ “Aprhodite,” based on a novel by Isabel Allende. Also screening is Brazilian director Beto Brandt’s “O Amore e outros objetos pontiagudos.” Brandt’s latest feature, “O Invasor” won the best Latin feature prize at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.
The crossroads of the Americas donned its glittered best Friday night for the opening of the Miami International Film Festival at Miami’s elaborate Vizcaya Museum, a former estate built by Chicago industrialist John Deering. Guillemet, sipping a cerveza, greeted festival-goers dressed to the nines and enjoying the sumptuous spread of food and open bar around the spectacular gardens and waterfront of the Venetian-style villa. Guillemet reigned over a gilded evening to kick off an event that hopes to become the Sundance of Latin film.