Back in March I had the great pleasure of attending the Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival, a world-class event with an incredible program, enriching industry events, and outstanding parties as they could only happen in Miami. But the festival doesn’t only shine in the spring, its permanent fall event is yet another film lovers haven and was created to whet Festivalgoers’ appetites for next year’s 33rd edition running March 4-13, 2016.The lineup for this event, appropriately titled GEMS 2015, was announced this morning
Taking place over four
days (October 22 – 25, 2015), GEMS will premiere highly acclaimed films from Cannes, Berlin & Sundance; Oscar hopefuls; and international
box office sensations from the U.S., Spain, Chile, Italy, France, Colombia, and many others. MDC’s Tower Theater Miami will serve as the
exclusive venue for all screenings and seminars.
Note that this is the only major film festival worldwide produced by a college or university.
GEMS will open with director John Crowley’s "Brooklyn," which premiered at Sundance back in January and stars Oscar-nominates actress Saoirse Ronan. The festival will close
with Warner Bros’ anticipated "The 33" starring Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche, Rodrigo Santoro, Cate Del Castillo, Mario Casas and Lou Diamond Phillips.
The Festival’s Executive Director & Director of Programming Jaie Laplante states, “Film festivals are dazzling times,
when the shiniest lights of the current cinema are collected in one place for a concentrated moment. So it is with this year’s GEMS selection, and I invite
film lovers of all types to experience las joyas de la corona of the season."
The GEMS film slate includes:
1. "Brooklyn" (USA / Ireland), directed by John Crowley *Opening Night Film
Adapted by Nick Hornby ("An Education") from the Colm Toibin bestselling novel, this 1950s story follows the life
of a young Irish woman caught between tradition and passion, between two countries and two futures. Starring Oscar nominee for Atonement, Saoirse Ronan, the cast also includes Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, Emory Cohen, and Domhnall Gleason.
2. "The 33" (USA / Chile), directed by Patricia Riggen *Closing Night Film
An international rescue effort to save 33 Chilean miners trapped 2,300 foot underground for 69 days in the Copiapó mine riveted over a billion people in
2010, and now a superb international film adaptation recreates the details of that unprecedented event. The epic list of cast names includes Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche and Rodrigo Santoro.
3. "The Assassin" (Taiwan), directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien *Winner of the Best Director Award at Cannes 2015
In 9th century China, 10-year-old Nie Yinniang is abducted by a nun who transforms her into an impressive warrior. One day, she is sent back to
the land of her birth, with orders to kill the man whom she was promised, and Nie Yinniang must choose: assassinate the man she loves or break forever from
the scared honor of her training.
4. "The Club" (El club) (Chile), directed by Pablo Larraín
Director Pablo Larraín’s follow-up to his global success and Oscar-nominated "No," (starring Gael Garcia Bernal), is a tough,
scathing and psychologically sobering indictment on the Catholic Church’s handling of moral failings within the institution.
5. "Embrace of the Serpent" (El abrazo de la serpiente) (Colombia), directed by Ciro Guerra *Winner of the Top Directors’ Fortnight Award at Cannes 2015
Guerra’s previous film, "The Wind Journeys" (2009), was an international hit and one of the 2010 Festival’s most popular films in Miami. For his new
film, Guerra travels deep into the wilds of the Amazon jungle, and into the dangerous territory of the historical past. This is an epic and thrilling
journey, capped with velvety, rich black & white cinematography, confirming Guerra’s status as one of Latin America’s most confident talents.
6. "Havana Motor Club" (USA / Cuba), directed by Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt
One of the most fascinating events of Miami International Film Festival in 2014 was filmmaker Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt’s special presentation on his creative
process in constructing his portrait of Cuba’s top underground drag racers of classic American cars. A year later, the film is now complete, and GEMS is
delighted to bring Perlmutt back to Miami to share the finished work.
7. "It’s Now or Never" (Ahora o nunca) (Spain), directed by Maria Ripoll
This summer’s biggest homegrown box office hit in Spain, It’s Now or Never pairs Spain’s newest film star, Dani Rovira, whose
charms help propel "Spanish Affair" (Ocho apellidos vascos) to become Spain’s all-time box office champion, with the luminous Goya winner María Valverde, who gets a rare opportunity to demonstrate her comedic gifts. The result is a frothy, frisky comedy of first-class
creative power, expertly timed and filled with joyous performances, from the leads to the delightful character actors found in even the smallest roles. Clara Largo and Alicia Rubio co-star in this comedy that once again proves no one does inspired silliness quite like the
(USA), directed by Trey Edward Shults
Winner of both the Grand Jury Price and the Audience Award at SXSW earlier this year, Trey Edward Shults’ highly personal and compelling
hypnotic drama was also selected at this year’s Critics Week in Cannes. Shults has already drawn comparisons to the work of legendary American independent
director John Cassavetes for their use of family members in the cast and also their maverick avant-garde style of shooting favoring characters and scenes
that envelop the viewer in both observation and emotion.
9. "Mia Madre" (Italy), directed by Nanni Moretti
Nanni Moretti’s "Mia Madre" is possibly his most personal film, and a master class on autobiographical cinema. It displays without question why
Moretti is considered one of the most skilled living filmmakers to create powerful universal drama out of our smallest little big tragedies. John Turturro co-stars.
10. "My Golden Days" (France), directed by Arnaud Desplechin *Winner of Directors Fortnight Award at Cannes 2015
After years working abroad, anthropologist Paul Dedalus (Mathieu Amalric) returns to France to find an explosive emotional time bomb
awaits him. This epic coming of age tale portrays first love as a candid, sensual and unique experience that his alter-ego discovers could leave a mark
that will last as long as life itself.
11. "A Perfect Day" (Spain), directed by Fernando León de Aranoa.
Spanish director Fernando León de Aranoa makes his first English language film with this Cannes-debuting tale of 24 hours in the lives of two veteran
humanitarian aid workers in the waning days of the 1995 Balkan War. Veteran Hollywood stars Benicio del Toro and Tim Robbins are in fine form as the leads, who hold on to their boyish charms even as they age with graceful wisdom.
12. "Trash" (U.K. / Brazil), directed by Stephen Daldry. *Special GEMS Preview Night on October 5, 2015.
Three-time Best Director Oscar nominee Stephen Daldry ("Billy Elliott," "The Hours," "The Reader") delivers the soaring triumphs of his earlier
successes, while shining a spotlight on the sobering challenges facing one of the world’s most closely-watched cities, Rio de Janeiro. The high-powered
cast includes Brazilian superstars Wagner Moura ("Elite Squad") and Selton Mello ("Jean Charles," "The Clown"), as well as Martin Sheen and Rooney Mara.
13. "Yona" (Israel), directed by Nir Bergman
Like a "living thunderbolt", the bold and nonconformist Yona Wallach stormed through Tel-Aviv’s male-dominated political and poetry
circles in the 1960s. Yona’s work eventually became recognized in the most prominent literary books and magazines of her time, and she was honored with the
Israeli Prime Minister’s Literary Award in 1978. Director Nir Bergman’s biopic vividly captures Yona’s highs, lows and her brave rebellion against a
chauvinistic society with her unique voice.
14. "Youth" (Italy), directed by Paolo Sorrentino
The space (and communion) between the generations is the subject of Paolo Sorrentino’s newest Fellini-tinged masterpiece. Coming off his 2014 Oscar win for
Best Foreign Language Film for "The Great Beauty," the Italian auteur is on a roll, orchestrating grand themes around life’s wisdom with a
phenomenal cast of actors including Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Jane Fonda.
In addition to GEMS slate of premieres, the festival will be hosting a heartfelt special Master Class Tribute to the late James Horner.
Known as Hollywood’s ultimate movie composer, he passed away in an aircraft accident this past June, not long after completing what would turn out to be
one of his final great scores – the music for Patricia Riggen’s "The 33." On the eve of the premiere of the film Miami-based feature film composer Carlos Rafael Rivera ( "A Walk Among The Tombstones," 2014) will take an in-depth look at Horner’s work and career, using cues to demonstrate the powerful, yet often subtle,
creative influence Horner brought to specific scenes and entire films.
Tickets will go on sale to Miami Film Society members exclusively on Friday, September 25, 2015 and to the general public on Thursday, October 1, 2015.
Tickets: 1-844-565-6433(MIFF) or www.miamifilmfestival.com/GEMS.