The Miami International Film Festival concluded its 23rd edition this past weekend by awarding Grand Jury prizes to four films in the World and Ibero-American competition. Mexico director Juan Carlos Rulfo won the top prize in the Documentary Feature Competition for his film, "En El Hoyo" ("In The Pit"), which takes a look at the construction workers who toiled for years to build the second deck of a Mexico City freeway. In 1997, Juan Carlos Rulfo won international festival praise for his film, "I Forgot, I Don't Remember," which he made in homage to his father.
Two special Grand Jury Mentions were also awarded in the Documentary Features competition. Swedish directors Erik Gandini and Tarik Saleh were honored for their documentary "GITMO-The New Rules of War" about the terrorist prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, and Adan Aliaga for "My Grandmother's House," which examines the themes of generational change and modernization in Spain through the relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter.
In The Dramatic Features category, Spain director Santiago Tabernero took the Grand Jury Prize in the Ibero-American Cinema Competition for "Vida y Color" ("Life in Color"), and in the World Cinema Competition, there was a tie; both "Accused" by Jacob Thuesen of Denmark and "Burnt Out" by Fabienne Godet of France won the $25,000 Grand Jury prizes. "Vida y Color" is a coming-of-age tale wrapped in mystery. The plot line follows a young boy living under the repression of the Franco regime in Spain during the 1970s. The Ibero-American competition was designed to showcase the films of first and second-time directors from Latin America, Spain and Portugal.
Similarly, the World Cinema competition honors new filmmakers from around the world. This year's winners are both psychological thrillers from European filmmakers. "Accused" is about a father who is accused by his teenage daughter of molesting her. The daughter, thought to be a pathological liar, complicates the process of finding out the truth. "Burnt Out," set in France, is the story of a white-collar worker who mysteriously leaves town after fellow co-workers have been killed. The film follows this man on his journey out of town while keeping the audience in suspense about whether he has any connection to the killings. Other special Grand Jury Mentions went to "7 Virgins" by Alberto Rodriguez of Spain for extraordinary vision in directing and Brazil director Sergio Machado's "Lower City" for excellence in performing by actors Alice Braga, Wagner Moura and Lazaro Ramos.
The International Federation of Film Critics awarded their prize (the FIPRESCI) to Polish director Piotr Trzaskalski for "The Master," which was an entry in the World Dramatic features category. The Miami Encuentros award is unique to the Miami Film Festival and was started in 2003 to connect emerging producers from Spain and Latin America with U.S. industry professionals, and this year's award went to "Fraternal Love" by Lais Bodansky of Brazil. He received a Soundpost Music License Grant for $130,000.