Guillemet Unveils Remainder of Line-up for Miami International Film Festival
by Brian Brooks
The 20th anniversary of the Miami International Film Festival is rapidly approaching, with 65 features from 24 countries and nearly half world or U.S. Premieres set to screen. This will be the first year former Sundance co-head Nicole Guillemet will take the helm at the festival, which will open with director Emilio Martinez Lazaro's "El Otro Lado de la Cama" (The Other Side of the Bed) starring Paz Vega ("Sex and Lucia"). Also, MIFF will present its first career achievement award to Spanish Director Carlos Saura, the creator of such films as "Mama Cumple Cien Anos," "Carmen," and "Cria Cuervos."
The U.S. premiere of adult-oriented animated feature, "Eden" from Polish writer/director Andrzej Czeczot, will screen midweek. The film, described by the festival as an "animated feast of color and sound," took 60 artists five years to complete and deals with a post-Eden world where good and evil battle continuously for control.
MIFF is presenting two films under its "Big Picture: Issues of Our Time" banner. Screening in the program is Andrew Levine's "The Day My God Died," about child trafficking in Bombay, where some observers estimate that 200,000 girls are kept as sex slaves. The film is narrated by Tim Robbins and Winona Ryder. Also included is "Pandemic: Facing AIDS," from director Rory Kennedy. The film, which screened at the United Nations late last year, tells the stories of individuals in Brazil, India, Russia, Thailand, and Uganda, who, facing death, strive to live with meaning and dignity. A discussion will follow both films and will feature public figures as participants. Admission to the discussion, set for March 1, at the Regal Cinemas South Beach, is free.
As part of the Festival program, MIFF will once again offer free screenings on South Miami Beach, this year at Nikki Beach Club. Called "Beachstock," the musically themed four-film series includes "Stop Making Sense," Jonathan Demme's classic 1984 concert film on David Byrne and Talking Heads; "Victor/Victoria," the gender-bending farce starring Julia Andrews; a 25th-anniversary edition of "Grease," and "Hairspray" the John Waters camp romp.
French director Daniele Thompson's "Jet Lag" starring Oscar nominee Juliette Binoche will be the Festival's closing night film on March 1. "We are extremely proud of the 20th-anniversary program," said Guillemet. "We have assembled a wide variety of outstanding film & pictures that tell compelling stories from an incredible range of cultural perspectives."