The 2007 Miami International Film Festival wrapped up over the weekend in South Florida, presenting its awards on Saturday night at the festival and announcing a change in leadership as festival director Nicole Guillement makes her expected departure from a festival that has developed a strong reputation for showcasing world and Ibero-American cinema. As the event came to a close in Miami, organizers even touted a few deals that emerged in the final days of the '07 festival.
Patrick de Bokay will succeed Nicole Guillement as Festival Director in Miami following her five years as head of the event. De Bokay served as executive director of the first Bangkok International Film Festival, director of marketing for Twentieth Century Fox Theatrical in Paris, and VP of international marketing for Turner Pictures Worldwide Distribution in Los Angeles. Most recently he ran his own marketing consultancy in L.A. and Paris.
"I am proud of what we have all accomplished in the last five years. The international reputation of the Festival, the quality of the competition categories, the Encuentros program, and the Knight Grand Jury cash awards have served to elevate MIFF to one of the best festivals in North America," said Guillemet, in a statement. De Bokay added, in a statement, "I look forward to continuing the strong programming that Nicole and the team have put in place over the last several years. I also look forward to bringing the Festival even closer to the dynamic community where it resides."
Andrea Arnold's "Red Road" won the Knight Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Competition, also receiving a $25,000 prize and the film also won the FIPRESCI critics prize. Special mentions went to Bar Belfer for her performance in Oded Davidoff's "Someone to Run With" (Mishehu larutz ito) from Israel and Kirsi Marie Liimatainen's "Sonja" from Germany.
Francisco Vargas Quevedo's "The Violin" (El Violin) from Mexico won the Knight Grand Jury Award and a $25,000 prize, receiving the top award for a dramatic film in the Miami International Film Festival's Ibero-American Cinema Competition. Special jury mentions went to Jorge Sanchez-Cabezudo's "The Night of the Sunflowers" (La noche de los girasoles) from Spain for its soundtrack by Vasco Pedroso, to actress Carla Ribas for her role in Chico Teixeira's "Alice's House" (A casa de Alice) from Brazil, and to Paz Encina's "Paraguayan Hammock" (Hamaca Paraguaya), a production of Argentina, Paraguay, The Netherlands, Austria, France, and Germany.
Marco Williams won the $25,000 Knight Grand Jury Prize in the World & Ibero-American Documentary Feature Competition for "Banished," while a special jury mention went to Carles Bosch's "Septembers" (Septiembres) from Spain.
Audience awards went to Dror Shaul's "Sweet Mud" (Adama Meshuga'at) from Israel (World Dramatic Feature), Jorge Sanchez-Cabezudo's "The Night of the Sunflowers" (La noche del los girasoles) from Spain (Ibero-American Dramatic Feature Competition), and Alberto Arvelo's "To Play and To Fight" (Tocar y luchar) from Venezuela (World & Ibero-American Documentary Feature Competition).
A trio of Mortha American acquisitions peppered the festival in its final days, according to organizers who boasted a jump in acquisitions executive attendance in Miami this year. Netflix's Red Envelope acquired Tata Amaral's "Antonia" in a deal negotiated by company head Bahman Naraghi who brokered the deal with Amaral and co-producer Georgia Costa Arujo. The film is described as the story of, "an all-girl singing group struggling to make it on the outskirts of Sao Paolo."
"Antonia has some incredible soul," Naraghi said, in a statement. "Audiences are going to love Tata's unique style and the film's energetic and inspiring performances."
Also, Chico Teixeira's "Alice's House" (A casa de Alice) was acquired by FiGa Films in a deal negotiated by film reps Sandro Fiorin and Alex Garcia with producers Patrick LeBlanc and Zita Carvahosa. Finally, Venevision picked up "A Ton of Luck" (Sonar no cuesta nada), described as, " an amazing tale full of morality and with a unique insight into human nature." Shot in Columbia and Argentina, it is based on the true story of, "members of a Colombian anti-guerrilla patrol who happen upon a $46 million dollar cache of drug money."