It’s been a terrific 10 days but all good things come to an end; and after tonight’s screening of Dom Hemingway at Regal South Beach, so will the 31st edition of the Miami International Film Festival. Although movies will be screening until late Sunday, MIFF 31 officially closed Saturday evening with its posh Awards Night Ceremony and closing night film Rob the Mob at the Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for Performing Arts.
The big winner of the evening was A Wolf at the Door, a Brazilian kidnapping thriller from director Fernando Coimbra, which won the festival’s prestigious Knight Competition – Grand Jury prize as well as Best Director honors. Among the titles it beat out were Mexican coming-of-age comedy Club Sandwich, buzzed about Argentinean drama Septimo, the Costa Rican comedy All about the Feathers, and Sundance World Cinema Jury Prize winner To Kill a Man (which won the Future Critics’ Jury award).
Two films, John Maloof’s Finding Vivian Maier and Jesse Moss’s The Overnighters, shared the Knight Competition – Best Documentary prize while Nora Navas was handed the Best Performance award for her work in the Spanish drama We All Want What’s Best for Her.
Fading Gigolo, director John Turturro’s dramedy about a plumber who becomes a stud-for-hire after he loses his job, was the winner of the festival’s Audience Award. Gigolo, which also stars Woody Allen as Turturro’s pimp, was screened on Sunday, March 9 after a Career Achievement Award tribute to the actor-director and is scheduled to open in South Florida in May. Meanwhile, the Documentary Audience Award was handed to The Mountain, an account of three Dominicans who climbed Mt. Everest.
“We hoped that this year’s Festival would provide memories to treasure and it has absolutely delivered,” said MIFF Executive Director Jaie Laplante, via a press release. “From the magic of Hollywood glamor on opening night to the many superb films and engaging filmmakers that we enjoyed in the nine days that followed, MIFF 2014 has inspired and enraptured.”
Although I had originally planned on covering 10 movies, I ended up catching only seven. I’ve already posted my thoughts on Elsa & Fred, The Immigrant, Fading Gigolo and Only Lovers Left Alive, and I hope to do the same for The Congress, The Double and Dom Hemingway (which I see tonight) over the next few days. The ones I missed were Whitey, Web Junkie and most unfortunate of all, Siddarth, a Canadian film that I really wanted to see, especially with its connection to India.
More than 140 movies from 39 countries screened during South Florida’s premiere film festival, which opened last Friday with the North American premiere of Michael Radford’s Elsa & Fred. As I noted in my festival opener, this was my first year covering the festival as a press member – and as a whole, I’ve immensely enjoyed my experience. The jovial, easy-going atmosphere coupled with the shared experiences with my friends and colleagues Juan Barquin, Lauren Cohen, Steve Mesa, Hans Morgenstern, Ruben Rosario and Kai Sacco (they’re all covering the fest so make sure you click on their names to read their takes of the fest) have ensured that I’ll definitely be back. Hearing about all the fine movies that I missed, including the winners, only makes me want to expand my horizons next year.
And now… back to your regular scheduled programming!
Knight Grand Jury Prize: A Wolf at the Door (O lobo atrás da porta) (Brazil, directed by Fernando Coimbra).
Grand Jury Best Performance: Nora Navas of We All Want What’s Best For Her (Tots volem el millor per a ella) directed by Mar Coll (Spain).
Grand Jury Best Director: Fernando Coimbra of A Wolf at the Door (O lobo atrás da porta) (Brazil).
Jordan Alexander Ressler Screenwriting Award: Mateo written by Maria Gamboa (Colombia/France).
Knight Documentary Grand Jury Prize: Finding Vivian Maier, directed by Charlie Siskel and John Maloof (USA) AND The Overnighters, directed by Jesse Moss.
Lexus Audience Award: Fading Gigolo (USA, directed by John Turturro)Lexus Audience Award – Documentary: The Mountain (Dominican Republic, directed by Taba Blanchard)Lexus Ibero-American Opera Prima Competition Prize: Mateo directed by Maria Gamboa (Colombia/France)
Papi Shorts Competition Prize: A Big Deal, directed by Yoyo Yao.
Miami Encuentros Prize: Aurora (Chile, produced by Florencia Larrea, directed by Rodrigo Sepulveda)
Miami Future Cinema Critics Prize: To Kill A Man (Matar un hombre) (Chile / France, directed by Alejandro Fernández Almendras).
Reel Music Video Art Competition Prize: “Around the Lake” (“Autour Du Lac”) directed by Noémie Marsily & Carl Roosens of Belgium.
Signus Award: Belle directed by Amma Asante