Celebrating 40 Years of the Miami Film Festival

Madeline Volpe, Multimedia Video Editor

The Miami Film Festival has returned and will run from March 3-12. Ran by Miami Dade College, the festival holds screenings of international, Ibero-American and American films, featuring over 100 narrative feature films, short films and documentaries from around 40 countries.

“It’s also one of the only festivals that really gives a platform for a lot of Latin American film, even if it’s just local and small productions,” former Miami Film Festival intern Camila Guerrero said. 

Filmmakers have the opportunity to submit their films into competitive and non-competitive categories and can choose from different sections to apply for. 

“It’s a really nice way that shows local production film work from local directors and even just home directors in Miami and the local region,” Guerrero said.

Every year, festival awarding filmmakers hold competitions with cash prizes. For the past six years, the best feature film has earned the Knight Made in MIA, which is worth $45,000; the best short film gets $10,000. Another award is the $10,000 Jordan Ressler First Feature Award to those who directed their first feature film. 

“It’s pretty accessible to people who might make home videos or like to dabble and film a little bit themselves,” Guerrero said.

The festival has a section that allows fans to vote for the presented films. Others may come to the film festival to review the screened movies, providing an opportunity for others to give input towards the films. 

“My favorite part [of working at the film festival] was probably getting to watch movies that were submitted to the film festival and they kind of let me review and critique some of the films and kind of go over them and discuss what they didn’t like. So I kind of liked having the ability to set my own input when it came to reviewing film submissions,” Guerrero said.

This year, Variety gave out the Variety Legends and Groundbreaker award on March 5 at the MDC Wolfson Campus to Nicholas Cage. John Leguizamo received the Impact Award and Diego Luna won Variety’s inaugural Virtuoso award. 

At every film festival, there is an opening night film; the opening film for the 2023 Miami Film Festival was Ray Romano’s directorial debut “Somewhere in Queens.” 

To honor International Women’s Day, author Anna Bogutskaya hosted a masterclass discussing unlikeable female characters in film and television, and how these stereotypes affect women. 

The past 40 years of the Miami International Film Festival have given a voice and platform for local and international filmmakers, creating a path for new content in cinema.