Birds of Passage (Pájaros de verano)
Birds of Passage (Pájaros de verano)

Miami Film Festival unveiled the full line-up of the GEMS 2018, the Fall edition of the annual festival, opening with Colombia’s Oscar submission Birds of Passage (Pájaros de Verano) and closing with Spain’s Oscar submission Champions (Campeones).

Miami Film Festival GEMS takes place October 11 to 14, at MDC’s Tower Theater Miami.

Bárbara Lennie, the acclaimed and much in-demand Goya-winning Spanish actress, will accept the Festival’s Precious Gem Award prior to the presentation of her newest film, Petra, directed by Jaime Rosales. Lennie also joins Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Ricardo Darín in Oscar-winner Asghar Farhadi’s Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben), which will also play at GEMS. Lennie’s other recent roles are well-known to Miami Film Festival audiences – her 2018 film A Sort of Family won the Festival’s Knight Competition Grand Prize, and her 2017 film Maria (And Everybody Else) won the Festival’s HBO Ibero-American Feature Film Award.

Cinematographer Diego García, touted as a strong contender for his first Oscar nomination for shooting Paul Dano’s directorial debut, Wildlife, starring Cary Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal, will receive the Festival’s Art of Light Award and participate in a conversation about his craft prior to the Florida premiere of Wildlife. Garcia’s previous credits include his Fenix Award-winning work on Gabriel Mascaro’s Neon Bull, and previous Miami Film Festival selections Cemetery of Splendor (2015) and The Darkness (2017). García will additionally lead a Master Class on Cinematography for attending local industry members and film students.

Returning for a second consecutive year to Miami Film Festival GEMS is the virtual reality (VR) sidebar Virtual Escape, in partnership with MDC’s Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex (MAGIC). Festivalgoers will experience five projects of 360°, VR and Alternative Gaming available through the entire GEMS weekend.

This year’s edition of GEMS will feature two distinct sections. The Spotlight Stage will feature high-profile, major-interest films from internationally renowned directors, many of which are in strong contention for Academy Award nominations. The Discovery Stage will feature new filmmakers creating some of the year’s most interesting debut work, breaking out into international prominence.

The Spotlight Stage

EL ÁNGEL – Argentina/Spain. The second collaboration of Almodóvar’s El Deseo and Argentina’s K&S Films production companies after their first, the international hit and Oscar-nominated Wild Tales (Relatos salvajes), which opened Miami Film Festival in 2016. Directed by Luis Ortega, El Ángel recently broke the record for the highest grossing debut weekend of an Argentine film in Argentina box office history. The film stars rising new talents Lorenzo Ferro and Chino Darín. MFF MARIMBAS AWARD NOMINEE.

ANIMAL – Argentina/Spain. Filmmaker Armando Bo won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay for his previous feature film – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), which also won Best Picture and Best Director for Alejandro Iñárritu. Animal stars Argentina’s box office superstar Guillermo Francella (The Clan, The Secret in Their Eyes, Corazón de león) and Carla Peterson, and was a summer box office hit in Argentina. MFF MARIMBAS AWARD NOMINEE.

BEN IS BACK – U.S.A. Filmmaker Peter Hedges was nominated for an Oscar as writer of About A Boy, and his first feature as a director, Pieces of April, was also Oscar-nominated. Ben is Back recently world premiered in TIFF to acclaim and Oscar buzz for stars Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges (Peter’s son), who was previously Oscar nominated for Manchester by the Sea. MFF MARIMBAS AWARD NOMINEE.

BIRDS OF PASSAGE (PÁJAROS DE VERANO) – Colombia/Denmark/Mexico/France. Co-director Cristina Gallego will attend the Opening Night presentation and participate in a conversation with the audience. Gallego and her filmmaking partner Ciro Guerra previously collaborated on Embrace of the Serpent, which received Colombia’s first-ever Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 2015. MFF MARIMBAS AWARD NOMINEE. OPENING NIGHT FILM.

BORDER – Sweden/Denmark. Winner of 2018 Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard BEST FILM Award and Sweden’s 2019 Oscar submission, Border will be Miami Film Festival GEMS’ first MIDNIGHT/LATE-NIGHT SPECIAL PRESENTATION. Directed by Ali Abbasi, Border is a follow-up to Swedish author Jon Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2008 international hit multi-award-winning film adaption, Let The Right One In. MFF MARIMBAS AWARD NOMINEE.

BURNING – South Korea. The highest-rated film in the history of the international critics’ poll at Cannes Film Festival and South Korea’s 2019 Oscar submission, Burning stars Steven Yeung (Sorry To Bother You and TV’s The Walking Dead). Director Chang-dong Lee has won multiple international awards for previous films such as Secret Sunshine (2007) and Poetry (2010). The screening of Burning will be followed by a panel moderated by programmer Lauren Cohen featuring local film critics discussing the film and the state of art house cinema in 2018. MFF MARIMBAS AWARD NOMINEE.

CAPERNAUM – Lebanon. Directed by the acclaimed Nadine Labaki and winner of the Jury Prize at 2018 Cannes Film Festival, Capernaum is a candidate for Lebanon’s 2019 Oscar submission.

CHAMPIONS (CAMPEONES) – Spain. An unprecedented box office sensation at Spain’s domestic box office and Spain’s 2019 Oscar submission, Champions is directed by Goya winning director Javier Fesser (expected to attend the screening) and starring two-time Goya winning Best Actor Javier Gutierrez. MFF MARIMBAS AWARD & ZENO MOUNTAIN AWARD NOMINEE. CLOSING NIGHT FILM.

COLD WAR – Poland/France. Pawel Pawlikowski won Best Director at 2018 Cannes Film Festival for his follow-up to Ida, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film of 2014. Cold War is a candidate for Poland’s 2019 Oscar submission. MFF MARIMBAS AWARD NOMINEE.

EVERYBODY KNOWS (TODOS LO SABEN) – Spain/France/Italy. Only the second Spanish-language Opening Night Film of Cannes Film Festival in history. Directed by two-time Oscar-winning filmmaker Asghar Farhadi (A Separation, The Salesman) and starring Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Ricardo Darín, Inma Cuesta, Eduard Fernandez, and 2018 Miami Film Festival GEMS Precious Gem Awardee, Bárbara Lennie.

PETRA – Spain. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Jaime Rosales, the exquisite Petra is a modern-day Spanish version of a classic Greek tragedy, featuring a towering performance by 2018 Miami Film Festival GEMS Precious Gem Awardee, Bárbara Lennie. MFF MARIMBAS AWARD NOMINEE.
The Discovery Stage

BOYS CRY – Italy. Winner of the Silver Ribbon for Best First Feature Film, Italy’s prestigious critical honor, and a world premiere at 2018 Berlin Film Festival. Written and directed by brothers Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo, Boys Cry is a candidate for Italy’s 2019 Oscar submission. JORDAN RESSLER FIRST FILM AWARD NOMINEE.

DIAMANTINO – Portugal/France/Brazil. Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt’s deliriously offbeat Diamantino won the 2018 Critic’s Week Best Film Award in Cannes. JORDAN RESSLER FIRST FILM AWARD NOMINEE.

DRY MARTINA – Chile/Argentina. Director Che Sandoval will attend the screening and participate in a conversation with the audience. Dry Martina is one of the most important releases from Chile in 2018 and features a hilarious lead performance by actress Antonella Costa. IBERO-AMERICAN FEATURE AWARD NOMINEE;

THE HEIRESSES (LAS HEREDERAS) – Paraguay/Uruguay/Germany/Brazil/Norway/France. Winner of numerous international prizes, including the Alfred Bauer Prize and Best Actress for Ana Brun at the 2018 Berlin Film Festival, Marcelo Martinessi’s film is Paraguay’s 2019 Oscar submission. JORDAN RESSLER FIRST FILM AWARD NOMINEE.

HOPELESSLY DEVOUT (MI QUERIDA COFRADÍA) – Spain. Winner of the Audience Award at 2018 Malaga Film Festival, this uproarious comedy in the spirit of early Almodovar films is directed by Marta Díaz de Lope Díaz. JORDAN RESSLER FIRST FILM AWARD NOMINEE.

SOUFRA – U.S.A. Documentary directed by Thomas Morgan about the world’s most unlikely entrepreneur, Miriam Shaar, a third-generation refugee living in an encampment outside of Beirut looking to fulfill her dream of opening a catering company despite facing severe political and social barriers. Before the screening, a lunch with a local Miami “chefugee.”

WILDLIFE – U.S.A. Acclaimed actor Paul Dano’s directorial debut, co-written with his partner Zoe Kazan, starring Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal. Cinematography by Diego García, recipient of Miami Film Festival GEMS’ Art of Light Award.

WOMAN AT WAR – Iceland/France/Ukraine. A feminist epic comedy about an environmentalist crusader, directed by Benedikt Erlingsson and winner of the Best Screenplay Prize at 2018 Critics Week in Cannes. A candidate for Iceland’s 2019 Oscar submission.

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