Rosa’s Wedding
Rosa’s Wedding

Miami Film Festival unveiled the first titles in its line-up for the seventh annual edition of its acclaimed Miami Film Festival GEMS, which will be held virtually this year from October 8-11.

“GEMS re-invents itself as a four-day bingeworthy app channel where you can watch one outstanding film after another,” said Miami Film Festival executive director Jaie Laplante.

The 2020 GEMS herald compelling stories from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe. Five films are the first selections of the season to compete for the GEMS Festival’s top prize, the $25,000 Knight MARIMBAS Award, supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. This is a juried prize for a film that best exemplifies richness and resonance for cinema’s future.

Knight MARIMBAS Award Titles

Black Bear directed by Lawrence Michael
Black Bear directed by Lawrence Michael

Black Bear (U.S.), directed by Lawrence Michael Levine and starring Aubrey Plaza, Sara Gadon and Christopher Abbot

Kokoloko (Mexico), directed by Gerardo Naranjo, which received a Best Actor prize for Noé Hernández at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival

Night of the Kings (Ivory Coast, France, Canada, Senegal), directed by Philippe Lacôte, the Ivory Coast’s official submission in the Academy Awards’ Best International Feature Film category

Rosa’s Wedding (Spain), a mid-life comedy directed by Icíar Bollaín (U.S. Premiere)

Undine (Germany, France), directed by Christian Petzold, which received a Best Actress prize for Paula Beers at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival

Jordan Ressler First Feature Film Award

The first two films announced to compete for the Festival’s 2021 $10,000 Jordan Ressler First Feature Film Award are both American films – Ekwa Msangi’s Farewell Amor and Emma Seligman’s Shiva Baby.

Special Presentation Screenings

GEMS will host five special presentation screenings, including three films that were originally programmed for the 2020 Miami Film Festival in March but were cancelled due to the pandemic:

Out in the Open (Spain), directed by Benito Zambrano

This is Cristina (Chile), directed by Gonzalo Maza, the 2020 Miami Film Festival $10,000 Jordan Ressler First Feature Film Award winner, executive produced by Salma Hayek

Us Kids (U.S.), directed by Kim A. Snyder

The other two special presentations are:

My Prince Edward (Hong Kong), directed by Norris Wong Yee-Lam, winner of Best New Director at 2020 Hong Kong Film Awards

Sound of Metal (U.S., Belgium), directed by Darius Marder and starring Riz Ahmed

Documentary Achievement Award

Competing for the Documentary Achievement Award are three American titles making their Florida premieres: Finding Yingying, directed by Jiayan “Jenny” Shin, We Don’t Deserve Dogs directed by Matthew Salleh and Women in Blue, directed by Deidre Fishel, which examines the challenges of a racial spectrum of women in law enforcement via the prism of Minneapolis Police Department in the months and years leading up to George Floyd’s death.

Miami Film Festival will also continue its partnership with Variety to host a virtual panel with some of the 10 Latinx To Watch on Friday, October 9, rescheduled from the March festival, with participants to be announced. The list of talent-on-the-rise, announced earlier this year, includes:

  • Melissa Barrera, actor (Vida, In the Heights).
  • Angel Bismark Curiel, actor (Pose, Critical Thinking, Latin History for Morons).
  • Julissa Calderon, actress (Gentefied).
  • Chesca, artist/singer/dancer.
  • Carolina Costa, cinematographer (Workforce, Hala, Wander Darkly).
  • Marina di Girolamo, actress (Ema).
  • Gonzalo Maza, writer/director (This is Cristina, A Fantastic Woman).
  • Cesar Mazariegos, writer/director (High & Mighty, The Simpsons).
  • Camila Mendes, actress (Palm Springs, Riverdale).
  • Tainy, music producer (Bad Bunny’s “X 100pre”)
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