With another year in the books, Miami Film Festival is thrilled to announce the full list of award winners from our 39th edition!
Making its US premiere, the Haiti-set Freda directed by Géssica Généus, earned the Festival’s top jury prize, the $25,000 Knight MARIMBAS Award, supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, an international competition for new narrative feature films that best exemplify richness and resonance for cinema’s future. Meanwhile, Jose Maria Cabral’s Dominican Republic production Parsley (Perejil), which World premiered at the Festival, won the Audience Feature Film Award.
A third Hispaniola drama, Ulises Porra & Silvina Schnicer’s Carajita, co-produced by Wooden Boat Productions (Dominican Republic) and Pucará Cine (Argentina), took home the $10,000 HBO Ibero-American Feature Film Award, sponsored by WarnerMedia. The film, about class and racial issues in Latin America and the Caribbean, was selected by jury members Carlos Aguilar, Leslie Cohen and Brandon Harris.
The $55,000 Knight Made in MIA Film Award, supported by the Knight Foundation, is given to three films that have a substantial portion of their content in South Florida and that best utilize their story and theme for universal resonance. T
his year’s jury members Mollye Asher, Nicholas Griffin, Johann Zietsman, and Keisha Rae Witherspoon, selected “You Can Always Come Home,” directed by Juan Luis Matos, as winner of the $30,000 first prize. The jury said, “this is a film that radiates with the joyous spirit of Miami in its embrace of family, community and place while also embodying the universal meaning of home.”
Second prize ($15,000) went to “In Beauty It Is Unfinished,” directed by Greko Sklavounos. The jury said, “this poetic offering is a gorgeous fever dream that captures longing, fragments of memory and a poetic gaze at a Miami that is both familiar but also made a new. Made personal.”
Third prize ($10,000) went to “Un Pequeño Corte,” directed by Marianna Serrano, which the jury called, “this is a charming and powerful story that serves as a portrait of an independent spirit in a world demanding conformity.”
Another South Florida story, Robert Requejo Ramos’s South Beach Shark Club: Legends and Lore of the South Florida Shark Hunters, world premiered at the Festival and won the audience-voted Documentary Achievement Award. Another world premiere, Strangers to Peace, was the first runner-up in the category, and Keep the Cameras Rolling: The Pedro Zamora Way was the second runner-up. Meanwhile, Spain’s Mediterraneo: The Law of the Sea was the first runner-up in the Audience Feature Film Award voting, and the second runner-up in the category was another Hispaniola film, Dominican Republic’s The Lost Children of Jarabacoa (Dossier de Ausencias).
The French/Egyptian drama You Resemble Me, directed by Dina Amer, garnered the $10,000 Jordan Ressler First Feature Award. This honor, sponsored by the South Florida family of the late Jordan Ressler, is presented to the best film made by a filmmaker making a feature narrative film debut.
The selection committee, comprised of Estrella Araiza, Jonathan Cuartas and 2019 Jordan Ressler Award winner Alexandre Moratto, said in a statement, “we chose the film for its bold depiction of fragmented identity and social inequality through its masterful weaving of styles.
Set during the era of China’s Cultural Revolution, the visually spectacular war drama One Second won the Rene Rodriguez Critics Award, selected by accredited film critics covering the Festival. The film, screened as a Special Presentation, is directed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, a three-time Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.
Felipe Pérez Santiago, composer of Amalgama, earned the Alacran Music in Film Award, sponsored by Alacran Group. The award highlights the power of music and film and celebrates the role of the film composer. Art of Light (Composer) Award honoree Cristobal Tapia de Veer selected the winner.
The short film categories were toplined by the $10,000 WarnerMedia OneFifty Latino Short Film Award, which bestows $5,000 upon the winner and $1,250 each to four runners-up. The top prize went to the dramatic short “Hector’s Woman (La mujer de Héctor)” from NYC-based Puerto Rican filmmaker Ricardo Varona, with other prizes given to “Chilly & Milly,” “It’s Not Her (No Es Ella),” “For Some Horses (Por unos caballos),” and “The Year of the Radio (El Año del Radio).”
Pakistani filmmaker Ali Sohail Jaura earned the $5,000 Miami International Short Film award for “Murder Tongue,” which illuminates one of the most brutal chapters in the history of Karachi, Pakistan. The $500 University of Miami Short Documentary Film Award, as judged by University of Miami School of Communications faculty members, was given to “The Originals,” directed by Cristina Costantini and Alfie Koetter, a ten-year retrospective through the eyes of their former landlord and his childhood friends about growing up in South Brooklyn. “Firelei Báez: An Open Horizon (or) The Stillness of a Wound,” directed by Souki Mehdaoui, received an honorable mention.
The Audience Short Film Award went to romantic comedy “Cariño,” directed by Fernanda Lamuño. First runner up was “Un Pequeño Corte,” directed by Mariana Serrano and second runner up “Madame Pipi,” directed by Rachelle Salnave.
This year’s Best Poster Award went to two outstanding images. Designed by Nate Biller of Jump Cut, the poster for the period drama Parsley evoked the style of Hollywood epics of the 1930s, according to the Festival’s selection panel, while it “subverts those traditions by foregrounding Black Latinx/Haitian characters” to create a timely statement at once “poignant and powerful.” Sander Brouwer’s work for the Chilean thriller Immersion, spotlighting a man unwilling to help a sinking boat, “moved” the judges “immensely” through an inverted submergence in emotion, “a conflict of morals and paranoia,” that can prevent human beings from acting compassionately.
Previous Knight Marimbas Award winner Lorenz Metz served as trailer editor of his own film, the Switzerland-produced Soul of a Beast, a conflicted romantic drama which was chosen for this year’s Best Trailer Award by select members of the Festival’s Program Committee.
Returning in 2022 is the $1,000 Florida Cinemaslam Student Film Award, judged by previous Cinemaslam-winning alumni, with its cash prize going to the gay character study The Truth of a Thousand Nights, directed by Chris Molina. Other non-cash awards were given in five categories: Offside, directed by Emiliano Gioffre (Best Writing), Offside, directed by Emiliano Gioffre (Best Actor), One Call Away, directed by Camila Marcano (Best Actress), Cut Short, directed by Charlie Andelman (Best Cinematography) and Symfaunic, directed by Erin Bergin and Darby Kate Snyder (Best Technical Achievement).