With the arrival of this year’s Miami Film Festival (MFF) comes the usual celebrity sightings, glamorous parties, and a dynamic lineup of films you wouldn’t otherwise get to experience. But beyond the chance to connect with some of the world’s most influential and emerging filmmakers, the festival is an opportunity to bridge cultural understandings and expose new perspectives.
The festival begins Friday, March 3, and though we’re no film critics, we’ll be spending the next 10 days refilling our bags of popcorn for the exclusive lineup of dramas, documentaries, comedies, and thrillers ahead.
Here are our picks for the best things to see at the Miami International Film Festival this year.
March 3—Who’s got the bubbly? Kick off MIFF with the stars of the opening-night film, “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer,” at the historic Alfred I. duPont Building. Open bar, yummy bites, and Richard Gere. What more can you ask for?
Check out these first-time feature-length screenwriters. You can’t go wrong watching one (or all) of these feature films, which are competing for a jury-selected cash prize of $10,000, courtesy of the family of the late Jordan Alexander Ressler.
March 5—Directed by ex-Knight Arts VP Dennis Scholl and Miami native Marlon Johnson, “Symphony in D” is an intimate look into a symphony piece that was inspired by and created with the sights and sounds of Detroit. Kinda has us thinking about New World Symphony’s current community-sourced symphonic video concept, #Project305.
March 5—Following a screening of Alankrita Shrivastava’s “Lipstick Under My Burkha” comes Desserts + Directors. Indulge your sweet tooth and your inner diva with some of the city’s most decadent desserts and a lipstick makeover by local Glamsquad beauty professionals. DJ Coco Hara will be spinning and all the wine and beer will be flowing.
March 7—In 2015, Rashida Jones released “Hot Girls Wanted,” her first look into Miami’s dark, burgeoning porn industry. Following suit, “Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On” covers the intersection of sex and technology, and the role in which social media has shaped the consumption of internet porn.
March 8—What began as another bizarre Florida story soon became an all-out attack on the First Amendment. “Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and Trials of a Free Press” covers the former wrestler’s lawsuit with Gawker following the release of a sex tape, and the ensuing battle between billionaires and the media’s right to freedom of speech.
March 11—Feast on a Big Easy-style brunch inspired by Ella Brennan of famed New Orleans establishment Commander’s Palace. After you’ve filled up on shrimp ’n’ grits and bourbon ice cream, head on to Tower Theater for a screening of Academy Award- and Golden Globe-nominated director Leslie Iwerks’ most recent work on the culinary matriarch.