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For Immediate Release
Monday, October 26, 2015

The Clan Wins Audience Award At Miami Dade College’s
Miami International Film Festival’s GEMS

Don Francisco accepts PRECIOUS GEM AWARD Tribute at The 33 screening

Miami, FL —  The Clan (El clan), the Argentina-Spain co-production about the notorious well-to-do Puccio family who kidnapped and murdered several of their neighbors in 1980s-era Buenos Aires, continued its march to next year’s Academy Awards with a victory yesterday in the coveted Audience Award category at Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival’s new GEMS Festival, the only major film festival produced worldwide by a college or university.

Already breaking box office records in its domestic release in Argentina, The Clanreceived its US Premiere at GEMS and was one of many sell-outs throughout the Festival’s new fall event.  Director Pablo Trapero and the film’s star, Guillermo Francella, received a prolonged ovation from the Miami audience for their ferocious take on the real-life Arquímedes Puccio, as they took questions from the audience after the screening.

Earlier in the evening, recently retired Sábado Gigante media icon and global celebrityDon Francisco accepted the Festival’s PRECIOUS GEM AWARD prior to the closing night screening of Patricia Riggen’s Warner Bros/Alcon release, The 33, in which Don Francisco appears as himself. The award was presented by Miami Dade College presidentDr. Eduardo J. Padrón in recognition of  Don Francisco’s significant contributions to the story and progress in 2010 of the fate of the trapped Copiapó miners.

The 33 cast members Rodrigo Santoro, Juan Pablo Raba and Kate del Castillo, along with director Riggen, celebrated the honor on stage with Don Francisco in an emotional pre-screening ceremony.  Festival director Jaie Laplante noted The 33‘s synergy with Miami International Film Festival’s current celebrations of its 33rd season, which will culminate in the annual beloved event this coming March 4 – 13, 2016.  “The heroic undercurrent of the absolute value for human life in The 33 make this the ‘now’ film for Miami, Chile and the world,” he said. The 33 was declared the runner-up in a close race for the Audience Award, named this year in honor of the late Miami arts patron Gigi Guermont.

The 33 capped a four-day weekend of dazzling cinematic jewels in the GEMS Festival. Also captivating GEMS patrons were actress Antonia Zegers, on hand to discuss her work and the issues in Pablo Larraín‘s devastating Chilean Oscar submission, The Club (El club), and American filmmakers Trey Edward Shults, presenting his SXSW-award winning film Krisha, and Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, who brought with him several of the subjects of his documentary Havana Motor Club.

Spanish director María Ripoll presented the US premiere of her delightful box office sensation in Spain, It’s Now or Never (Ahora o nunca). Pop star Melody, who appears in the film and sings the comedy’s theme song, surprised audiences with a live performance of the catchy number prior to the GEMS screening.

Music was a major theme and highlight throughout the GEMS weekend. Miami-based composer Carlos Rafael Rivera paid tribute to the late Oscar-winning composer James Horner, whose riveting score for The 33 was one of his last major works, completed shortly before the tragic aviation accident that claimed his life last June.

The Cannes-winning film from Hou Hsiao-Hsien, The Assassin,and two films from Italian masters, Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth and Nanni Moretti’s Mia Madre, were among the films received the biggest buzz over the GEMS weekend.  Colombia’s Oscar submission Embrace of the Serpent, was rapturously received and praised for its outstanding cinematography and powerful ethnographic tale of aboriginal genocide in the Amazon jungle. A Perfect Day, the new film by a favorite director of Miami International Film Festival for many years, Spain’s Fernando de Leon Aranoa, received its first US screening, and the wonderful performances in that film by Benicio del Toro and Tim Robbins were also among the weekend’s major talking points.

The 33rd annual Miami International Film Festival will take place March 4-13, 2016.  Advance ticket packages are already on sale at www.miamifilmfestival.com or by calling  1-844-565-6433(MIFF). For membership opportunities or more information, email membership@miamifilmfestival.com or call 305-237-FILM (3456). Miami International Film Festival is the only major film festival event housed within a college or university.

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About Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival
Celebrating its 33rd anniversary March 4 – 13, 2016, Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival is considered the preeminent film festival for showcasing Ibero-American cinema in the U.S., and a major launch pad for all international and documentary cinema. The annual Festival, produced and presented by Miami Dade College, attracts more than 60,000 audience members and more than 400 filmmakers, producers, talent and industry professionals. It is the only major festival housed within a college or university. In the last five years, the Festival has screened films from more than 60 countries, including 300 World, International, North American, U.S. and East Coast Premieres. The Festival’s special focus on Ibero-American cinema has made the Festival a natural gateway for the discovery of new talent from this diverse territory.  The Festival also offers unparalleled educational opportunities to film students and the community at large. Additionally, every October, the Festival hosts a four-day fall event titled GEMS, showcasing the season’s finest new cinematic works. Major sponsors of the 2016 Festival include Knight Foundation, Lexus and Miami-Dade County. For more information, visit www.miamifilmfestival.com or call 305-237-FILM(3456).

About Miami Dade College
The Cultural Affairs Department of Miami Dade College (MDC) is comprised of the Miami Book Fair, Miami International Film Festival, Tower Theater, the Center for Literature and Theatre, Koubek Center, Freedom Tower, MDC Live Arts and MDC Galleries and Museum of Art + Design. MDC is committed to providing its community with the opportunity to come in contact with innovative thinkers, creators and tradition bearers from around the world. With each presentation, MDC offers a bridge between cultures and ideas, creating new opportunities for the increasingly diverse population of Miami to come together through shared live arts experiences. For more information, visit www.mdc.edu/arts

Miami International Film Festival Contacts:
Jessica Wade Pfeffer, Jessica Wade Inc. | +1 305-804-8424 | jessica@jessicawadeinc.com
Margie Sernik, Jessica Wade Inc. | +1 305-456-0483 | margie@jessicawadeinc.com

Miami Dade College Contacts:
Juan Mendieta | +1 305-237-761 | jmendiet@mdc.edu
Hessy Fernandez | Director, Media Relations | +1 305-237-3949 | hfernan5@mdc.edu
Sue Arrowsmith | +1 305-237-3710 | sue.arrowsmith@mdc.edu
Allison Horton | 1+ 305-237-3359 | ahorton@mdc.edu