Miami International Film Festival’s (MiamiFF) ENCUENTROS program is an industry leader in supporting Iberoamerican films in post-production toward their eventual debut on the world stage. Three out of the five projects featured in this past season’s edition have just been announced at one of the world’s most important film festivals, TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival). They are: Lulu (formerly called Lulez), by Luis Ortega; Venice (Venecia), by Enrique (Kiki) Álvarez; and Voice Over (La Voz en off), by Cristián Jiménez. All three completed projects were announced today in TIFF’s Contemporary World Cinema program.
Argentine filmmaker Luis Ortega became a MiamiFF alum at the incredible age of 19 with his debut feature Black Box (Caja negra), and took home a Special Jury Award in MiamiFF 2003’s Dramatic Features: World Cinema Competition. Fast forward nearly a decade and his 2012 drama Dromómanos about religion, drugs & schizophrenia won him the Best Director award in the Argentinian Official Selection at Buenos Aires International Film Festival. Lulu, which Ortega’s producer Ignacio Sarchi presented to industry insiders in Miami in March, revolves around two street kids, Lucas and Ludmila, who are in love with each other and Buenos Aires, moving through the city as if it was their own board game.
With two Havana Film Festival Coral Awards already under his belt, Cuban filmmaker Kiki Álvarez’s new film Venice, a story of friendship and the human need to have a dream will also make its World Premiere at TIFF. Set in modern-day Cuba, three women (Claudia Muñiz, Marianela Pupo, Maribel García) work in a state-owned beauty shop. When two of them decide to accompany the third to buy a dress on payday, a series of unexpected events lasting a whole night ensues. Like most iconoclastic Cuban productions made by young Cuban filmmakers, the film was produced cooperatively (in this case with Colombia.) One of the protagonists, Claudia Muñiz, also wrote the script, using her recurrent formula: creativity, spontaneity and freedom, in line with the standards of independent filmmaking.
Chilean filmmaker Cristián Jiménez (Optical Illusions, MiamiFF 2010, and Bonsai, winner of MiamiFF 2012’s Knight Grand Jury Prize) will be World Premiering his third feature film, Voice Over, at TIFF. In this familial comedy drama, Sofia, 35, lives in Valdivia. She’s beautiful and vegan, and has two kids she loves, but somehow everything seems to be going wrong.
This year’s Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 4-14th. Congratulations to our three Miami ENCUENTROS participants now set to showcase their latest feature films to the world! —Tatyana Chiocchetti