The Leisure Seeker, directed by Italian maestro Paolo Virzi, was a late addition to the Miami GEMS program. After the devastation wrought on the neighboring Florida Keys by Hurricane Irma in September, Festival organizers collaborated with Sony Classics to screen the film in GEMS with all ticket proceeds from the screening going to the United Way of the Florida Keys to support relief and rebuilding efforts.
GEMS audiences voted in record numbers at this festival, making the race for the Audience Award winner extremely competitive. Only a fraction of votes separated the top contenders – Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name and Agnes Varda & JR’s Cannes-winning Faces Places also deeply moved the Miami GEMS audience.
The awards announcement capped a four-day weekend of superb cinema where the gems of the cinematic season were screened as Florida and Miami premieres. The GEMS Audience Award is named in loving memory of Genevieve “Gigi” Guermont, a brilliant, rare, and timeless individual, a passionate supporter of Miami’s cultural institutions, and was an especially dedicated friend to the Festival, serving actively on our Host Committee, before she lost her battle with Cystic Fibrosis in 2015.