Knight Marimbas Award

$25,000 Knight MARIMBAS Award is a cash competition for the jury-selected U.S. or international narrative feature film (60 min or longer) that best exemplifies richness and resonance for cinema’s future. The cash prize will go to the lead producer (production company), but is eligible to be split with a US distributor, if there is a US company that has made a commitment to release the winning film in US theaters prior to a VOD release.

A marimba is a variation of a xylophone that produces a deeper, richer and more resonant tone that a traditional xylophone. The marimba originated in Guatemala and Central America approximately 400 years ago and remains popular to this day in a wide variety of musical disciplines. The name of Miami Film Festival’s top award is inspired by the 2011 winner of the Festival’s top award, Julio Hernandez Cordon’s Marimbas from Hell, which embodies the spirit of forward-looking cinema.


FREDAdirected by Géssica Généus.

Jury: Damon D’Oliveria, April Dobbins, and Rubén Peralta Rigaud.

Freda takes place in modern day Haiti in the center of its political hotbed capital, Port Au Prince. Freda, a young University student full of dreams and ambition, resides with her Mother and Sister earning a living from their small street shop. Faced with precarious living conditions and the rise of violence in Haiti, each of them face the agonizing choice of whether to stay in the country amidst the civil unrest or seek another life somewhere else. While Freda’s Mother & Sister believe in climbing to the top of the social ladder through marriage, Freda is convinced that she will have a future despite the uncertainty of Haiti’s tumultuous conditions.

The jury said, “This film resonated with all of us for its strong, female-centered narrative, and its exceptional performances from emerging actors. We couldn’t stop thinking about this world and these characters, and we appreciated being immersed in a place that we don’t often see onscreen – portrayed in such a realistic, but tender way.”

Quo Vadis, Aida?, directed by Jasmila Žbanić.
Jury: Mollye Asher, Claire Breukel, and Samuel Kishi Leopo

La Llorona, directed by Jayro Bustamante, lead produced by La Casa de Produccíon of Guatemala in co-production with Mexico, and distributed in the US by Shudder.
Jury: Álvar Carretero de la Fuente, Rupert Lloyd and Elena Manrique.

Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra’s Birds of Passage
Ciudad Lunar Productions of Colombia and The Orchard (US distributor)

Diego Lerman’s A Sort of Family (Una especie de familia)

Cristian Jimenez and Alicia Scherson’s Family Life (Vida de familia)

Pascal Caucheteux and Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan

Luis Albores, Erika Avila, Carlos Mesa and Armon O’Farrill’s The Obscure Spring (Las oscuras primaveras)

Fernando Coimbra’s A Wolf at the Door