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.

2021 WINNER

Making its U.S. Premiere at this year’s Festival was the Balkan war drama Quo Vadis, Aida?directed by Jasmila Žbanić, which went on to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best International Feature for Bosnia and Herzegovina at the 93rd Oscars. This hard-hitting feature earned the Festival’s top prize, the $25,000 Knight MARIMBAS Award, supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The winning film was selected by jury members Mollye Asher (Oscar-winning producer of Nomadland), Claire Breukel (Miami DACRA curator), and Samuel Kishi Leopo, winner of the 2020 Miami Film Festival’s $10,000 HBO Ibero-American Feature Film Award.

2020 WINNER
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.

2019 WINNER
Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra’s Birds of Passage
Ciudad Lunar Productions of Colombia and The Orchard (US distributor)

2018 WINNER
Diego Lerman’s A Sort of Family (Una especie de familia)

2017 WINNER
Cristian Jimenez and Alicia Scherson’s Family Life (Vida de familia)

2016 WINNER
Pascal Caucheteux and Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan

2015 WINNER
Luis Albores, Erika Avila, Carlos Mesa and Armon O’Farrill’s The Obscure Spring (Las oscuras primaveras)

2014 WINNER
Fernando Coimbra’s A Wolf at the Door