festival program / Jordan Ressler First Feature Award



Inspired by the award-winning short film of the same name that won acclaim throughout the country, Miami filmmaker J.R. Poli returns to the Miami Film Festival with his feature adaptation of Marcus, a deeply empathetic and moving story brought to life by a richly talented Miami production team.

Marcus has a checkered past and an unstable present, as he struggles mightily with mental illness, but unexpected news brings a new opportunity for him to right old wrongs and make amends. He leaves his life behind and sets off on an adventure to find purpose, forgiveness and redemption. But Marcus will have to face the consequences of his past life and overcome the greatest obstacle of all in order to find happiness: Himself.

Poli's debut feature film is sure to garner as much praise and turn as many heads on the festival circuit as his short film work has, and to shine a bright light on the ever-important issue of mental health.

This screening is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and sponsored by Jordan Alexander Ressler Charitable Fund.

Event Dates

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MDC’s Tower Theater Miami 1

Director Bio

J.R. Poli is a graduate of Miami Dade College. Marcus (18), his second feature film, is based on his homonymous short film which screened last year at the Miami Film Festival. The short received numerous awards including "Best Actor" at the LA Shorts International Film Festival and "Best of Show" at IndieFest.

Cast & Credits

  • Director(s)
    J.R. Poli
  • Producer(s)
    Jose Luis Martinez, Owen Miller, JR Poli, Jennifer Lynn Sharp
  • Screenwriter(s)
    JR Poli
  • Cinematographer(s)
    Matt Greene
  • Cast
    Owen Miller, Katana Malone, Paul Wight, Todd Bruno, Jennifer Sharp

Film Info