MIFF Award Winner Rocks with Impressive Debut

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Two weeks in advance of its highly-awaited Miami commercial debut, this year’s Lexus Audience Award winner is already taking a commanding lead as one of the year’s most successful independent films.

Woody Allen, John Turturro

Following its opening weekend, Italian American actor, writer, and filmmaker John Turturro’s Fading Gigolo brought some very good news to distributor Millennium Entertainment grossing an impressive $198,399 from just five theaters. With an average of $39,680, it marks the second best limited debut of the year, after “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

In the film, Woody Allen is a late-blooming pimp to John Turturro’s middle-aged florist-turned hustler, as legendary screen sirens Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara turn up as eager clients and Vanessa Paradis plays an orthodox Jewish widow in need of human touch.

John Turturro and MIFF director Jaie Laplante on stage at Olympia Theater; John Turturro on the Red Carpet

John Turturro, who flew in from Italy to receive MIFF’s 2014 Career Achievement Award, presented by Miami DDA, this past March at Olympia Theater’s Gusman Center for the Performing Arts. Turturro greeted the packed house, humbly stating, “I appreciate everyone’s appreciation of what I’m attempting to portray” and emphasized that he considered this honor to be a “mid-career achievement award.”

A compelling video of Turturro’s multi-faceted career was created by MIFF alumnus director Jokes Yanes (Eenie Meenie Miney Moe, MIFF 2013), followed by an onstage chat with David Edelstein, chief film critic for New York Magazine and NPR’s Fresh Air, who told the crowd that Turturro was “truly one of his existential heroes.” Turturro spoke about Woody Allen’s unbelievable generosity, the friendship the two of them share, and Allen’s remarkable ability to come up with zingers on the spot. The Tribute capped off with the presentation of Fading Gigolo, Turturro’s latest directorial achievement, and an after-party, sponsored by 88 Rue du Rhone, held at the stunning Epic Hotel.  View Flickr Gallery.

Glimpse Turturro of after-party at Epic Hotel

In a recent Indiewire article, Millennium Entertainment CEO Bill Lee said “Fading Gigolo is performing better than we had even hoped. Propelled by fantastic word of mouth we saw a spectacular jump from Friday to Saturday – which goes to show that audiences were craving a funny and heartfelt film. That fact that Woody Allen is featured in a hilarious lead role was clearly a big draw.  John Turturro has created a romantic comedy that is truly speaking to audiences- young, old, male and female. We’re proud to be part of bringing this very special film to as many people as possible.”

Scene from Fading Gigolo with John Turturro and Sofia Vergara
Fading Gigolo is slated to open in Miami on Friday, May 2nd— Tatyana Chiocchetti 

Jaie Laplante

Jaie Laplante is the Miami Film Festival's executive director and director of programming. Learn more about Jaie on Programmers.