Calling Unfinished Films! Miami International Film Festival, a Program of Miami Dade College’s MDCulture, Announces $10,000 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Sponsorship of MiamiFF Encuentros Program

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For Immediate Release

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Calling Unfinished Films!

Miami International Film Festival, a Program of Miami Dade College’s MDCulture, Announces $10,000 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Sponsorship of MiamiFF Encuentros Program

MiamiFF’s Miami Encuentros Program Annually Supports the Completion of a Selection of Latin American and U.S. Hispanic Feature Film Projects in Post-Production and Propels Them Towards Their Debuts on the International Stage

2015 Call For Entries Now Open to Filmmakers to Win $10,000
Miami, FL – Miami International Film Festival (MiamiFF), a program of Miami Dade College’s MDCulture, proudly announces the 12th Annual Edition of MiamiFF Encuentros, a post-production development program that is a call to action for all Latin American and US Hispanic filmmakers to submit unfinished films for consideration to win an achievement award from MiamiFF valued at USD$10,000. Sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the program coincides with the 32nd Annual MiamiFF taking place March 6 – 15, 2015. The objective of MiamiFF Encuentros is to provide financial support, industry connections and visibility for one lucky filmmaker, and propel their film towards their debut on the international stage.

Submissions to the program are open to all feature films produced partially or entirely by Latin American-based production companies, or from US Hispanic filmmakers, that are currently in post-production and will not be completed by March 2015. The works must have a minimum running time of 60 minutes and maximum of 120 minutes. Projects must be submitted no later than Monday, January 12, 2015.

Diana Sanchez, one of the world’s most influential experts on Latin American cinema, will again curate MiamiFF Encuentros 2015, sifting through entries, choosing finalists and helping select the panel of film industry professionals who will ultimately choose the winning project. For Sanchez, who created Encuentros for MiamiFF in 2003, the 2015 program will be a transitional year, saying “Encuentros has given so many talented Hispanic filmmakers the resources, support and love their films needed to cross the finish line, and for that, I’m extremely proud.” Sanchez will be stepping aside after 2015 to dedicate more time to family, but will continue to consult for MiamiFF in future years in a to-be-determined role.

The projects from the latest 2014 edition of MiamiFF Encuentros continue to prove the program’s influence – Aurora (Chile), the winning film directed by Rodrigo Sepúlveda, went on to have its world premiere at the prestigious Busan Film Festival in Korea and recently won Best International Film at its second festival outing, at Chile’s 10th anniversary edition of the Santiago Film Festival. Three other films featured in 2014’s edition were accepted into one of the world’s most important film festivals, Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). They are: Argentina’s Lulu (formerly called Lulez) directed by Luis Ortega; Cuba’s Venice (Venecia) directed by Enrique (Kiki) Álvarez; and Chile’s Voice Over (La voz en off) directed by Cristián Jiménez. All three completed projects were part of TIFF’s Contemporary World Cinema program.

Executive Director of MiamiFF, Jaie Laplante, states “It’s important that all Latin American and US Hispanic filmmakers know that incredible organizations like Knight Foundation and Miami International Film Festival, along with scores of industry professionals, are rooting for their success. Encuentros is our platform to support the most meritorious productions not only get completed, but get those films into cinemas across the world.”

“Miami International Film Festival has been an invaluable platform for launching filmmakers’ projects. We’re looking forward to what this year’s submissions will yield, and how their projects will resonate not just in Miami but around the world,” said Dennis Scholl, vice president of arts for Knight Foundation.

One main producer from each project will be invited to attend the MiamiFF Encuentros screenings (open only to industry invitees) and outline the completion details for the film. The selected projects will be screened to a Jury comprised of members of distinction from the international film industry. Entry forms and complete rules for the program are now available at

For membership opportunities or more information about MiamiFF, please visit www.miff2020.wpengine.comor call 305-237-FILM(3456). The Festival is the only major film festival event housed within a college or university.
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About MiamiFF’s Encuentros Program
MiamiFF’s Encuentros Program was created in 2003 to offer key development participation for noteworthy film projects from Spain and/or Latin America and U.S. Hispanic filmmakers in varying stages of completion in order to “match” them with financiers, sales agents, U.S. distributors and other professionals who would provide the critical financial and business support to ensure the films would reach completion and move on to the most advantageous sales channels strategies in multiple territories. In the course of the last decade, Ibero-American films have become more and more popular across the globe. At the same time, Ibero-American countries have produced a significant number of talented filmmakers and producers. MiamiFF has been on the leading edge of this trend, successfully identifying and assisting more than 65 films, many of which have gone on to premiere and win awards at significant film festivals and from the Film Academies of their respective countries.
About Miami International Film Festival
Celebrating its 32nd anniversary March 6 – 15, 2015, MiamiFF is considered the preeminent film festival for showcasing Ibero-American cinema in the U.S., and a major launch pad for all international and documentary cinema. The annual Festival, produced and presented by Miami Dade College, attracts more than 60,000 audience members and more than 400 filmmakers, producers, talent and industry professionals. It is the only major festival housed within a college or university. In the last five years, the Festival has screened films from more than 60 countries, including 300 World, International, North American, U.S. and East Coast Premieres. MiamiFF’s special focus on Ibero-American cinema has made the Festival a natural gateway for the discovery of new talent from this diverse territory.  The Festival also offers unparalleled educational opportunities to film students and the community at large. Major sponsors of the 2015 Festival include Knight Foundation, Lexus and Miami-Dade County. For more information, visit or call 305-237-FILM (3456).

About MDCulture
MDCulture is the Cultural Affairs Department of Miami Dade College (MDC). Comprising the Miami Book Fair International, Miami International Film Festival, Tower Theater, the Center for Literature and Theatre, Koubek Center, Freedom Tower, MDC Live Arts and MDC Galleries and Museum of Art + Design, MDCulture is committed to providing everyone the opportunity to come in contact with innovative thinkers, creators and tradition bearers from around the world. With each presentation, MDCulture offers a bridge between cultures and ideas, creating new opportunities for the increasingly diverse population of Miami to come together through shared live arts experiences. For more information, visit

About The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit


MiamiFF Contacts:
Jessica Wade Pfeffer, Jessica Wade Inc., +1 305-804-8424,
Margie Sernik, Jessica Wade Inc., +1 305-456-0483,
MDC Contacts:
Juan Mendieta, +1 305-237-7611,

Tere Estorino, +1 305-237-3949,
Sue Arrowsmith, +1 305-237-3710,

Alejandro Rios, +1 305-237-7482,