Celebrated Directors Join Goya-feted Producers On Miami Dade College’s 2015 Miami International Film Festival Juries

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For Immediate Release

Thursday, February 12, 2015
Celebrated Directors Join Goya-feted Producers On Miami Dade College’s 2015 Miami International Film Festival Juries

International and Domestic Filmmakers Vie For $57,500 In Cash Prizes

Miami, FL — Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival, the only major film festival worldwide produced and presented by a college or university, proudly announces the jury list for its 32nd Edition, taking place March 6 – 15, 2015. Keeping with jury selection tradition at South Florida’s premiere film and arts event, this year’s judges include directors, producers and writers from the Hollywood studio system and independent cinema, plus a respected literary influencer.  Five juries will award prizes in categories consisting of Knight Competition presented by The James L. & John S. Knight Foundation; Jordan Alexander Ressler Foundation Screenwriting PrizeLexus Ibero-American Opera Prima Competition; CinemaSlam; and Park Grove Shorts Competition.

Says Jaie Laplante, Executive Director of the Festival, “Miami Dade College is extremely proud that we’re able to attract some of the sharpest, most accomplished individuals in film to serve on our juries. Their noble work during the Festival is a matter of criticism, yes, but more importantly, both recognizing the freshest, brightest new voices in film, and facilitating cash awards to help support important filmmakers and projects worldwide.”


Amma Asante
Asante is an award-winning feature film screenwriter, director, and former actress who both wrote and directed A Way of Life (2004) and directed Belle (2013), hailed by The Times (UK) as “one of the most exciting prospects in British cinema.” After a development deal with Chrysalis as a teenager, she formed a production company, Tantrum Films, where she wrote and produced two episodes of the urban drama Brother and Sisters for BBC2 in Britain. During her incredible career, the London Film Festival awarded Asante the inaugural Alfred Dunhill UK Film Talent Award (2004), while The Time’s awarded her Breakthrough Artist of the Year (2005). She was also nominated for Best Newcomer at both the Evening Standard and London Film Critics award ceremonies in 2005. No stranger to Miami International Film Festival, she won both Best Dramatic Feature in World Cinema category for A Way of Life, and the Signis Award as director of Belle. In January 2014, it was announced that Asante would direct a thriller, Unforgettable, for Warner Bros.

Mercedes Gamero
Mercedes Gamero is one of Spain’s most prolific producers. She has produced some of Spain’s biggest box office hits of recent years, including Three Steps Above Heaven (Tres metros sobre el cielo) (2010) and its sequel I Want You (Tengo ganas de ti) (2012). Several of her films have been official selections of Miami International Film Festival: The Opposite of Love (Lo contrario al amor) and Torrente 4: Lethal Crisis (2012 Festival); Extraterrestrial (2012 Special Screening Event); The End (Fin) (2013 Festival); and Three Many Weddings (Tres bodas de más)Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang, Family United (La gran familia española), Open Windows, Foosball (Metegol) (2014 Festival). Her production of Kamikaze will screen in the CINEDWNTWN GALA series of this year’s Festival. Her latest film, Marshland (La isla minima),dominated the Goya Awards from Spain’s Academy of Cinema this year with 10 awards, including Best Picture.

Phil Lord
Coconut Grove, Miami native Phil Lord is a Golden Globe-nominated film and television writer, producer, director, actor and former animator best known for his unusually extensive co-collaborations with longtime friend Christopher Miller, co-writing and co-directing numerous features such as Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs which grossed $225 million. Lord has an Annie Award, Critics Choice, Teens Choice, and People’s Choice award-winning comic sensibility that translates into an extraordinary track record of successful feature films, including 21 Jump Street in 2012 (co-director), Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (co-writer) in 2013, The Lego Movie in 2014 (co-director and co-writer) which grossed $450 million, and 22 Jump Street in 2014 (co-director). His slate of greenlit projects extends well into the future, where Lord is co-producing Lego Ninjago in 2016, co-producing Lego Batman in 2017, co-writing and co-producing Lego Movie 2 in 2018, and co-producing 23 Jump Street at a date to be determined. Lord graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College with a degree in Art History.

The jury will award $40,000 to an outstanding film, director and actor, selected from among the 11 films in this category: Aurora (Chile, directed by Rodrigo Sepúlveda) *North American Premiere; Blue Blood (Sangre azul) (Brazil, directed by Lírio Ferreira) *North American Premiere; Butterfly (Mariposas) (Argentina, directed by Marco Berger) *North American Premiere; Invasion (Invasión) (Panama, directed by Abner Benahim) *North American Premiere; Life is Sacred (Denmark / Ireland / Norway / Colombia, directed by Andreas Dalsgaard, Viviana Gómez & Nicolás Servide) *North American  Premiere; Los Hongos (Colombia / France, directed by Oscar Ruiz Navia) *US Premiere; The Obscure Spring (Las oscuras primaveras) (Mexico, directed by Ernesto Contreras) *US Premiere; The Project of the Century (La obra del siglo) (Cuba, Argentina, Germany, directed by Carlos Machado Quintela) *North American Premiere; The Strongest Man (USA, directed by Kenny Riches); Sunstrokes (Las insoladas) (Argentina, directed by Gustavo Taretto) *North American Premiere; Voice Over (La voz en off) (Chile, directed by Cristián Jiménez) *US Premiere Co-Presented with Film Comment Selects 2015.


Jorge Hernandez
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Jorge Hernandez is a feature film and documentary film director who stands out because of his rigor, quality, and visual style. He attended The National Polish Film School, one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious film schools, and directed two prize-winning short films, Pierwszy Krok W Chmurach and Aprendiz, critically acclaimed at film festivals in Cannes, Moscow, and Santiago, among many others. In 2007, Jorge directed his first feature film The Night Buffalo, based on the novel written by Guillermo Arriaga, the renowned screenwriter of films like Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Babel, which world premiered at Sundance Film Festival. Variety Magazine placed him on the prestigious list of the “10 Directors to Watch” for 2007. Hernandez is currently working on new TV projects in Mexico and Venezuela, while his new feature film project, The Heirs (Los herederos), is currently in post-production.

Elena Manrique
Elena Manrique began working at the film department of Canal + in 1993. A few years later, she switched to Cinemania (film themed channel) as head of acquisitions and programming. In 1999, Manrique joined the Sogepaq Internacional team, where she played the titanic task of distributing Spanish cinema across the world. Years later she produced Lena, her first feature film, and in 2003 began working as executive producer at Telecinco Cinema. Among her favorite films as executive producer are: Pan’s Labyrinth, Cell 211, Torremolinos 73, El Lobo, Casual Day, The King of the Mountain, The Orphanage, Oxford Murders, and Rabia.  In 2011, she created Film Fatal, a film production company that develops various projects, and recently co-produced and co-wrote Ciudad Delirio (2014), Chus Gutiérrez’ feature that is screening at this year’s Festival. Manrique currently works as head of acquisitions at the Paris-based sales agent, Indie Sales.

Hernán Musaluppi
Hernán Musaluppi studied Cinema and Literature in Buenos Aires. In the 1990’s, he worked on Silvia Prieto by Martín Rejtman (a selection of 1999 Miami International Film  Festival), La libertad by Lisandro Alonso, No quiero volver a casa by Albertina Carri, and Crane World (Mundo grúa) by Pablo Trapero, among others. In 2001, he founded Rizoma with Natacha Cervi. In just a few years, Rizoma became one of the most respected independent film companies in Argentina, taking home several prizes from prestigious film festivals. Since then, more than 25 of Rizoma’s films have been commercially distributed worldwide. Rizoma’s current slate includes The Project of the Century (La obra del siglo) by Carlos Quintela Machado and Sunstrokes (Las insoladas) by Gustavo Taretto, screening at this year’s Festival. Musaluppi is the President of CAIC, the largest Producer’s association in Argentina, and the first Argentinean producer to become a member of ACE. In 2012, he published his first book El cine y lo que queda de mí.

The jury will award $10,000 cash award to an outstanding film selected from the five films in this category: 3 Beauties (3 Bellezas) (Venezuela, directed by Carlos Caridad Montero) *North American Premiere; Easy Sex, Sad Movies (Sexo fácil, películas tristes) (Argentina / Spain, directed by Alejo Flah) *International Premiere; In the Grayscale (En las gamas de gris) (Chile, directed by Claudio Marcone) *World Premiere; On the Road, Somewhere (Algun lugar) (Dominican Republic, directed by Guillermo Zouain) *World Premiere; and They are All Dead (Todos están muertos) (Spain, Germany, Mexico, directed by Beatriz Sanchís) *US Premiere


Mitchell Kaplan
Mitchell Kaplan, in 2009, joined forces with award-winning Hollywood producer Paula Mazur to create The Mazur/Kaplan Company, with the objective of identifying, optioning, and producing literary properties for film and TV. In the last six years, the company has grown into a leading producer of high quality, commercial film & television, and has numerous projects in all stages of development and production. Kaplan is also a co-founder of Miami Book Fair International and serves as the Chairperson of its Board of Directors. He also serves on the steering committee of the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, Miami-Dade College’s literary center. Kaplan recently served a two-year term as President of the American Booksellers Association (ABA) and continues an active involvement with the organization. He also serves on the Board of ABFFE, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. He is perhaps best known as a pioneer in independently-minded neighborhood bookstores, Books & Books, with three locations in South Florida and three affiliate locations in throughout the U.S and the Caribbean.

Hans Morgenstern
Hans Morgenstern pursued a Master’s degree in literature at Florida International University. With a focus on cinema, Morgenstern wrote a thesis analyzing Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey against the Hollywood form. Morgenstern has taught film courses at Barry University and FIU and worked in the programming departments of Miami International Film Festival and Miami Jewish Film Festival. Morgenstern joined the Florida Film Critics Circle in 2011. His film criticism is mostly featured on Independent Ethos. He also contributes reviews and articles to Miami New Times, Hollywood.com andMiami Herald.

Gary Ressler
Gary Ressler is a Principal of the Tilia Family Of Companies, operating ventures in the real estate, financial services and lifestyle industries with an active presence in downtown Miami since the late-1970’s. Tilia is headquartered in its landmark property, The Historic Alfred I. Dupont building where Tilia Events also operates a world-renowned special events venue. Tilia is actively developing the future of Miami with Centro Condominium, the first residential condominium project set to rise in Miami’s Central Business District since the ‘Great Recession’.  Ressler is also President of the Board of the Downtown Miami Partnership (DMP), downtown Miami’s private sector voice and advocate to promote a prosperous, livable and dynamic downtown.

The jury members will award $5,000 cash to one feature-length screenwriter whose first produced script is featured in this year’s Festival, from among the Festival’s 18 eligible entries.

CINEMASLAM jury members are:

Melissa Ader
Melissa Ader joined the Field Marketing Team for KIND Healthy Snacks just over a year ago. She is passionate about promoting the company’s social mission of spreading and inspiring acts of kindness, both large and small, throughout South and Central Florida. While often known only for their line of     delicious healthy snacks, KIND is a mission-driven company that thrives on the opportunity to make the world a kinder place, one kind act and one KIND snack at a time.

Aaron Moorhead
Aaron Moorhead is from Tarpon Springs, FL and graduated from Florida State University’s film school.  He directed the feature A Glaring Emission (2010) before teaming up with creative partner Justin Benson on the films Resolution (2012), V/H/S: Viral (segment “Bonestorm”) (2014) and Spring (2014), which will be released theatrically by Drafthouse Films in 2015.

Ayoub Qanir
Ayoub Qanir graduated from University of Miami in 2005 and extended his education at the Lee Strasberg Film School in Los Angeles where he completed a degree in Film directing and production. He is currently pursuing a graduate program in Nanotechnology at Harvard University. Qanir has become known for building his concepts and stories from the sciences up, most notably in his critically acclaimed Human After All series featuring French music duo Daft Punk, and in his concept film Koyakatsi. Additionally, he has just recently completed his latest work, a short film, “Artificio Conceal”, set in London and starring David Bailie (Pirates of The Caribbean) and Simon Armstrong (Game of Thrones).

The jury will award several prizes, including a Grand Prize that includes a $500 cash Sara Fuller Scholarship from FilmFlorida to one winning film, from among features the 11 students finalists: Zachary Burgh, Frederick Criswell, Carlos Cuervo, Melissa Gomez, Patricia Joaquim & Karina Rey, Rita Pereyra, and Timothy Wilcox of Miami Dade College; Luis Galvis and Tyler Huyser from University of Miami; Adonis Lugo from Miami International University; and Ransey Padilla from Center of Cinematography, Arts and TV Miami.

PARK GROVE SHORTS COMPETITION jury members are: Rachel Bleemer, Nicolas Calzada, Margene Cedars, Tatyana Chiocchetti, Alessandra Gherardi, Genevieve Guermont, Luis Hernandez, Matthew Knobel, Oliver Mahrdt (German Films), Steve Mesa, Ileana Oroza, Jaqueline Proctor, Kevin Sharpley, Lisa Sloat, and Jose-Antonio Valencia. The jury will award $2,500 to one film from 11 finalists.  The award is sponsored by luxury developers Terra Group and The Related Group in the name of their Park Grove condominium partnership.

Tickets for the 32nd Edition of Miami International Film Festival will go on sale to the general public on Friday, February 13, 2015. For membership opportunities or more information about Miami International Film Festival, please visit www.miff2020.wpengine.com or call 305-237-FILM(3456).


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About Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival
Celebrating its 32nd annual edition March 6 – 15, 2015, Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival 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 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. Miami International Film Festival’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 www.miff2020.wpengine.com 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 Dade College’s 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 its community with 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 www.mdculture.org.



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 KnightFoundation.org.



About Lexus
Lexus launched in 1989 with two luxury sedans and a commitment to pursue perfection. Since that time, Lexus has expanded its line-up to meet the needs of global luxury customers. Lexus is now going beyond its reputation for high quality vehicles with the integration of innovative technology, emotional exterior and interior designs, and engaging driving dynamics and performance.  With six models incorporating Lexus Hybrid Drive, Lexus is the luxury hybrid leader. Lexus also offers eight F SPORT models and one F performance model.  In the United States, Lexus vehicles are sold through 235 dealers who are committed to exemplary customer service.

About Terra Group
Founded in 2001 by Pedro & David Martin, Terra Group is a leading Miami-based real estate development company that has built a reputation for quality one-of-a-kind projects approached with originality and vision. The award-winning company is comprised of hand-picked and highly trained leaders within various industries including architects, builders, developers, lawyers, businessmen and designers. Terra Group’s land acquisitions have been geographically spread throughout South Florida. Projects include: Grove at Grand Bay in Coconut Grove, Glass in Miami Beach, 900 Biscayne Bay, 600 Biscayne (Freedom Tower Site), Quantum on the Bay, Metropolis, Nautica, Las Sevillas and Las Ramblas in West Miami, and Reserve at Doral, Doral Cay, Vintage Estates & Vintage Place in Doral and Atlantic15 in Sunny Isles.  For more information, visit www.terragroup.com.

About The Related Group
The Related Group was established in 1979, and is America’s leading developer of sophisticated metropolitan living and one of the largest firms.  For more than 30 years, The Related Group has created innovative residential developments that have dramatically changed South Florida’s urban landscape. Since its inception, the privately held company has built and managed more than 85,000 condominium and apartment residences. The Related Group has earned a national reputation for its visionary design and development of luxury condominiums, mixed-use center and affordable rental properties – often in emerging or undiscovered neighborhoods. The firm is one of the largest Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States with a development portfolio of projects worth in excess of $15 billion. TIME Magazine named Mr. Pérez one of top 25 most influential Hispanics in the United States, and has made the cover of Forbes twice. The Related Group has redefined the new cycle of real estate with the rollout of over 12 projects beginning with Apogee Beach in Hollywood and Mybrickell in downtown Miami, the first in each of their respective neighborhoods to break ground since the boom. For more information, visit www.relatedgroup.com.

Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival Contacts:
Jessica Wade Pfeffer, Jessica Wade Inc., +1 305-804-8424, jessica@jessicawadeinc.com
Margie Sernik, Jessica Wade Inc., +1 305-456-0483, margie@jessicawadeinc.com
Juan C. Mendieta, +1 305-237-7611, jmendiet@mdc.edu
Sue Arrowsmith, +1 305-237-3710, sue.arrowsmith@mdc.edu
Alejandro Rios, +1 305-237-7482, arios1@mdc.edu