Don Francisco to Receive Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival’s Inaugural PRECIOUS GEM AWARD at GEMS 2015 Closing Night

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For Immediate Release
Monday, October 12, 2015

Don Francisco to Receive Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival’s Inaugural PRECIOUS GEM AWARD at GEMS 2015 Closing Night

Expected Attendees Include Emerging and Award-Winning Faces From Around the World

Miami, FL — Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival, the only major film festival worldwide produced by a college or university, will honor legendary Chilean TV personality Don Francisco with the Festival’s inaugural PRECIOUS GEM AWARD at the closing night of the Festival’s fall GEMS Festival. The award will be presented in recognition of Don Francisco’s significant contributions to the story and progress in 2010 of the fate of the trapped Copiapó miners, influences that are cinematically immortalized in Patricia Riggen’s Warner Bros release, The 33.

The presentation of the Award will take place in a ceremony on Sunday, October 25th atMDC’s Tower Theater Miami at 6:00 p.m. with the presence of distinguished guests from the world of cinema, individuals associated with the actual events in Copiapó, local dignitaries and Miami Film Society patrons. The GEMS premiere of The 33 will take place immediately following the presentation of the PRECIOUS GEM AWARD to Don Francisco.

“The Festival look forwards to being able to honor Don Francisco with our heartfelt appreciation for all he has done for the Copiapó story,” stated Jaie Laplante, the Festival’s Executive Director & Director of Programming.

The Festival is additionally delighted to announce that Mexican megastar Kate del Castillo will appear on the Red Carpets at both the GEMS Opening Night Gala presentation to officially open the Festival, and at the Closing Night Gala presentation ofThe 33, in which she also stars.  The Festival also confirmed legendary Argentine actorGuillermo Francella (The Secret in Their Eyes, Corazón de león) will attend the GEMS Festival’s US premiere of The Clan, in which Francella has a career-topping role as Arquímedes Puccio.

Other expected guests for GEMS 2015, include:

Marcel Piedras Cervantes, Co-Producer of Havana Motor Club
Marcel Piedras Cervantes is the Cuban co-producer of Havana Motor Club.

Saul Garcia, Subject, Havana Motor Club
Saul Garcia is the Cuban-American owner of one of the race cars featured inHavana Motor Club.

Armando “Piti” Lorenzo Munnet, Subject in Havana Motor Club
Armando “Piti” Lorenzo Munnet is one of the real life racers in Havana Motor Club.  A resourceful car mechanic and fierce competitor, used ingenuity and handmade parts to turn his dull black 1956 Ford, which he nicknamed Bucephalus, after Alexander the Great’s horse, into a formidable racing machine.

Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, Director of Havana Motor Club
Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt co-directed and edited Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel, which was featured in Miami International Film Festival in 2012, and was an editor on Valentino: The Last Emperor.

Patricia Riggen, Director of The 33
Patricia Riggen is the first female director to open Miami International Film Festival, which she did with her debut feature Under The Same Moon at the 2008 Festival. She also directed the feature Girl in Progress (2012), and is now in post-production on her fourth feature, Miracles from Heaven, due out in 2016.

María Ripoll, Director of It’s Now or Never
María Ripoll has previously directed the feature films Twice Upon a Yesterday akaThe Man With Rain in His Shoes (1998), Tortilla Soup (2001), Utopia (2003), Your Life in 65 (2006) and Traces of Sandalwood (2014).

Melody, Actress and singer in It’s Now or Never
At the age of 24, this Spanish pop artist has been in the music industry for more than fifteen years. She was one of the most important pop icons of the new millennium in Spain, and she has numerous nominations to the Grammy and Billboard awards to show for it. In It’s Now or Never, the pop star makes her acting debut, and her song In My Mind plays an integral role in the film’s musical landscape.

Carlos Alvarez Sanchez, Subject in Havana Motor Club
Carlos Alvarez Sanchez is one of the real life racers in Havana Motor Club.

Trey Edward Shults, Director of Krisha
Trey Edward Shults makes his directorial debut with Krisha.The film won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at SXSW 2015, and was later invited to the prestigious Semaine de la Critique in Cannes 2015.

Antonia Zegers, Actress in The Club
Antonia Zegers is unforgettable in the part of Sister Mónica in The Club.  She has appeared in all of Pablo Larraín’s films including No alongside Gael García Bernal which premiered at Miami International Film Festival 2013, Post Mortem (2010) andTony Manero (2008). She is a well-known television actress in Chile, and has starred in many TV movies and mini-series.

Four films screening at GEMS are official submissions from their home countries for the 88th Academy Awards including Taiwan’s The Assassin, Colombia’s Embrace of the Serpent, Argentina’s The Clan andChile’s The Club. The Festival’s programmers selected these films prior to their submission announcements, making this fall event quite a crystal gazer.

To purchase tickets, visit or call 1-844-565-6433(MIFF). For membership opportunities or more information, please visit or call 305-237-FILM(3456). Miami International Film Festival is the only major film festival event housed within a college or university.

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About Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival
Celebrating its 33rd anniversary March 4 – 13, 2016, 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, 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. The 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. Additionally, every October, the Festival hosts a four-day fall event titled GEMS, showcasing the season’s finest new cinematic works. Major sponsors of the 2016 Festival include Knight Foundation, Lexus and Miami-Dade County. For more information, visit or call 305-237-FILM(3456).

About Miami Dade College
The Cultural Affairs Department of Miami Dade College (MDC) is comprised of the Miami Book Fair, 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. MDC 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, MDC 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

Miami International Film Festival Contacts:
Jessica Wade Pfeffer, Jessica Wade Inc. | +1 305-804-8424 |
Margie Sernik, Jessica Wade Inc. | +1 305-456-0483 |

Miami Dade College Contacts:
Juan Mendieta | +1 305-237-761 |
Hessy Fernandez | Director, Media Relations | +1 305-237-3949 |
Sue Arrowsmith | +1 305-237-3710 |
Allison Horton | 1+ 305-237-3359 |