Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival Announces Call for Entries for 33rd Season

For Immediate Release

Monday, June 1, 2015
Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival
Announces Call for Entries for 33rd Season
Programmers Unveil New Eligibility Rules, Creating More Opportunities
To Compete For USD$65,000+ Cash in Major Categories

Miami, Florida – Organizers of the internationally-celebrated Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival today opened submissions for Official Selection to its 33rd annual season, to include the 33rd edition of the Festival to be held March 4 – 13, 2016, and GEMS, a newly created fall showcase of the season’s best works, to be held October 22 – 25, 2015. Considered the top venue in the U.S. for emerging Ibero-American cinema, the Festival seeks the latest works in any genre by debut, emerging and veteran filmmakers for various competition and non-competition categories, including features, documentaries, shorts, experimental cinema and Florida-centric stories. The Festival will include a prestigious awards ceremony to celebrate all Festival winners.Festival executive director Jaie Laplante unveiled important new eligibility rules in key categories during a live announcement event held at the newest outpost of Miami’s famed book-selling institution, The Café at Books & Books, located at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County.

The Festival’s signature Knight Competition, which presents Achievement Awards totaling $40,000 in cash courtesy of the Festival’s long-time, esteemed partner, The James L. & John S. Knight Foundation, will now be open to all feature films of any genre directed by filmmakers who have directed at least one Official Selection (feature) at a previous edition of Miami International Film Festival. The Foundation will continue to sponsor an additional category, the $10,000 Knight Documentary Achievement Award, which is voted on by the Festival audience.

Additionally, all new U.S. Hispanic and Ibero-American feature films in the Festival’s Official Selection will now be eligible for the $10,000 Lexus Ibero-American Feature Film Competition Achievement Award in the juried competition provided by the Festival’s Official and Exclusive Automobile Sponsor, Lexus. Lexus will continue to sponsor the ever-popular Lexus Feature Film Audience Award and the Lexus Short Film Audience Award, voted on by the Festival ticketbuyers.

A third major eligibility change is that short films of 30 minutes or less will be considered for the Festival’s Official Selection regardless of premiere or previous broadcast status, in non-competition categories only.

“Our new rules will open the doors for more of the year’s best filmmakers to be rewarded for their creativity and vision,” said executive director Laplante. “With more chances to win than ever before, filmmakers and audiences alike will be caught up in the excitement of the Festival’s best-of-the-best programming.”

To qualify for the 2016 Festival, all films must have realized their world premiere after March 2015 and may not be scheduled for theatrical release or commercial broadcast in the U.S. before March 15, 2016, except for non-competition short films and titles submitted to the CinemaSlam student film competition category.

The Festival’s programming team is headed by executive director Laplante, and currently includes Miami-based, Ecuadorian-American curator Andres Castillo; veteran Toronto International Film Festival and DOC NYC curator Thom Powers, described by The New York Times as a “kingmaker of documentaries”; founder/director of New York City and South Beach Wine & Food Festivals Lee Brian Schrager in the culinary category; and Miami-based Cuban filmmaker and MDC’s Tower Theater programmer Orlando Rojas.

Grand Jury Competition categories include: Knight Competition, Lexus Ibero-American Feature Film Competition, Jordan Alexander Ressler Screenwriting Award Competition, Shorts Competition, and Cinemaslam.

Audience-voted Competitions include: Knight Documentary Achievement Award, Lexus Feature Film Audience Award, Lexus Short Film Audience Award and CinemaSlam Audience Award.

Non-competition categories include Red Carpet Galas, Cinema 360º, REEL Music Scene, Florida Focus, MIFFecito and GEMS (October 22 – 25, 2015).


The Festival only accepts submissions via IMDB’s Withoutabox’s Secure Online Screener (SOS) system,no submissions on DVDs will be accepted.

For all categories unless otherwise noted:

  • World premiere must have occurred no earlier than March 6, 2015.
  • Preference will be given to World, International, North American and U.S. premieres, but must be at minimum a Florida Premiere at the 2016 Festival.
  • Films of 30 minutes or greater must not have been or be scheduled for public consumption through any form of public broadcast (including internet) or commercial theatrical engagement in the US prior to March 18, 2016.Short films available on the internet for public consumption will be considered for the official selection in non-competitive categories only.
  • Exhibition format must be DCP.
DEADLINES & ENTRIES FEESMonday, June 29, 2015 | Early Deadline | $45.00 (SOS)

Monday, July 27, 2015 | Regular Deadline | $55.00 (SOS)
Monday, August 31, 2015 | Late Deadline | $65.00 (S0S)
Wednesday, September 30, 2015 | Extended Deadline | $100.00 (S0S)FESTIVAL CATEGORIES

Dramatic works that will compete for $40,000 in prizes courtesy of Knight Foundation

  • Must be 60 minutes or longer in TRT
  • This category is open to all film directors who have presented a film at a previous Miami International Film Festival edition (year and title will be required to verify eligibility)
Engaging and thought-provoking feature-length documentaries created by international filmmakers that examine social issues, diverse cultures, icons and/or inspiring people, that will compete for $10,000 courtesy of Knight Foundation
  • Must be 50 minutes or longer in TRT
Feature filmmakers from U.S. Hispanic; Spain, Portugal and/or Latin America will compete for $10,000.
  • Must be 60 minutes or longer in TRT
  • This category is open only to U.S. Hispanic and Ibero-American filmmakers
  • Projects must originate from Spain, Portugal, the Caribbean, or any Latin American country, OR originate from the U.S. and contain a central Latino theme or character
First-time screenwriters will compete for a $5,000 USD cash prize
  • Must be 60 minutes or longer in TRT
  • This category is open only to films written by screenwriters that represent their first-produced feature-length screenplay
The latest in short films from around the globe, appropriate for any MIFF category
  • Must be 30 minutes or less in TRT
  • Documentary, Dramatic and Animated films are accepted
Feature narratives from both masters and up-and-coming filmmakers from every country in the world, including an international selection of dramas, comedies, suspense thrillers, neo westerns, and innovative docudramas
  • Must be 60 minutes or longer in TRT
Films partially or wholly shot in Florida or by a filmmaker (director/producer) who is originally from or current resident of Florida
  • Category is open to films partially or wholly shot in Florida or by a filmmaker (director/producer) who is originally from or a current resident of Florida
  • Category is open to films of any length
Narrative or documentary films with culinary content
  • Must be 50 minutes or longer in TRT
  • Films with a world premiere date of January 1, 2014 or after, are eligible in this category.
Narrative or documentary films with music-themed content
  • Must be 50 minutes or longer in TRT
Narrative films for the entire family
  • Category is open to films of any length
GEMS – OCTOBER 22 to 25, 2015
Feature narratives from both masters and up-and-coming filmmakers, including an international selection of dramas, comedies, suspense thrillers, neo westerns, and innovative docudramas.  Submissions accepted until August 31, 2015 only.
  • Must be 50 minutes or longer in TRT
  • World premiere must have occurred no earlier than September 1, 2014
  • Must be at minimum a Florida Premiere at GEMS scheduled for October 22-25, 2015.
  • Must not have been or be scheduled for public consumption through any form of public broadcast (including internet) or commercial theatrical engagement in the US prior to October 30, 2015**
Notifications will be sent by January 15, 2016.
** Exceptions may be made for films with limited VOD releases outside of Florida or limited online releases associated with international Festival premieres.CINEMASLAM
Film school competition, aims to discover, showcase, and celebrate the work of undergraduate and graduate students in Miami/ South Florida film schools. Open to any student enrolled in a participating South Florida college/university on the completion date of the film. Miami/South Florida schools include Barry University, Florida International University, Miami Dade College, Miami International University, New World School of the Arts (University of Florida) St. Thomas University and the University of Miami.

  • Films may be a narrative short, documentary short, experimental short, or animation.
  • Category is open to a maximum runtime of 15-20 minutes.
  • Film completion date must be October 2014 or later. Films submitted in a prior year are ineligible.
  • Submissions will open from October 2, 2015 until January 8, 2016.
  • Films submitted may be part of a class project or an independent piece.
  • Submissions MUST be uploaded to the Withoutabox platform in an acceptable resolution.
  • Students must pay a submission fee of $10 to enter the competition.
  • Exhibition format if selected as “a finalist” must be BluRay or digital file.
To submit: Visit for the official submission form via Withoutabox. For additional information: or +1 305-237-FILM (3456).
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About Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival
Celebrating its 33rd annual edition 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 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 2016 Festival include Knight Foundation, Lexus and Miami-Dade County. For more information, o or call 305-237-FILM (3456).About MDCulture
MDCulture is the Cultural Affairs Department of Miami Dade College (MDC). Comprised of Miami Book Fair International, Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival, Tower Theater, The Center for Literature and Writing, 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

About John S. & 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,

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 Books & Books
Mitchell Kaplan, a Miami Beach native, founded Books & Books in 1982. Housed in a Mediterranean-styled building, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida recently celebrated its 30th anniversary and currently hosts over 60 events a month, consisting of author talks, readings and signings (in both English and Spanish), demonstrations and workshops, a live music series, book club discussions, programming for children and families, and a variety of diverse community-based events in partnership with local civic, educational and cultural organizations year-round. All of this is achieved in an old-world setting of floor-to-ceiling wood bookshelves, wood floors, and a beautiful Mediterranean courtyard café, managed by James Beard-award winning Chef Allen Susser. A second location opened on Lincoln Road in 1989, continues to serve the Miami Beach community today, and includes a Zagat-rated, full-service restaurant – The Café at Books & Books. In April 2005, Books & Books opened a store inside the ultra-chic Bal Harbour Shops mall, specializing in high-end art and design books and is located on the mall’s third level, near Neiman-Marcus. The Books & Books brand went international in 1997, with the opening of a store in Grand Cayman Islands, located in a new multi-million dollar development, Camana Bay, now serving both the visiting and local population of the island with a visiting international author event series. In July 2010, Books & Books partnered with Jack McKeown and Denise Berthiume, two veterans of the book industry, to create an affiliate in Westhampton Beach, Long Island, now firmly established as the quintessential independent bookstore in that community. Books & Books is also conveniently located at Miami International Airport in the American Airlines terminal. The Gift Shop by Books & Books inside the Coral Gables Museum, features one-of-a-kind gifts, jewelry and hand-made objects. The Newsstand on Brickell Avenue, offers quick snacks and selected reads for Miami’s busy and bustling downtown community. Books & Books stores have not only withstood the challenge from the big chains and online retailers, but have become cultural centers for each neighborhood’s readers and writers and gathering places where people come to share their love of books. Mitchell is a co-founder of Miami Book Fair International and serves as the Chairperson of its Board of Directors. He is the former President of the American Booksellers Association and also served on the Board of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. In 2011, Mitchell received the National Book Foundation’s prestigious “Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community” presented to an individual for outstanding service to the American literary community, whose life and work exemplify the goals of the National Book Foundation to expand the audience for literature and to enhance the cultural value of literature in America.

Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival Contacts:

Juan C. Mendieta, MDC Communications Director +1 305-237-7611,

Hessy Fernandez, Director, Media Relations, 305-237-3949,
Sue Arrowsmith, +1 305-237-3710,
Allison Horton, +305-237-3359,

Miami Film Festival