Miami International Film Festival, a Program of Miami Dade College’s MDCulture, Announces MIFFecito 2014 Film Lineup

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For Immediate Release

September 2, 2014
Miami International Film Festival, a Program of Miami Dade College’s MDCulture, Announces MIFFecito 2014 Film Lineup
MIFFecito (like ‘cafecito’) appears October 16 – 19, 2014, held exclusively at Miami Dade College’s Tower Theater as a ‘taste’ to the festival’s upcoming March 2015 Festival

Festival will open with Director Ernesto Daranas’ BEHAVIOR (CONDUCTA)

Film slate captures current international humanities and social experiences

Films include North American, East Coast and Florida Premieres, with Box Office Hits

Miami, FL — Miami International Film Festival (MiamiFF), a program of Miami Dade College’s MDCulture, is proud to announce the lineup for MIFFecito 2014, the “mini” film festival which provides a mid-season “taste” to next year’s 32nd edition running March 6-15, 2015. Taking place over four days (October 16 – 19, 2014), MIFFecito will premiere heralded international films submitted from countries including Bhutan, Cuba, Italy, Mexico, Poland, and Spain. Miami Dade College’s Tower Theater will serve as the exclusive venue for all screenings.

MiamiFF Executive Director Jaie Laplante mentions, “As Miami’s beloved cafecito culture is to mid-day refreshment, MIFFecito is to our annual March festival. MIFFecito is an appetizer to MiamiFF’s main course, the perfect Fall break for film lovers who crave a cinematic fix.”

The ‘mini’ festival’s film slate includes:


In director Ernesto Daranas’ second dramatic feature film, which will screen opening night at MIFFecito, a Havana boy sent to a reform school becomes the subject of a moral tug-of-war between generational ideologies in today’s Cuba. The complex, dramatic story centers on Chala, who on the critical cusp of adolescence, scrapes by with few positive role models as he illegally trains fight dogs.  After Chala is sent to reform school, his addict mother’s attempts to have him released set up a chain reaction among the school leaders. Since its premiere in Cuba, the film became an unexpected social phenomenon sparking Cuba’s current social state as a hot topic for discussion.

  • “The Blue Car” (“El carro azul”) (Germany / Cuba), directed by Valerie Heine. FLORIDA PREMIERE.

A short dramatic film about Marcos. His grandmother’s death forces Hansel, his worldly brother, to return Cuba to care for him, and an old family game helps restore the trust lost over the years.

  • Carmina and Amen (Carmina y amén) (Spain), directed by Paco León. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.

Actor-cum-director Paco León is a familiar face to Miami art film lovers. He starred in the 2013 film Three Many Weddings (Tres bodas de más) featured at MiamiFF31; and the year prior, he created a charming showcase for the incredible force, charisma and outrageous personality of his actress-mother Carmina Barrios’ in Carmina or Blow-Up, which became an unexpected hit both in Spain and Miami. In this 2014 sequel, Carmina and Amen, Carmina triumphantly returns, upgrading the low-budget original with a deeper, more mature work that ups the ante on her larger-than-life outlook on family, sex, death and any other topic that falls into her purview.

  • I Can Quit Whenever I Want (Smetto quando voglio) (Italy), directed by Sydney Sibilia. FLORIDA PREMIERE.
Full of terrific, farcical comedy and wicked social commentary, I Can Quit Whenever I Want is director Sydney Sibilia’s vehicle to offer Italians the chance to chuckle at the gloomy 43% unemployment rate for Italy’s youth. Realizing their post-graduate degrees are worthless, a rag-tag crew of desperate intellectuals imagine a new psychotropic drug, and then apply their refined but completely unmarketable skills to the illicit drug trade, much to the chagrin of the local Mafia. This film was nominated for 12 Donatello Awards, the Academy Awards of Italy.
  • Lake Los Angeles (USA), directed by Mike Ott. FLORIDA PREMIERE.
Francisco, played by Miami’s own Roberto Sanchez, is a middle-aged Cuban man who works odd construction jobs, and makes money on the side by offering his home as a holding house for illegal Mexican immigrants.  Cecilia, a 10-year-old Mexican girl, crosses the border hoping to find a better life in the US, but her treacherous journey into the Promised Land will test her spiritual and physical fortitude. Lake Los Angeles (2014) completes Mike’s desert trilogy which also includes: Littlerock (2010) and Pearblossom Hwy (2012).
  • Life Feels Good (Chce się żyć) (Poland), directed by Maciej Pieprzyca. FLORIDA PREMIERE.
The winner of several major awards at the 2014 Polish Academy Awards, Life Feels Good is the funny, brazen, sexual, fierce and wistfully melancholic story of Mateusz, a boy born with cerebral palsy and whose inner voice dialogue drives the film’s narrative during his 26-year fight to communicate with the world. Like My Left Foot, which is also based on a true story, the Maciej Pieprzyca-directed film draws parallels to Poland’s national struggles over the time period of Mateusz’s life, both the nation and the man refusing to give up.
  • Paradise (Paraíso) (Mexico), directed by Mariana Chenillo. FLORIDA PREMIERE.
Director Mariana Chenillo’s second feature film takes on society’s obsession with “the perfect body” through light-hearted humor, poignant wit and absurd definitions of relationship balance. A deeply in-love, overweight married couple’s relationship suffers when, humiliated by social weight-loss chatter, they mutually seek to shrink their plus-sized bodies. Only one spouse succeeds, burdening the “failing” spouse with today’s idea of appearance and self-worth, even in the presence of unconditional love. The premiere at the Festival will be Chenillo’s second visit. Her previous film, Nora’s Will (Cinco días sin Nora), won the Audience Award at MiamiFF26 in 2009.
  • Root (Raiz) (Chile), directed by Matías Rojas Valencia. FLORIDA PREMIERE.
What happens when the estranged, abused 20-something daughter of a privileged family spontaneously adopts a nine-year-old boy orphaned from her domineering mother’s maid’s death?  A long, rewarding road-trip, fraught with self-discovery, and bond-building. Despite their considerable age difference, Amalia and Cristobal’s common experiences of difficult family life are reinforced by director Matías Rojas Valencia’s striking, imposing scenery, at once building connections between the characters, the planet, and the wonders of life itself.
  • Spanish Affair (Ochos apellidos vascos) (Spain), directed by Emilio Martínez-Lázaro. EAST COAST PREMIERE.
No film in 2014 has tapped the Spanish zeitgeist to the astonishing level represented by Emilio Martínez-Lázaro’s Spanish Affair, catapulting the 98-minute comedy to become the all-time highest-grossing Spanish film at Spain’s domestic box office. A love-smitten Seville man must pretend to be a Basque man in order to win the girl of his dreams, highlighting the cultural divide between northern and southern Spain. The tensions of Basque separatist sentiments, exasperated by Spain’s economic crisis, are a difficult daily reality, providing a taboo-busting opportunity to ease the pain with laughter through a seemingly-innocent film that proves otherwise.
  • Vara: A Blessing (Bhutan / Hong Kong / Sri Lanka), directed by Khyentse Norbu. FLORIDA PREMIERE.
Director Khyentse Norbu’s lush, breathtaking visuals unfold the story of India’s brutal, indiscriminate caste system, which too-frequently constricts the possibility for the simplest, earnest relationships. The communion of love, art and spirituality collide when a lower-caste Muslim enraptures a lovely Hindu girl through the earthy, artistic grace of pottery, complicating village elder plans of marrying Lila off to a wealthy scion. Vara: A Blessing is a triumphant expression of whirling dance, music and the boundaries of devotion. The film is accompanied by music from worldwide famed composer and producer Nitin Sawhney. Director Norbu, who is a practicing lama, visited MiamiFF21 in 2004 when his previous film, Travellers & Magicians, was screened at the Olympia Theater.
In addition to MIFFecito’s slate of premieres, visionary playwright and director Moisés Kaufman will host a special event titled A Conversation with Moisés Kaufman & THE LARAMIE PROJECT Retrospective ScreeningThe Laramie Project, his landmark 2002 HBO documentary, chronicles the legislative aftermath of gay teen Matthew Shephard’s hate-crime murder. The film, an exposé of intolerance and discrimination which echoes current news from Russia and Africa, offers fresh lessons in the ongoing war. The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act has positively impacted the past five years in the United States. The director will lead a post-screening conversation on the issues, techniques, and engagement his landmark film helped spark. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Kaufman is currently in Miami rehearsing for the November debut of Bizet’s Carmen, which is being co-produced by his Tectonic Theater Project. The conversation will be moderated by Dennis Scholl, VP/Arts for John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Thursday, September 18, 2014.  Tickets: 1-844-565-6433(MIFF) or Opening Night Film + Party $50 // $40 for members. All other screenings $12 adults, $11 seniors, $10 members, $7 students. 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.

Producing sponsors of MIFFecito include Ball & Chain Bar & Lounge.

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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

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,