Michel Franco, Sebastian Cordero, Hector Medina Headline Competition Jury List for Miami Dade College’s Acclaimed Miami Film Festival 34th Edition

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Michel Franco, Sebastian Cordero, Hector Medina Headline Competition Jury List for Miami Dade College’s Acclaimed Miami Film Festival 34th Edition

Competition Categories Include Knight Competition, HBO Ibero-American Feature Film Competition, Jordan Ressler Screenwriting Award and Cinemaslam

Miami, FL — Organizers of Miami Dade College’s Miami Film Festival 34th edition scheduled for March 3 – 12, 2017, announced today the jury members of four competition categories including Knight Competition, HBO Ibero-American Feature Film Competition, Jordan Ressler Screenwriting Award and Cinemaslam.

For the Festival’s signature Knight Competition, presented by The John S. & James L. Knight Foundation, the members of the jury will be:

  • Michel Franco, Franco is from Mexico City and has written, directed and produced films that include Chronic (15), winner of the Best Screenplay award at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and a success at 2016 Miami Film Festival, and After Lucia (12), winner of the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes Film Festival. Franco also produced Lorenzo Vigas’ From Afar (15), the first Latin American film to win the prestigious Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival. From Afar also won 2016 Miami Film Festival’s Jordan Ressler Screenwriter Award.
  • Grainne Humphreys, Humphreys has worked in film programming for over twenty years. beginning with Junior Dublin Film Festival in 1994. During her tenure at the Irish Film Institute, she included programming seasons on Andy Warhol, Agnes Varda and Harold Pinter, and in 2001 she was named Assistant Director. She has served as a jury member and coordinated film programs on a number of international film festivals and events. She has been, since 2007, Festival Director of the Dublin International Film Festival, which annually showcases more than 140 feature films.
  • Bahia Ramos, Arts Program Director at Knight Foundation. Ramos is a native of Brooklyn, New York, she has had an extensive career in the cultural nonprofit sector serving as government and community affairs director at Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Brooklyn Children’s Museum. She joined the Knight Foundation in September 2009. She has also served as a member of The Miami Foundation’s signature leadership program, Miami Fellows. Ramos earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from Williams College and a Master of Public Administration from the Baruch College School of Public Affairs, as a National Urban Fellow.

This year’s Knight Competition includes 20 feature films from around the world, directed by filmmakers who have directed at least one previous Official Selection (feature) of the Festival, competing for achievement awards totaling $40,000 in cash, courtesy of Knight Foundation.

For the Festival’s HBO Ibero-American Feature Film Competition, the members of the jury will be:

  • Leslie Cohen,Vice President of Film Programming at HBO. Cohen is responsible for the acquisition of Spanish language films and series for HBO Latino as well as acquisition of films from the major studios for both HBO and Cinemax. Cohen’s tenure at HBO spans over 20+ years, where she worked on the launch of HBO’s international ventures in Asia and Central Europe and performed financial forecasting and deal analysis in HBO’s strategic planning group. Cohen serves as a Board Member of the Picture House Regional Film Center in New York and an Advisory Board Member for Florida’s Gasparilla Film Festival Cinema by the Bay. She holds a BA in English from Dartmouth College and an MBA from New York University. She lives in New York with her husband and two children.
  • Héctor Medina, Medina is a theater, TV, and film actor from Havana, Cuba. His early feature film screen roles include Gerardo Chijona’s Boleto al paraíso (10) and Esther en alguna parte (13). He played the role of Yunisleidi in Agusti Villaronga’s The King of Havana (15), a Miami Film Festival Official Selection, and the title role in the Oscar-shortlisted Irish/Cuban film Viva (15). Medina recently finished shooting Alejandro Andújar’s The Watchman (17).
  • Shrihari Sathe, director and producer. Sathe is a New York and Mumbai-based director and producer. His credits as a producer include Jaron Henrie-McCrea’s Pervertigo (12), Eliza Hittman’s It Felt Like Love (13) and Beach Rats (17). Sathe is a 2013 Sundance Institute Creative Producing Fellow and a 2015 Independent Spirit Awards Nominee. His feature directorial debut,1000 Rupee Note (Ek Hazarachi Note), won the Special Jury Award and Centenary Award for Best Film at the 2014 International Film Festival of India and has received over 35 awards. Sathe is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and frequently does master classes at various universities.

This year’s HBO Ibero-American Feature Film Competition includes 35 feature films, representing all Ibero-American films in the Festival’s Official Selection, competing for an Achievement Award of $10,000, courtesy of HBO.

For the Festival’s Jordan Ressler Foundation Screenwriting Prize, the jurors will be:

  • Sebastian Cordero, filmmaker. Cordero is from Quito, Ecuador. His films Cronicas (04) and Pescador (11) both screened at Miami Film Festival. His other films include Ratas, ratones, rateros (99), Rage (09) and Europa Report (13). Such is Life in the Tropics (16), his latest film, is competing in this year’s Festival in both Knight Competition and HBO Ibero-american Feature Film Competition.
  • Ana Guevara, filmmaker. Guevara is from Montevideo, Uruguay. She co-directed, with Leticia Jorge, the short films “The Guest’s Room” (06), “Summer Runners” (09) and the award winning feature Tanta agua (So Much Water), which premiered at Berlinale’s Panorama in 2013 and won both the 2013 Miami Film Festival Knight Grand Jury Prize and the Jordan Ressler Screenwriting Award. Her latest short “60 Candles” (14) debuted at Miami Film Festival in 2015.
  • Brandon Harris, professor, filmmaker/festival programmer/editor. Harris is an Assistant Professor of Film at SUNY Purchase, Festival Programmer at the Indie Memphis Film Festival and Contributing Editor of Filmmaker Magazine. Brandon Harris’ criticism and journalism has appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian, Vice, New Republic and N+1. His film Redlegs (12), is a New York Times’ Critic’s Pick. His memoir Making Rent in Bed-Stuy is forthcoming from HarperCollins Publishers.

Thirteen screenplays are eligible for this year’s Jordan Alexander Ressler Screenwriting Prize, representing screenwriters from all feature films in the Festival that have a first-produced feature screenwriter, competing for an Achievement Award of $10,000. The award is sponsored by the family of the late Jordan Alexander Ressler, an aspiring screenwriter and Cornell film studies graduate who died in a tragic hiking accident at the age of 23, before realizing his dream.

Winners in these categories, as well as Knight Documentary Achievement Award and Zeno Mountain Award, will be announced at the Festival’s Awards Night ceremony on Saturday, March 11th at the Olympia Theater, part of the CINEDWNTWN program presented by Miami Downtown Development Authority. The Festival’s closing night selection, the International premiere of Carlos Therón’s For Your Own Good, will screen after the ceremony.

The Festival’s CinemaSlam 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 upon the completion date of the film. In this edition, students from the following colleges from Miami /South Florida have submitted their shorts: New York Film Academy Miami, Florida International University, Miami Dade College, University of Miami, Miami International University of Art and Design New World School of the Arts (University of Florida) and the Center of Cinematography, Arts and Television. The members of the jury will be:

  • Andrew Garcia, filmmaker. Garcia is an award-winning filmmaker from Miami.. While currently studying in New York, Garcia continues to visually tell innovative and original stories to his audience.
  • Jose Jacho,VP of Operations, FilmGate Miami Jacho is co-founder of Indie Film Club Miami and FilmGate Miami. He studied film at both Miami Dade College and Florida International University and has worked on numerous film and music video projects.
  • Tiffany Lighty, Lighty is a filmmaker, writer and editor of tiffanynoir.com. Lighty is from New England and attended University of Miami, double majoring in Film and Fine Arts. Lighty has worked in the industry on numerous critically-acclaimed shows for networks such as BET, USA, FX and Netflix, and the Oscar-nominated film Selma (15). Forthcoming projects include the web series “In The Light with Lighty”.

Winners in the Cinemaslam category will be announced at the Cinemaslam Awards screening on Saturday, March 4th at 12 noon at MDC’s Tower Theater.

For membership opportunities or more information about Miami Film Festival, please visit www.miff2020.wpengine.com or call 305-237-FILM (3456).


About Miami Dade College’s Miami Film Festival

Celebrating its 34th anniversary March 3 – 12, 2017, Miami Dade College’s Miami Film Festival (MDC) 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 mid-season festival titled GEMS, showcasing the season’s finest new cinematic works. Major sponsors of the 2017 Festival include Knight Foundation, The Related Group and Miami-Dade County. For more information, visit www.miff2020.wpengine.com or call 305-237-FILM (3456).

About Culture at Miami Dade College

The Cultural Affairs Department of Miami Dade College (MDC) is composed of the Miami Book Fair, Miami Film Festival, Tower Theater Miami, 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 mdc.edu/arts.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation               

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.

About Jordan Alexander Ressler Charitable Fund

The Fund’s special award recognizes and supports artists in their careers as professional screenwriters. It was created by the South Florida family of Jordan Alexander Ressler, an aspiring screenwriter and Cornell University film studies graduate who, during his brief entertainment career, held production positions with the Tony award-winning Broadway hits 700 Sundays with Billy Crystal and Jersey Boys.


Miami Film Festival Contacts:

Salazar PR, Andrea Salazar | Tel: +1 954-756-0652 | asalazarpr@gmail.com

Clique PR, Dina Allende | Tel: +1 305-205-1058 | dina@makeitclique.com

MDC Contacts:

Juan Mendieta | +1 305-237-7611 | jmendiet@mdc.edu

Hessy Fernandez | +1 305-237-3949 | Hfernan5@mdc.edu

Sue Arrowsmith | +1 305-237-3710 | sue.arrowsmith@mdc.edu

Allison Horton | 1+ 305-237-3359 | ahorton@mdc.edu