Nominees Announced for Zeno Mountain Award at MDC’s 35th Miami Film Festival

Nominees Announced for Zeno Mountain Award at MDC’s 35th Miami Film Festival

Miami, FL — Miami Dade College’s (MDC) acclaimed Miami Film Festival (MFF) unveiled seven new films to be featured in the Festival’s upcoming 35th anniversary edition by announcing today the nominees for the Festival’s second annual Zeno Mountain Award at the internationally-renowned annual event to be held March 9 – 18.

The Zeno Mountain Award is a $5,000 cash prize established at Miami Film Festival’s 2017 edition and is funded by Miami-based Fringe Partners. The jury-selected award celebrates the diversity of abilities and disabilities, and seeks to reward a film of any length or genre in the Festival’s Official Selection which helps break down barriers to our understanding of people living with disabilities. The award is named after the non-profit Zeno Mountain Farm in Lincoln, Vermont and is inspired by the actors and filmmakers in the acclaimed 2016 documentary Becoming Bulletproof.

“The universal distinction of the three features and four short films that make up this year’s Zeno Mountain Award candidates is that they are all illuminating, wonderful films,’” said Festival director Jaie Laplante. “And all of them showcase unique characters who surprise and delight us with their zest for life.”

The seven films competing for this year’s Zeno Mountain Award are:

  • “Carry That Weight: A Rockumentary” (USA, directed by Brian J. Leitten). Documentary Short. Miami Beach Senior High professor Doug Burris lived with multiple sclerosis for 46 years and created the school’s renowned Rock Ensemble, which rocks on to this day.
  • Coming to My Senses (USA, directed by Dominic Gill). Documentary Feature. In 1999, Aaron Baker broke his neck in a motocross accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down, but now fights against the odds for some mobility as he pursues a dream of returning to some of the athletic endeavors that he has loved all his life.
  • High Expectations (Brazil, directed by Alvaro Campos and Pedro Antonio). Narrative Feature. Decio, a horse trainer at the Rio de Janeiro Jockey Club, falls in love with Lena, a café owner/artist. Decio’s dwarfism may work to his advantage as a jockey, but his no-limits romantic expectations create a more challenging situation. A hilarious romantic comedy, loosely based on the real life story of Brazilian stand-up comedian Gigante Leo, who plays Decio.
  • September (Guatemala/Mexico, directed by Kenneth Müller). Narrative Feature. Josue’s family was ripped apart by Guatemala’s brutal civil war when a terrorist attack on September 5, 1980 left his wife dead and his 3-month-old daughter Theresa deaf for life. As Theresa grows up and faces the challenges of connecting with the world around her while dealing with her adolescent hormones, she finds strength in her father’s unwavering love.
  • “Sexual Being” (Canada, directed by Paul Stavropoulos). Documentary Short. Two young adults with cerebral palsy reject societal notions of sexual desirability that exclude them. Toronto college business student Chandler stars in adult movies, and Los Angeles empath Meaghan makes experimental art films.
  • “Share The Same Madness” (USA, directed by Tim Richardson). Documentary Short. Dennis Hudson, an autistic Detroit teenager home-schooled in an orthodox Catholic household, discovers electronic dance music. EDM provides Dennis with a means to transcend isolation and find the community he needs to survive.
  • “Spoon Fed” (UK, directed by Nick Hatton Jones). Narrative Short. Restaurant critic Ellie (played by Lesley Sharp) joins a support group after she’s diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. As her condition worsens, hope arrives from an unexpected place.

The Zeno Mountain Award presentation will be made at the Festival’s Awards Night Gala on March 17, at the Olympia Theater and The Historic Alfred I. Dupont Building in downtown Miami, as part of the Festival’s CINEDWNTWN GALA series sponsored by Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA).

The complete line-up for the 35th annual Festival will be unveiled in early February, with individual tickets going on sale to the general public beginning Feb. 16.

Tickets for the Awards Night Gala are already on sale via 1-844-565-6433 (MIFF) or In addition, individual vouchers guaranteeing a seat at the screenings of Coming to My Senses, High Expectations and September are now on sale to the general public. The schedule of screening times will be announced on Feb. 9.

For membership opportunities or more information, visit or call 305-237-FILM (3456). Miami 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 Film Festival                                           

Celebrating cinema in two annual events, Miami GEMS Festival in October and its 35th annual edition March 9 – 18, 2018, Miami Dade College’s Miami 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 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 2017-18 Festival season include Knight Foundation, American Airlines and Miami-Dade County. For more information, visit or call 305-237-FILM (3456).

MDC’s Miami Film Festival Media Relations Contacts:


Adam Kersh, Brigade | +1 917-580-6785 |
Guillermo Restrepo, Brigade | +1 917-580-6785 |


Salazar PR, Andrea Salazar | Tel: +1 954-756-0652 |
Clique PR, Dina Allende | Tel: +1 305-205-1058 |

MDC Media-only contacts: Juan C. Mendieta, MDC director of communications, 305-237-7611,; Hessy Fernandez, director of media relations, 305-237-3949,; Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, or Allison Horton, 305-237-3359,

Miami Film Festival