The 29th Annual Miami International Film Festival Honors Grand Jury Prize Winners in Ibero-American, Documentary and Short Film Categories at Awards Night Ceremony

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Festival Contact:
Danny Diaz
Tel: +1 305-389-8986

MDC Contact:
Juan Mendieta
Tel: +1 305-237-7611’


MARCH 11, 2012


The 29th Annual Miami International Film Festival
Honors Grand Jury Prize Winners in Ibero-American, Documentary and Short Film Categories at Awards Night Ceremony


BonsáiThe Imposter & Expiration Date Capture Top Grand Jury Prizes 


Miami, FL – Organizers of the 29th annual Miami International Film Festival, produced and presented by Miami Dade College, tonight celebrated 9 days (with another day of screenings still to come) of 100 films from 35 countries with the Awards Night Ceremony at the Olympia Theater of The Gusman Center for the Performing Arts.


A special screening of the US Premiere of Sebastián Borensztein’s Chinese Take-Away (Un cuento chino), starring Argentine superstar Ricardo Darín, followed the ceremony.


Juried awards were presented in the following competition categories: Ibero-American and Documentary, sponsored by the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation; Short Film, sponsored by the University of Miami and Ibero-American Opera Prima, sponsored by Lexus.


“This has truly been a memorable Festival with enlightening and educational films, said Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, president of Miami Dade College. “Congratulations to the winners, Jaie, the entire MIFF and college teams, and all the volunteers who make our beloved festival possible.”


“This year’s films were stronger than ever,” said executive director Jaie Laplante. “Congratulations to all the winning filmmakers whose visions unquestionably raised the bar of the art form this year at the Miami International Film Festival.”





  • Knight Grand Jury PrizeBonsái from Chile, a coproduction with Argentina, Portugal and France, directed by Cristián Jiménez –  a $30,000 USD cash prize awarded by the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which will be split with US distributor Strand Releasing.
  • Grand Jury Discretionary Prize: Blood of My Blood (Sangue do meu Sangue), from Portugal, directed by João Canijo– a $5,000 USD cash prize awarded by the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • Grand Jury Discretionary Prize:  Violeta Went to Heaven (Violeta se fue a los cielos), from Chile, a coproduction with Argentina and Brazil, directed by Andrés Wood – a $5,000 USD cash prize awarded by the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation


  • Knight Grand Jury PrizeThe Imposter from United Kingdom, directed by Bart Layton – a $10,000 USD cash prize awarded by the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • Honorable MentionUnfinished Spaces, from USA, directed by Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray
  • Honorable MentionThe Strawberry Tree (El árbol de las fresas), from Canada, directed by Simone Rapisarda Casanova


  • Bonsái from Chile, a coproduction with Argentina, Portugal and France, screenplay by Cristián Jiménez, based on the novel by Alejandro Zambra — a $5,000 USD cash prize awarded by the Jordan Alexander Ressler Charitable Fund; open to films in the Ibero-American Competition


  • University of Miami Grand Jury Award for Best Short FilmCatharsis, from France, directed by Cédric Prévost —a $2,500 USD cash prize awarded by the University of Miami


  • Lexus Ibero-American Opera Prima AwardExpiration Date (Fecha de caducidad), from Mexico, directed by Kenya Márquez — $5,000 USD cash prize sponsored by Lexus, official automotive sponsor of MIFF.




The $45,000 in cash prize money in the competition is courtesy of the Knight Foundation and Ressler Foundation.  The Festival’s signature category is unique among U.S. film festivals and serves as a gateway to U.S. audiences for feature films by directors from Spain, Portugal and Latin America seeking distribution and theatrical release. A film was awarded a  $30,000 USD Knight Grand Jury Prize that will be split between the filmmaker and the U.S. distributor of the film* (*funds will be awarded to the U.S. distributor on the condition of a minimum one-week commercial theatrical engagement in Miami-Dade County before March 11, 2013).   If no U.S. distributor is secured before April 12, 2012, then the full award will be made to the filmmakers. The Grand Jury, in its own discretion, awarded up to a total of $10,000 additional funds to two in the Knight Ibero-American Competition for distinctions of the Jury’s selection.

The three awards for the competition were hand crafted from aluminum sheets by local Cuban artist Pablo Cano and his pieces symbolize the hope that films bring to the masses. He has been a resident of Miami’s Little Havana, and is regarded by art patrons and critics alike as one of Florida’s premiere contemporary fine artists.


Knight Foundation Ibero-American films in competition:


·       Blood of My Blood (Sangue do Meu Sangue) (Portugal, directed by João Canijo)

·       Bonsái  (Chile/Argentina/Portugal/France, directed by Cristián Jiménez)

·       The Cat Vanishes (El gato desaparece) (Argentina, directed by Carlos Sorín)

·       I’d Receive the Worst News From Your Beautiful Lips (Eu Receberia as Piores Notícias

de Seus Lindos Lábios) (Brazil, directed by Beto Brant and Renato Ciasca)

·       Madrid,1987 (Spain, directed by David Trueba)

·       Pescador (Ecuador/Colombia, directed Sebastián Cordero)

·      The Porcelain Horse (Mejor no hablar (de ciertas cosas)) (Ecuador/USA, directed by Javier                         Andrade)

·       The Sex of the Angels  (El sexo de los ángeles) (Spain/Brazil, directed by Xavier Villaverde)

·       The Sleeping Voice (La voz dormida) (Spain, directed by Benito Zambrano)

·       Violeta Went to Heaven (Violeta se fue a los cielos) (Chile, directed by Andrés Wood)

·       Zoo (Zoológico) (Chile, directed by Rodrigo Marín)


Knight Ibero-American Competition Jury:

  • Simon De Santiago, of Madrid’s MOD Producciones, executive producer of Alejandro Amenabar’s Agora and Oskar Santos’ For The Good of Others, among many other credits.
  • Tania Hermida, Quito, Ecuador-based filmmaker, director of the MIFF 2012 selection In The Name of the Girl (En el nombre de la hija), in the Cinema 360/Films For Youth section.
  • Ariel Rotter, Buenos Aires producer/director, producer of the Cannes Film Festival Camera d’Or winning film Las Acacias, also featured in MIFF 2012’s Lexus Opera Prima Competition, and director of The Other, an official selection at MIFF 2008.


This category presents some of the world’s most provocative documentary feature films that examine social issues, diverse cultures, icons and inspiring people and events. One of the 10 films in this competition will win a Grand Jury Prize in the amount of $10,000 USD from the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which seeks to enhance Miami’s reputation for quality film programming as one way to promote informed and engaged communities.


Local artist Wendy Wischer created the award “Making Waves,” made of cast and manipulated clear acrylic mounted on brushed aluminum.  The piece is a nod to the notion that documentaries are intended to make waves.
Knight Documentary Competition:

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (USA, directed by Alison Klayman) Ben Lee: Catch My Disease (Australia, directed by Amiel Courtin-Wilson) Calvet (UK/Spain, directed by Dominic Allan): First Position (USA, directed by Bess Kargman) The Imposter (UK, directed by Bart Layton) Lemon (USA, directed by Beth Levison and Laura Brownson) The Strawberry Tree (El arbol de las fresas) (Canada, directed by Simone Rapisarda Casanova) Under African Skies (USA, directed by Joe Berlinger) Unfinished Spaces (USA, directed by Alysa Nahimas and Benjamin Murray) You’ve Been Trumped (UK, directed by Anthony Baxter)


Knight Documentary Jury:

  • Nelson George, is an author, historian and filmmaker with a long career celebrating and documenting African – American culture. His latest novel is The Plot Against Hip Hop (Akashic Books).
  • Carmen Guarini, is one of the pioneers of Argentine documentary cinema and a director of the firs documentary pitching-forum of Latin America, DocBUENOSAIRES.
  • Alfred Spellman, A Miami native, Spellman started his production company with partner Billy Corben while both were sophomores in high school. The duo’s debut doc Raw Deal: A Question of Consent successfully premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2001.


A new category for 2012, seven films from first-time feature filmmakers from Spain, Portugal and/or Latin America competed for a $5,000 USD cash prize sponsored by Lexus, official automotive sponsor of MIFF.


Lexus Ibero-American Opera Prima Competition

·       180 Seconds (180 segundos) (Colombia, directed by Alexander Giraldo)

·       Distance (Distancia) (Guatemala, directed by Sergio Ramírez)

·       Expiration Date (Fecha de caducidad) (Mexico, directed by Kenya Marquez)

·       Las Acacias (Argentina/Spain, directed by Pablo Giorgelli)

·       The Student (El estudiante) (Argentina, directed by Santiago Mitre)

·       Speechless (Sin palabras) (Colombia, directed by Ana Sofia Osorio and Diego Bustamante)

·       Vaquero (Argentina, directed by Juan Minujin)


Lexus Ibero-American Opera Prima Jury:

  • Alexandra Codina, a Miami native, her directorial and producing debut, Monica & David, won the Jury Award for Best Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival and had its world broadcast premiere on HBO.
  • Diego Ojeda, born in Miami, in 2007, he independently produced his first feature-length film with Peruvian director Ricardo de Montreuil. The film, entitled Mancora, world premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
  • Aaron J. Salgado, a Miami native, his first short film titled Jamaica Motel, received the Committee Award at the 2006 Miami Short Film FestivalHis first feature film Magic City Memoirs, premiered at the 2011 Miami International Film Festival.



This special category and award recognizes and supports young people as they embark on 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. He died in a tragic hiking accident while traveling in Nicaragua at age 23, before he realized his dream. This Grand Jury Prize in the amount of $5,000 USD will be awarded to a screenwriter or screenwriters of a feature film in the Ibero-American Competition by the Jordan Alexander Ressler Charitable Fund.


Local Miami artist Ralph Provisero created the award, which is an abstracted image of a quill pen on top of a cylinder. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including a permanent installation on the University of Miami campus, and featured in books such as The Martin Z. Margulies Collection(2008), Miami Contemporary Artists (2007), and The History of American Graffiti (2011).



This category features the latest works from independent shorts filmmakers from around the world. One of the films in this competition will win the Grand Jury Prize in the amount of $2,500 USD from the University of Miami, sponsor of this event.


The Shorts Competition:

·       The Beach Chronicles, AGX (USA, directed by Kevin Sharpley)

·       Catharis (France, directed by Cédric Prévost)

·       Cell Phone Zombies (Cel Zombies) (Ecuador, directed by Jorge Luis Miranda)

·       The Dancer (USA);Grandmothers (Abuelas) (UK, directed by Seth Stark)

·       Immune (USA); Shift (USA, directed by Andrew Lathrop)

·       The Trip (A Viagem) (Portugal/USA, directed by Juan Carlos Zaldivar)



On March 5th, the Festival announced the Cinemaslam winners and crowned the film Oliver (from Miami International University, directed by Tatiana Ordonez) the Cinemaslam Champion.

Cinemaslam, the premiere student-film competition in South Florida, had dozens of film entries created by undergraduate and graduate-film students attending five of the region’s collegiate institutions.


Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), celebrating its 29th edition on March 2-11, 2012, is considered the preeminent Ibero-American film festival in the U.S. The annual Festival, produced and presented by Miami Dade College, attracts more than 70,000 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. MIFF’s special focus on Ibero-American cinema have made the Miami International Film Festival a natural gateway for the discovery of Ibero-American talent. Additionally, the Festival offers unparalleled educational opportunities to filmmakers and the community at large. For more, visit or call 305-237-MIFF (3456).   Major sponsors of the 2012 Miami International Film Festival include: Lexus, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Miami Beach Visitors & Convention Authority, FPL, EGEDA, Downtown Development Authority of the City of Miami, Comcast, Miami New Times, The Historic Alfred I. Dupont Building, ABC Management Services, Screen International and the City of Miami Beach.  The official headquarter hotel of MIFF 2012 is The Standard Spa, Miami; and the Festival is produced with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.


Miami Dade College has a long and rich history of involvement in the cultural arts, providing South Florida with a vast array of artistic and literary offerings including The Miami Book Fair International, the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, the MDC Live! Performing Arts Series, The MDC Tower Theater Cinema Series, nine visual arts galleries including The Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College and the School of Entertainment and Design Technology, in addition to the renowned Miami International Film Festival. MDC is the largest institution of higher education in the country and is nationally recognized for many of its academic and cultural programs. With an enrollment of more than 174,000 students, MDC is the nation’s top producer of degrees. The college’s eight campuses and outreach centers offer nearly 300 distinct degree programs including several baccalaureate degrees. It has admitted nearly 2 million students since it opened its doors in 1960. More at


About the John S. and 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, visit


About Lexus:  Since it began in 1989, Lexus has earned a reputation for high-quality vehicles and exemplary customer service from its 229 dealers.   Lexus now offers variations of more than 10 models, including four hybrid vehicles, making it the luxury hybrid leader. Lexus’ commitment to service includes a dedication to diversity. Through innovative partnerships, creative marketing and strategic sponsorships, it reaches a wide spectrum of consumers where it matters most–in their communities.