Miami, FL — Miami Dade College (MDC) and its Miami Film Festival kicked off a 90-day countdown to the opening of the Festival’s 35th anniversary edition by announcing today that Miami-based independent producing partners Kevin Chinoy and Francesca Silvestri will be feted with the Festival’s Precious Gem Award at the internationally-renowned annual event, to be held March 9 – 18, 2018.

Chinoy and Silvestri are producers on Sean Baker’s The Florida Project, released by A24 in October and currently in theaters nationwide. The film was recently nominated for two Spirit Awards including Best Feature, winning Best Director and Best Supporting Actor accolades (Willem Dafoe) from New York Film Critics Circle, Best Supporting Actor and Best Picture (Runner-up) from Los Angeles Film Critics Circle and winning Top Ten Film and Best Supporting Actor from National Board of Review. Chinoy and Silvestri also worked on Baker’s previous features Starlet and Tangerine, as well as dozens of other projects, including the directorial debuts of women filmmakers including Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, Demi Moore, Courteney Cox, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Biel, Eva Mendes, Alicia Keys, Kirsten Dunst, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rita Wilson, Trudie Styler, Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde, Ashley Judd, Laura Dern, and Eva Longoria.

“Kevin and Francesca’s association with Miami Dade College’s Miami Film Festival traces back a full decade, from their work to bring Kate Hudson to our 2008 Festival with her film ‘Cutlass’ and Demi Moore in 2009 with her film ‘Streak’”, said Festival director Jaie Laplante.  “They are the behind-the-scenes heroes who we wish to put center stage and honor as the Precious Gems that they are – without their commitment and determination to bring original independent visions to realization, many of the films they have worked on might never have been made and enjoyed.”

The Precious Gem Award presentation will be made at the Festival’s Awards Night Gala on March 17, 2018.  Leading up to the ceremony, Chinoy and Silvestri will participate in a Producer’s Master Class at the Festival where they will candidly discuss the challenges and lessons from over 20 years of experience in the world of independent film production.

Chinoy and Silvestri’s numerous credits include work for Fox, Lifetime, MTV, IFC, PBS, Ron Howard’s “Project Imagination” series of short films and theater work on Broadway, Old Vic Theater in London, and Los Angeles. Their films have premiered at major international festivals including Cannes, Toronto, Sundance, and Berlin.

The Florida Project received its Miami premiere in early October at Miami Film Festival’s GEMS, the Festival’s annual fall extension event.

Tickets for the Awards Night Gala are already on sale at Advance Package pricing via 1-844-565-6433 (MIFF) or miamifilmfestival.com . The complete line-up for the 35thannual Festival will be unveiled in early February, with individual tickets going on sale to the general public beginning February 16thFor membership opportunities or more information, visit miamifilmfestival.com or call 305-237-FILM (3456). Miami Film Festival is the only major film festival event housed within a college or university.
# # #
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 miamifilmfestival.com or call 305-237-FILM (3456).
MDC’s Miami Film Festival Media Relations Contacts:
NEW YORK / LOS ANGELES / TRADE
Adam Kersh, Brigade | +1 917-580-6785 | adam@brigademarketing.com
Guillermo Restrepo, Brigade | +1 917-580-6785 | guillermo@brigademarketing.com
MIAMI
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 Media-only contacts: Juan C. Mendieta, MDC director of communications, 305-237-7611, jmendiet@mdc.edu; Hessy Fernandez, director of media relations, 305-237-3949,hfernan5@mdc.edu; Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710, sue.arrowsmith@mdc.edu, or Allison Horton, 305-237-3359, ahorton2@mdc.edu.
This and other MDC releases are available on the web at www.mdc.edu.