The Obscure Spring Wins Grand Prize at 32nd Edition of Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival

Posted by
For Immediate Release
Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Obscure Spring Wins Grand Prize at 32nd Edition of Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival

Miami, FL — Mexican filmmaker Ernesto Contreras’ second feature, The Obscure Spring (Las oscuras primaveras) won the Knight Competition Grand Jury Prize of the 32nd annual Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival, the only major film festival worldwide produced by a college or university, at a Gala Awards ceremony tonight in downtown Miami’s Olympia Theater at Gusman Center.

The announcement was made by Jury members Phil Lord, Amma Asante and Mercedes Gamero, and the Award was presented by James L. & John S. Knight Foundation Vice President of Arts Dennis Scholl, representing the long-term sponsor of the award.

The awards ceremony, presided by the Festival’s executive director Jaie Laplante, capped a stellar edition of the Festival, with one final day of screenings still left to go, featuring a total of 124 films from 41 countries, including 15 World premieres.

“Films not only provide an escape but are a powerful and thought-provoking educational tool. Congratulations to all the winners and to the entire Festival team,” said Miami Dade College President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón. “MDC is very proud to bring this flagship cultural event to the entire community and beyond.”



  • Knight Grand Jury Prize: The Obscure Spring (Las oscuras primaveras) (Mexico), produced by Luis Albores, Erika Avila, Carlos Mesa and Armon O’Farrill
  • Grand Jury Award Best Performance: Cecilia Suarez, Jose Maria Yazpik and the entire cast of The Obscure Spring (Las oscuras primaveras) (Mexico)
  • Grand Jury Award Best Director: Abner Benaim for Invasion (Invasión) (Panama / Argentina)

The Award winner was selected by the Festival audience. Carolina Piña represented the Festival Documentary audience at the ceremony, and announced the winning film.

  • Tea Time (La once) (Chile / USA), directed by Maite Alberdi

Jury members Hernán Musaluppi, Elena Manrique and Jorge Hernandez announced the winning film. The Award was presented by Lexus vehicle operations manager, Marcus Williams which included at $10,000 cash prize.

  • In The Grayscale (En las gamas de gris) (Chile), directed by Claudio Marcone

Jury members Gary Ressler, and Hans Morgenstern announced the winner, and Gary Ressler presented the award. This special award recognizes and supports first-time produced 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.

  • Theeb (Jordan / Qatar / United Arab Emirates / United Kingdom), written by Naji Abu Nowar and Bassel Ghandour

Jury members Nicolas Calzada, Genevieve Guermont and Jose-Antonio Valencia announced two honorable mentions and the winner on behalf of the entire jury, which included Oliver Mahrdt of German Films, Rachel Bleemer, Tatyana Chiocchetti, Alessandra Gherardi, Matthew Knobel, Steve Mesa, Ileana Oroza, Jaqueline Proctor, Kevin Sharpley and Lisa Sloat. 

  • “Young Lions of Gypsy” (“A Ciambra”) (Italy/France), directed by Jonas Carpignano
  • Honorable Mentions: “A Tree In The Sea” (United Arab Emirates), directed by Shahir Zag; and Alba Baptista for her performance in Simão Cayatte’s “Miami” (Portugal).

Earlier in the week, two other major Festival awards were presented:

MIAMI ENCUENTROS presented by Knight Foundation
Jury members Virginie Devesa, Paul Hudson and Barbie Heusinger announced the winning project in post-production, at a presentation ceremony during one of its famed Happy Hours at The Standard Hotel & Spa Miami Beach on March 13th. Nicole Chipi, the Arts Program Associate from Knight Foundation, presented the Achievement Award, which includes $10,000 cash, and Aracne Digital Cinema also presented a DCP Mastering Service Package worth $5,000.

  • The Apostate (El apóstata) (Spain / France / Uruguay), produced by Guadalupe Balaguer Trelles, Fernando Franco, and Federico Veiroj; directed by Federico Veiroj.

Jury members Aaron Moorhead, Ayoub Qanir and Melissa Ader announced the winners in all categories in the Miami student film competition, at a presentation ceremony at MDC’s Tower Theater on March 6th. The audience award winner was announced by Festival director Jaie Laplante during the Patrón Opening Night Party at MDC’s Freedom Tower later that same evening.

  • Grand Prize winner: “The First Day” (“El primer dia”) (Miami Dade College), produced by Rita Pereyra, Martin Castañeda and Andrea Estrada
  • Audience Award winner: “The First Day” (“El primer dia”) (Miami Dade College)Best Documentary: “Romana” (University of Miami), produced by Barrett Dennison, Luis J. Galvis, Chantale Glover and Nick Katzenbach
  • Best Drama: “The First Day” (“El primer dia”) (Miami Dade College)
  • Best Actor: Juan Jimenez, “The First Day” (“El primer dia”) (Miami Dade College)
  • Best Actress: Valentina Jimenez, “The First Day” (“El primer dia”) (Miami Dade College)
  • Best Director:  Rita Pereyra,“The First Day” (“El primer dia”) (Miami Dade College)
  • Best Technical Achievement:  Timothy Wilcox, “Top Shelf” (Miami Dade College)

The LEXUS AUDIENCE AWARDS for Favorite Feature and Favorite Short Film will be unveiled at the Patrón XO Café Igloo Awards Night Party, presented at the Historic Alfred I. DuPont Building courtesy of Tilia Companies, following the international premiere screening of Sidetracked (Los ovejas no pierden el tren) from Spain’s Morena Pictures.

For screening tickets of the Festival’s last day, membership opportunities or more information the Festival, please visit or call 305-237-FILM (3456).
# # #


About Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival
Celebrating its 32nd annual edition March 6 – 15, 2015, Miami Dade College’s Miami International 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 International 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 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 Dade College’s 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 its community with 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


About John S. & 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
Lexus launched in 1989 with two luxury sedans and a commitment to pursue perfection. Since that time, Lexus has expanded its line-up to meet the needs of global luxury customers. Lexus is now going beyond its reputation for high quality vehicles with the integration of innovative technology, emotional exterior and interior designs, and engaging driving dynamics and performance.  With six models incorporating Lexus Hybrid Drive, Lexus is the luxury hybrid leader. Lexus also offers eight F SPORT models and one F performance model.  In the United States, Lexus vehicles are sold through 235 dealers who are committed to exemplary customer service.

About The Related Group
The Related Group was established in 1979, and is America’s leading developer of sophisticated urban living and one of the largest firms in the United States. Since its inception, the privately held company has built and managed more than 85,000 condominium and apartment residences. The Related Group has earned a national reputation for its visionary design and development of luxury condominiums, mixed-use center and affordable rental properties – often in emerging or undiscovered neighborhoods. The firm is one of the largest Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States with a development portfolio of projects worth in excess of $15 billion. TIME Magazine named Mr. Pérez one of top 25 most influential Hispanics in the United States, and has made the cover of Forbes twice. For more information, visit

About Terra Group (Park Grove)
Founded in 2001 by Pedro & David Martin, Terra Group is a leading Miami-based real estate development company that has built a reputation for quality one-of-a-kind projects approached with originality and vision. The award-winning company is comprised of hand-picked and highly trained leaders within various industries including architects, builders, developers, lawyers, businessmen and designers. Terra Group’s land acquisitions have been geographically spread throughout South Florida. Projects include: Grove at Grand Bay in Coconut Grove, Glass in Miami Beach, 900 Biscayne Bay, 600 Biscayne (Freedom Tower Site), Quantum on the Bay, Metropolis, Nautica, Las Sevillas and Las Ramblas in West Miami, and Reserve at Doral, Doral Cay, Vintage Estates & Vintage Place in Doral and Atlantic15 in Sunny Isles.  For more information, visit:

Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival Contacts:
Jessica Wade Pfeffer, Jessica Wade Inc., +1 305-804-8424,
Margie Sernik, Jessica Wade Inc., +1 305-456-0483,
Juan C. Mendieta, +1 305-237-7611,
Sue Arrowsmith, +1 305-237-3710,
Alejandro Rios, +1 305-237-7482,