MIFF ends with a celebration featuring awards and accolades

The 28th Annual Miami International Film Festival was very busy in organizing not jst screenings for festival moviegoers, but events in which the average moviegoer could ask a question to an acclaimed filmmaker following certain screenings. The last week of the festival featured many highlights including the Career Achievement Tribute to Susanne Bier and the premiere of the shot-in-Miami drama Magic City Memoirs.

On Sunday, filmmaker Susanne Bier was honored by the festival with a Career Achievement Tribute that featured clips from her past works including After the Wedding and Things We Lost in the Fire starring Oscar-winners Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro. Bier was not traveling alone as she brought the Oscar that her latest movie, In a Better World, won two weeks ago at the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language.

Documentarian Morgan Spurlock made his first trip to the festival this year by premiering his latest film, POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold in South Florida. Spurlock also participated in a seminar on Tuesday night entitled A Conversation with Morgan Spurlock which was held at the W in South Beach and moderated by Peter Debruge, the senior film critic and features editor for Variety. Spurlock talked about his experiences making this film including a scene in the movie where he takes part in a neuro-marketing experiment.

“They put people in MRI machines and show you commercials, than they check the response of your brainwaves to the MRI results. They go back to re-edit the commercial and change the commercial to tap into their brains,” said Spurlock.

The first annual Cinemaslam was held at the Colony Theater on Wednesday night where students from Miami-Dade College, University of Miami and Miami International University (AI) were in competition against each other for the Miami Student Film of the Year. With three finalists from each school, there could only be one winner each school. The event started off with the judges awarding an Honorable Mention prize to Nurse Interrupted from Miami International University student Lara Fuchsbrauner. AI’s Bobby Douge, MDC’s Tamara Benavente and UM’s Bryan Lorenzo won over their fellow students with their films Augustus, Lost and Found and Breakaway Street. With all the winners on stage, the judges announced the winner of the Miami Student Film of the Year, which went to Bobby Douge for Augustus.

Friday was all about the World Premiere of Magic City Memoirs at Gusman Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Miami. An independent movie that was directed, produced, written by and starring an ensemble cast and crew of Miami locals, the film is about three lifelong friends who go to private school together who are on the verge of graduating from high school. However, they live a dangerous lifestyle at night that includes sex, drugs and hip-hop. Executive producer Andy Garcia, director Aaron Salgado, producer J.D. Freixas, actors Dominik Garcia-Lorido, Natalie Martinez, J.R. Villarreal, Michael Cardelle and Andres Dominguez were on hand for a press conference held at the conference rooms at the Betsy South Beach.

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