MIAMI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2016 MAKES MIAMI SHINE
The main offices for the 33rd-annual Miami International Film Festival (MIFF) are hidden within the 91-year-old Freedom Tower on Biscayne Boulevard. On a recent windy Monday morning, Jaie Laplante, the festival’s director of programming, laces his fingers around a paper coffee cup in the building’s shadow and shows off the picture that graces the cover of this year’s film guide. It depicts a tan woman with a bird’s-nest-like hairstyle staring longingly ahead while holding a bright orb. Star doodles surround her, and in the center, the phrase “Projecting Light in the Magic City” describes this year’s theme.
“Cinema is really all about light and how we use light,” Laplante explains. “It’s always been, but even more than ever now because it’s all digital.”
Operated by Miami Dade College, the festival features 129 films from 40 countries – the largest selection to date. That number includes 100 features and documentaries and 29 short films. A record 46 films are directed or codirected by women. Screening venues include the historic Olympia Theater, MDC’s Tower Theater, Regal Cinemas South Beach, O Cinema Miami Beach, Coral Gables Art Cinema, Cinépolis in Coconut Grove, and Miami Beach Cinematheque.
When Laplante took over as director in 2011, he made it a point for the festival to include more films by local filmmakers. “My whole career, I’ve been fascinated by indigenous direction – production that happens right in your city.”
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