Andy Garcia-Produced Magic City Memoirs Released on Netflix This Month

From left: Michael Cardelle, Andres Dominguez, Andy Garcia, Dominik Garcia, J.R. Villarreal, and Natalie Martinez
From left: Michael Cardelle, Andres Dominguez, Andy Garcia, Dominik Garcia, J.R. Villarreal, and Natalie Martinez
Courtesy of Miami International Film Festival

Back in 2011, a small film made with a group of Miami talent premiered at the 28th annual Miami International Film Festival, and now, years later, Magic City Memoirs is making its debut on Netflix. Due to some legal issues, director and writer Aaron Salgado couldn't go into details on the delay of the film's mass release, "Lets just say, there was a little tiny defect that needed to be taken care of... we're just really excited to be able to share our film with the world after all this time."

The film was executive produced by Andy Garcia, stars Miami natives Natalie Martinez, Ana Villafane, and Jordi Vilasuso and was filmed locally in our Magic City. When Garcia first came across Magic City Memoirs, it was sent to him in a rough state, "The film was shown to me once completed. It was in a rough cut stage," says Garcia via email with New Times. "But even at that stage I was compelled by the brutal honesty of the film and its performances."

The narrative in the film is very personal to Salgado as it essentially traces his adolescence growing up in Miami — with all the heartache and life lessons that come along with anyone's coming of age. "I suggested to Aaron that the narrative structure should be changed to follow the true protagonist and use his memoirs as a through line, because that is where the central moral dilemma and tragedy lies."

After getting feedback from Garcia, the two filmmakers decided to continue to work together and see the film through. "So we began work on the editorial changes. Restructuring and also going into the dailies to empower the relationships further. Especially the one between the protagonist played by J.R. Villareal and his father played by Julio Oscar Mechoso."

In the end, "The film is a powerful and truthful representation of irrational and irresponsible adolescent behavior that can often lead to tragic ends. I hope that the film provides a lesson and this history does not continue to repeat itself," comments Garcia. 

One of the most striking things about Salgado's first feature is how well he incorporates not only an authentic Miami story, but also shows the city as a whole. "I pride myself on being an authentic Miami voice," says the filmmaker. "New York has [Martin] Scorsese and Spike [Lee], Jersey has Kevin Smith, Texas has the Coen Brothers. There hasn't really been a filmmaker who has represented Miami from a local perspective, and I feel that's my responsibility. The city and it's culture are so unique, that In order to capture the essence I needed to use Miami talent that understood the world and the characters I had written.

In Magic City Memoirs, Miami's not only the backdrop, it's the pulse."

Magic City Memoirs is now streaming on Netflix.


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