Dreams Are the Theme for the 2011 Miami International Film Festival

It's that time of year again. Miami International Film Festival time? Oh yeah (Film Lovers powers: activate!). The official lineup of the 28th Annual Miami International Film Festival (which runs from March 4-13, and which you can call MIFF, at the risk of sounding like a total pretentious film nerd. But, hey, that's what you are, and it's kickass!), was announced today.

This year's MIFF is replete with 100 films from 40 countries, Red Carpet Gusman Galas, Premieres, Competition Categories and Awards, REEL Education Seminars and other stuff to blow your independent film loving ass right out of the water.

There's a seminar with documentarian Morgan Spurlock (the McDonalds guy!), three finalists for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film (see them here first!), and a movie starring rapper 50 Cent (Fitty? awww yeah!). And that's just for starters...

The Festival launches on Friday, March 4 with the first Opening Night animated feature in its 28-year history: Chico & Rita by Fernando Trueba and Barcelona designer Javier Mariscal, a whirlwind, jazz-and-blues love story between a Cuban band leader and sultry chanteuse that spans from Havana to Hollywood and features the sounds of Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole and Bebo Valdes. An animated film with that soundtrack? That's hardcore.

         The animated jazz & blues love story "Chico & Rita" kicks MIFF off in style
         The animated jazz & blues love story "Chico & Rita" kicks MIFF off in style

But wait. There's more.

For the 2011 Career Achievement Tribute, on Sunday, March 6, the Festival honors prolific Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier (Brothers, After the Wedding, Things We Lost in the Fire). The Festival will screen her latest portrait of complex and complicated familial relationships, the 2011 Golden Globe Award Best Foreign Film winner, In a Better World, which was announced as a finalist in the Oscars Best Foreign Language Film category.

The Festival will also be screening two other films the Academy deemed worthy as finalists for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film category with Incendies from Canada and Life, Above All from South Africa.

This year's Festival will also feature films directed by, produced by and/or starring peeps like Pernilla August, Erykah Badu, Harry Belafonte, Antonio de la Torre, Gérard Depardieu, Andy Garcia, and Danny Glover, among others.

There's also the Florida Focus and the CinemaSlam Competition to look forward to, where the work of Florida talents and filmmakers are featured:

Making S*** Up, by director Bill Bilowit, gives the movie star treatment to Miami's own conceptual artist, Bert Rodriguez. His eccentric life, battling his personal demons and transforming them into ingenious works of arts, is his masterpiece-in-progress.

Magic City Memoirs, from executive producer Andy Garcia and Miami director Aaron Salgado, is a filmed-in-Miami, coming-of-age drama starring Dominik Garcia-Lorido (City Island), Natalie Martinez and Jordi Vilasuso.

Mooney vs. Fowle, by director James Lipscomb, filmed in 1961, is a candid and searing documentary portrait of a Miami moment in time: That year‟s Florida state football championship game between historical rivals, Miami High and Edison High, the coaches and their unorthodox methods and the players who lived it.

"Dreams are a key theme of MIFF 2011, starting with our 2011 official image from photographer Stian Roenning," explains Executive Director Jaie Laplante. "The directors of these films are a true 'dream team' of cinematic artists. Their works will bestow a wizardly enchantment on this year‟s Miami Film Society members and MIFF ticket buyers."

You can get your fill of what else to expect at this year's outing at MiamiFilmFestival.com. And from the sound of it, you can be sure that this year's festival promises to err on the side of awesome.

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