Miami Film Festival

Miami International Film Festival Announces GEMS Line Up

Knowing full-well that Miami can never get enough films, The Miami International Film Festival (MIFF) brings back their Fall film event with a make-over of sorts, and it's a damn good one. GEMS offers up fourteen feature films exclusively at MDC's Tower Theater Miami, among other events, to satiate filmgoers under next year's edition in March.

Whereas last year's line-up focused on a series of smaller works— admittedly obscure to the point of few recognizable titles—
GEMS seems smartly curated for both promising foreign selections and wider appeal. The line-up, which was announced Wednesday, and will open October 22-25, features some well-received features from Cannes, Berlin & Sundance Film Festivals, a few picks sure to show up during Oscar season, and maintains the international flavor that's typical of the festival. 

The Festival's Executive Director & Director of Programming Jaie Laplante says, “Film festivals are dazzling times when the shiniest lights of the current cinema are collected in one place for a concentrated moment. So it is with this year's GEMS selection, and I invite film lovers of all types to experience las joyas de la corona of the season."

The mini-festival opens with John Crowley's Brooklyn, an adaptation of Colm Toibin's novel of the same name and adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby. The film stars a collection of Oscar nominees and winners, including Saoirse Ronan, Jim Broadbent, and Julie Walters, and is a prime candidate for Oscar season - making it a rather smart opener.

For closing night, accompanied by a gala party, the festival offers Patricia Riggen's The 33, loosely based on the true story of the 33 Chilean miners trapped 2,300 feet underground for 69 days. It'll be sure to pull in the big crowds due to its cast - including Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche, Rodrigo Santoro and Kate del Castillo among others - but the fact that the film is comprised of barely any Chileans and everyone speaks English with a Spanish accent makes it a worrisome endeavor.

The rest of the line-up also features some exciting entries; notables include the Taiwanese film, The Assassin, directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien, winner of Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival this year, and The Club, Pablo Larraín's latest feature. The first is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated of the year, following a young woman who must decide whether to assassinate the man she loves or break the honor of her training as a killer, and the latter is exciting because the Chilean filmmaker's last few features (including the MIFF 2013 film No) have been wonderful. 

The other films, which includes some more award winners as well, are as follows: Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia), directed by Ciro Guerra; Havana Motor Club (USA/Cuba), directed by Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt; Ahora o nunca (Spain), directed by Maria Ripoll; Krisha (USA), directed by Trey Edward Shults; Mia Madre (Italy), directed by Nanni Moretti; My Golden Days (France), directed by Arnaud Desplechin; A Perfect Day (Spain), directed by Fernando León de Aranoa; Trash (UK/Brazil), directed by Stephen Daldry; Yona (Israel), directed by Nir Bergman; and Youth (Italy), directed by Paolo Sorrentino.

As anyone can tell, it's a line-up full of promising options, but it doesn't end at simply these premieres. The festival is also hosting a special Master Class Tribute to the late composer James Horner, best known for his work on Titanic, who also composed the music for closing night film The 33. On the eve of the film's premiere, Miami-based film composer Carlos Rafael Rivera (A Walk Among the Tombstones) will be taking an in-depth look at Horner's career, beginning with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and continuing on through the rest.

Tickets for GEMS will go on sale to Miami Film Society members exclusively on Friday, September 25th and to the general public on Thursday, October 1st. Tickets are $9 to $85. Visit 
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Juan Antonio Barquin is a Miami-based writer who programs the queer film series Flaming Classics and serves as co-editor of Dim the House Lights. Barquin aspires to be Bridget Jones.