When you think of Miami in the movies, what comes to mind?
"Say hello to my little friend" perhaps, or possibly "shit just got real."
"I feel like all we have right now is Scarface, Bad Boys, and all those things," said young filmmaker Monica Sorelle. "It's a lot of crime and drugs, glitz and glamour films that come out of Miami."
But Sorelle and her good friend Yesenia Lima, are working to change all that. They're working on a film about the real Miami. With MIAmi, they hope to expose the internal and external struggles our young population faces. But they need your help to do it.
It ain't easy growing up in a big city with an identity crisis. While the rest of the country sees your hometown as a liquor-based water park, any kid with a creative edge spends their childhood dreaming of escape from the eternal Spring Break.
As Sorelle explained, MIAmi is about four young adults at varying ages and stages of life "navigating their futures and trying to figure out if Miami is going to be a part" of it. It's a struggle with which she and Lima closely identify.
The two big dreamers are both from Miami, but didn't meet until enrolling in the undergraduate film program at University of Central Florida in Orlando. They both got their BFAs, and now, Lima continues on for her MFA. MIAmi is her thesis.
"She always said she wanted to do a feature about Miami," Sorelle said. "Throughout our undergrad we talked about it and it just so happen that she got into the MFA program, which is the only program in the world, as far as I know, where you have to create a feature film to graduate."
There are other parameters. The women have to raise the money themselves, and the budget can't be greater than $50,000. But c'mon, how do two young directors raise that money in the first place?
Exactly! They turn to the city that raised them. They've organized a crowd-funding campaign via Seed&Spark, which differs from similar platforms in that it also helps with distribution. Their goal for the next month is to raise $10,000, of which they'll have to raise at least 80 percent if they want to keep any of the money. They offer plenty of incentives, like walk-on rolls and copies of the final product, but they hope to appeal to something deeper.
"We are trying to really get not only our friends and family on board, which I'm sure will come, but people that want to see themselves reflected on screen," Sorelle said. "This is a low-key, more realistic portrayal of actual people and actual natives that live here. We're trying to get a lot more supporters on board and get the film out to people who would be interested in seeing that."
Sorelle and Lima will show a five-minute short, a sort-of prequel to MIAmi Saturday at The Bar, and again Wednesday, March 5, at O Cinema, as part of the I'm Not Moving to L.A. screening series. They're trying to tap into the underlying current of communal artistic growth that gives Miamians such as themselves so much hope. Much like the characters in their film, they want to make Miami a part of their future, and their future a part of Miami. It's kind of a new feeling for a lot of us.
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"I'm looking at the city like maybe something can happen down here now," Sorelle said. "It's strange and it's exciting to see."
MIAmi:SB The prequel of sorts, is screening Saturday, March 1, at The Bar, 172 Giralda Ave., Coral Gables; and Wednesday, March 5, at O Cinema, 90 NW 29 St., Wynwood. They're also putting out a casting call, trying to fill out their lead roles. They need an early-20s woman, a man who can pass for 18, a mid-20s man who can be the stereotypical hustler type, and a late-20s hunk to play a telenovela star. For more info, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Contribute to the crowd-funding campaign at seedandspark.com.
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.