Not all sequels suck. Case in point: the Borscht Film Festival, which launches its ninth edition this week at venues across Miami.
The work coming out of the Borscht Corp. film collective has earned major accolades over the past several years. Bernardo Britto's Yearbook took home the Short Film Jury Award for animation at the last Sundance Film Festival, and this year two Borscht-produced shorts, Papa Machete and El Sol Como Un Gran Animal Oscura (The Sun Like a Big Dark Animal), will be screened at Sundance. Borscht has had a presence at that festival for five straight years now; films by the collective have also screened at SXSW, the Vienna International Film Festival, the Fantasia Film Festival, and others.
You can see all three films at the Borscht Film Fest's biggest event, Borscht 9, a screening of 29 short films at the Arsht Center this Saturday at 7:30. But plenty of other worthy pieces will show at a series of events taking place between this Wednesday and Sunday. The whole lineup looks like required viewing for anyone interested in Miami, or film, or Lou Gehrig, or stripper fights. Here are ten that look especially promising.
10. Biscayne World
This year, between owning Art Basel and taking down greedy, art-stealing clothes retailers, Miami artist Ahol Sniffs Glue was working with Borscht on this short film. The trailer tells the story of that time Ahol was the victim of a hit-and-run (have you seen this woman?), peppered with characters in the artist's signature style. Screening at Borscht 9.
9. Diamond Princess En Plein Aire
Jacolby Satterwhite explores issues of memory in this most recent addition to his Reifying Desire video series, which was on view at the 2014 Whitney Biennial. But don't let the artspeak bore you; Miami's own rapper and diamond princess Trina gets the 3-D treatment here. Screening at Borscht 9.
Bernardo Britto's tale of a man tasked with recording all of human history before the planet is obliterated will give you the feels. Just ask Sundance. Screening at Borscht 9.
7. The Coral Reef Are Dreaming Again
Colin Foord and Jared McKay of Coral Morphologic are non-stop. They showed their work at Design Miami, and are putting together a documentary for the BBC. But they still had time to reprise their previous freaky neon nature studies for this year's fest. Screening at Spaceship Miami, Thursday, 7 p.m. at the Miami Museum of Science.
6. Papa Machete
Jonathan David Kane's short documentary about Alfred Avril, a farmer keeping the art of tire machèt alive in his home country of Haiti, was easily the most talked about Borscht project this year. Avril sadly passed away earlier this year, but his story will live on at Sundance 2015. Screening at Borscht 9 and Papa Machete Short Film Screening and Machete Fencing Master Class, Friday at 1:30 p.m. at the Little Haiti Cultural Center.
Ever wanted to take a peek inside the head of Miami's favorite foul-mouthed Cuban puppet? Now's your chance. Tio Pepe Billete himself directed this short film in which he "suffers from a moment of introspection." Screening at Borscht 9.
4. The Adventures of Christopher Bosh in the Multiverse: Episode II
Space Prince Bosh is back! If you didn't see last year's Bleeding Palm masterpiece, a) What is wrong with you? Were you not born yet? and b) check it out right now. Episode II takes us to a darker, bleaker multiverse, one where the American Airlines Arena is engulfed in flames and our hero is evil, maybe? Screening at Borscht 9 and THE MULTIVERSE, Friday at 7 p.m. at YoungArts.
3. Lake Mahar
Julian Yuri Rodriguez stunned audiences at Borscht 8 with C*CKFIGHT, a wicked, suspenseful, holy-shit-did-that-really-happen series of events shot in dark, gorgeous detail. Lake Mahar looks to follow that same formula, with added bougie humor. And look, it's Ahol! Screening at Borscht 9.
2. The Voice Thief
Borscht 8 promised a film by cult film royalty Adan Jodorowsky; Borscht 8 delivered a trailer for said film. This year, The Voice Thief is finally here in full, telling the story of a man's quest to find his wife's missing voice in the weirdest corners of Miami.
1. Cool As Ice 2
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Remember Cool As Ice, the 1991 so-bad-it's-actually-really-bad-but-it's-kind-of-good-too-maybe feature film starring Vanilla Ice? Lucas Leyva and Jillian Mayer do. The team behind #PostModem and Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke have teamed up once again for its sequel, which technically doesn't star Vanilla Ice but a "pirated" version of his squinty visage. Borscht, Borscht, Baby.
Follow Ciara on Twitter: @ciaralavelle