The first week of the 31st Miami International Film Festival kicks off Friday at the Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center (174 E. Flagler St., Miami). The opulent venue will host the North American premiere of Elsa & Fred, starring Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer, who will attend the screening in person. It’s the perfect opener for the fest: a light, funny, romantic comedy to lead into a gala party across the street at the DuPont Building. Then it’s on to the serious stuff. There are many premiere films, such as documentaries, shorts, and features from around the world, vying for juried prizes, including the much-coveted audience award. Among spotlights on German, Mexican, and Chinese films, there is also a focus on Florida filmmakers, featuring some adventuresome Miamians in the mix. There are also more celebrities. Actors-turned-directors such as John Turturro and Mike Myers will appear to present their films. On Sunday, Turturro, who has directed five features, will receive a career tribute award. The classics have not been forgotten. Miami Beach Cinematheque will host a special screening of Midnight Cowboy with a photo exhibit to go along with it. The Miami Film Festival runs through March 16 at various venues in Miami-Dade. Ticket prices to screenings and events vary. Call 305-237-FILM or visit miamifilmfestival.com.
March 7-16, 2014