Escape to New Realities in Doral's DocMiami International Film Fest

The DocMiami International Film Festival will showcase more than 90 flicks from local, national, and international filmmakers. The event includes an award ceremony with categories such as Best Feature Documentary, Best Contemporary Issue Documentary, Best Investigative Documentary, and Best Local Documentary.

Screenings will include The Invocation, an exploration of God and world peace narrated by Sharon Stone; Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun, the first feature-length film about the famous African-American writer; and Tanzania: a Friendship Journey, from Florida director Sylvia Caminer, about two college friends, one American, one native Tanzanian, who embark together on a journey across the African villages and wilds.

"The films that have come in this year are so incredible. We've got beautiful local films and some amazing films from India and Mexico," said Monica Rosales, executive director of the festival. "They're adding not only to the arts, but to the history of the region that they're coming from or describing."

The 2011 DocMiami International Film Festival Awards Ceremony, hosted for the second time by Univision 23 news correspondent Gloria Ordaz, will feature renowned musical acts Tito Puente Jr., a Latin jazz and salsa musician whose music is a tribute to his father's, Javier Batiz, touted as "the Godfather of Mexican rhythm and blues," and Rich Ferguson, a spoken word performer. Concert ticket proceeds will benefit Brick by Brick for Tanzania!, Inc., an organization that builds schools for needy children in Tanzania.

Rosales said the festival's purpose is to increase the visibility of documentary film in South Florida and the larger community. "Documentaries are important because, my background is history, and when I was doing my research, all of my resources were books, and reading, and photographs and whatever was available," she said. "But documentary filmmaking is a way to contribute to history that's accessible to everybody. Anybody with a camera can document what's going on in their lives and be able to share it with everyone else. And it's just an amazing way to transfer and import valuable information that's never been made public before."

The DocMiami Film Festival opens at 7 p.m. Thurs., September 22 with an opening cocktail gathering at Romano's Macaroni Grill (8700, NW 18th Terrace, Doral). Screenings will take place from 9 a.m. Fri., September 23 at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa (440 NW 87th Ave., Doral) and closes with the Awards Ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Sunday September 25. Tickets to festival events cost from zero to $500. Go to docmiami.org or call 786-493-8308.

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