Miami Dade College Says "Ciao" to Miami International Film Festival Director, Literally

For the fifth time in a decade, Miami International Film Festival is in the market for a new festival director after choosing not to renew Tiziana Finzi's contract. A festival insider from Italy with a reputation for discovering new cinema talent, she was hired in 2009. For 2010's festival, she choose The Secret in Their Eyes, which went on to win the Best Foreign Language Oscar, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which was so popular that Hollywood is planning on ruining remaking it for American audiences.

Finzi sold out Gusman Center for the Performing Arts with such festival programming. But she also played to the art house film crowd with picks like Harmony Korine's Trash Humpers, No One Knows About Persian Cats, and Eraserhead.

Back in March, she told us "I accepted this job as a challenge to bring my taste -- cutting-edge, radical films -- to this town, a beautiful place where people come for enjoyment, big parties, and holiday but not to see a Russian or Chinese movie." So were her tastes too edgy? Did the sold out crowds complain?

The festival is experiencing a changeover in several key positions. The

former assistant director Valeria Sorrentino recently left her post to

move to Brazil and work for the Rio International Film Festival. And

Vivian Donnell Rodriguez, Miami Dade's director of cultural affairs,

retired just last month. No word yet on their replacements.

As reported by the Miami Herald, Finzi sensed something was changing

within the festival, but she wasn't given a specific reason for the

change in personnel. MDC's chief of staff, George Andrews, just called

her and said: "I would like to tell you that your contract is not being

renewed. Good luck and ciao."

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