On his way to D.C. to lobby for Obama's recovery bill, Mayor Manny Diaz stopped by the Freedom Tower to give his blessing to the 26th edition of the Miami International Film Festival. One hundred or so journalists and cultural emissaries were there to suck down free Bustelo cortaditos and get a taste of the upcoming festival, which will show about 135 films in six venues between March 6 and 15.
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New director Tiziana Finzi, recruited away from the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland, introduced the various competition categories in Venetian-accented English that was as sexy and charming as it was unintelligible, so it's good she wasn't hired to make speeches but to capitalize on MIFF's growing importance in the film industry, evidenced this year by the inclusion of debut short films by Natalie Portman and Demi Moore. The poster this year is an appropriated painting by the late Cuban-American master Cundo Bermudez, an elegant study of the color blue that is a welcome antidote to the tired film poster tropes of nitrate, projectors, and clapboards.