Good news for local indie film fans: Miami is flooded with a plethora of choices for the coming months.
If you love cinema, the fall and early winter can be both the most rewarding and the most stressful times of the year. All the studios are trying to push out their films before year's end in order to qualify for the Academy Awards and ride the big holidays release schedule. Indie films don't stay too far behind, so whether it's a splashy musical en Español, an engaging art documentary, a drug-induced downward spiral, or a film about a cinema robbery, there is something for everyone's taste and more than a few surprises along the way.
Here's a quick run-down of just some of what awaits you this fall.
Bill Cosford Cinema
Hispanic Cinema reigns supreme in honor of October being Hispanic Heritage Month.
The Cinema Hold Up
A modern day caper, The Cinema Hold Up follows a group of down-trodden teens in Mexico who decide to rob their local movie theater in this methodically paced debut from Iria Gomez Concheiro which premiered at this years Sundance. Opening October 5.
A film chronicling the life of young woman who turns to boxing as a way of escaping the bleakness of her life in a poverty stricken Managua neighborhood. La Yuma marks the first feature film produced in Nicaragua in over two decades! Opens October 12.
Stars in Shorts
Most often, short films are relegated solely to film festival runs; if they're lucky, maybe they get some air time on the IFC channel. But this program put the short film in the spotlight by compiling a selection of them with, as the title says, some very big stars -- like Dame Judi Dench, Colin Firth, Lily Tomilin, and Kenneth Branagh. Opening October 5.
Coral Gables Art Cinema
The Coral Gables Cinema is beaming with international cinema this fall -- a great follow-up to its run of Samsara (still playing this weekend) which itself offered a passport to over 25 countries.
If splashy musicals are your thing (and if they're not, we can't be friends) then you won't want to miss this fun-filled, over-the-top film about a young girl's chase for fame. Chock full of magical reaslism and latin pop, this Uruguayan film features Almodovar darling Rossy De Palma and is coming exclusively to the Coral Gables Arts Cinema with an opening night reception that includes lite bites, booze by Bacardi, and the director in attendance. Opening on October 5.
The Truebas are a gifted family, but it's David Trueba behind the camera this time in an imaginative look at a May-December romance that is never to be. Set mostly in a bathroom, a series of failed sexual advances from journalist Miguel towards student Angela proves that maturity doesn't necessarily come with age. The Truebas are no stranger to this cinema, as the filmmakers brother Fernando's Trueba animated Chico and Rita was a huge hit for the theater, playing for over a month. The exclusive Miami first-run engagement of Madrid 1987 starts October 19.
Café de Flore
A intersecting story line (sort of) set between present-day Montreal and 1960s Paris from filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallee (best known for thie film C.R.A.Z.Y.) who tackles a variety of relationships across people who are inexplicably linked. Opens on November 2.
Miami Beach Cinematheque
The fine mix of retrospectives and new film that the Miami Beach Cinematheque has mastered continues strong in October and November with works by Paul Morrisey and Buster Keaton on the screen.
Paul Dano has come a long way since Little Miss Sunshine, with each new role proving more and more that he is one of the most capable actors of his generation. The gripping and touching, For Ellen drives that point home. Dano plays a musician at a career and life crossroads who decides to meet his daughter. The result is beautifully moving cinema. Opens October 5.
5 Broken Cameras
A Palestinian farmer chronicles his non-violent resistance to the Israeli army through the life of the five cameras he used to record the encroachment of Israeli settlements and the abuse, death, and destruction around him -- including that of his cameras. Opens October 12.
Bettie Page Reveals All
The original pinup girl herself may have died last year, but her legend lives on. Filmmaker Mark Mori insures that Page gets her due credit in this documentary, narrated by Page herself. Chock full of original photos and video, the exclusive Miami premiere at the Cinematheque will be extra special, with the presence of legendary photographer Bunny Yeager who took some of the most iconic images of Page. Opening November 1.
O Cinema Wynwood
It's a Miami thing at O Cinema this fall, with three exciting titles that have a connection to South Florida.
Tom Wolfe Gets Back To Blood
When iconic American writer Tom Wolfe turned his eye and pen to Miami for the setting of his newest novel, journalist Oscar Corral showed him around the Magic City. While ensuring that Wolfe got the full cultural immersion of the 305, Corral followed him with a camera, capturing the writer's meticulous process and joyful discovery of our city, all of which make up the setting for his new book, Back to Blood. The film is having its world premiere and exclusive US theatrical engagement with director Oscar Corral present starting October 11.
Beauty is Embarrassing
The name Wayne White might not be common to all, but his art has made a big splash on the contemporary art world. The film's title, derived from an art piece that adorned the facade of the Wolfsonian during Art Basel a few years back, accurately describes the artist's journey to follow his passion -- from set designer and puppet master on PeeWee's Playhouse to art world darling. Direct from SXSW, O Cinema Wynwood will host the exclusive South Florida premiere and engagement starting October 18.
If motorcycle ninjas, martial arts, rock bands, and bad haircuts are your thing, then you don't want to miss this over-the-top journey into the sublimely ridiculous and totally badass. Recently rediscovered, Miami Connection is the epitome of 80's exploitation flicks, and it's winning audiences over everywhere it goes. It comes to Miami for its exclusive theatrical engagement starting mid-November at O Cinema Wynwood.
O Cinema Miami Shores
The newest arthouse cinema in town opens in mid-October in Miami Shores by the folks at O Cinema. (Hey, that's me!) The full lineup of upcoming films haven't been announced but here's a peek at whats to come.
When a group of aging friends decide that they aren't going to let societal norms or the ravages of time dictate how they're to spend their golden years, they decide to move in together into a large house and care for one another. The result is an uber-charming and very funny French comedy featuring Jane Fonda in her first French language performance in over 40 years and the ever captivating Geraldine Chaplin. Opening October 18.
Little Havana's Tower Theater is the only dual screen cinema in town, and it's making good use of its resources with a schedule chock full of interesting films.
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You
Undoubtedly one of the best film titles in a long time, this coming of age story follows neurotic 17-year-old rich kid James in the midst of discovering his sexuality and himself. Featuring a cast that includes Marcia Gay-Harden, Peter Gallagher, Lucy Liu and Ellen Burstyn, the film opens October 5.
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Keep The Lights On
Director Ira Sachs' compelling film is based on his own life experiences. A fleeting sexual encounter sparks a true connection for filmmaker Erik and attorney Paul, eventually leading to a long term relationship. Keep The Lights On chronicles the ups and downs of love and what we endure for it. A hit at the Sundance Film Festival, the movie is punctuated by fine, organic performances and by the message that nothing worth it in life is necessarily easy. Opens October 12.
Cesar is an amenable and well-liked building janitor whose simple exterior just barely contains the obsessive and calculating monster that lays within in this psychological horror thriller from Spain. Not to be missed by fans of Spanish cinema or of totally amazing fucked-up films that linger in your head. Opens on October 26.
Kareem Tabsch is co-founder of O Cinema.