Miami International Film Festival Announces 2016 Opening Night and Spanish Lineup

With the Miami International Film Festival only months away, it's time for some of the festival's selection to hit the press. Although the festival's 33rd edition will kick off on March 4, the opening night film has been selected: Álex de la Iglesia's latest film, My Big Night (Mi Gran Noche).

Starring Spanish pop icon Raphael, Mi Gran Noche features the actor in a self-aware performance as Alphonso, a pop singer with over 50 years of chart-topping singles who is headlining a New Year's Eve TV special, with all of the backstage happenings and taping of the show propelling the narrative. But while the film — which also stars Mario Casas, Santiago Segura, Carlos Areces, Blanca Suárez, Hugo Silva, Carmen Machi, and Carolina Bang among others — seems fun enough on its own, the exciting part is that Raphael himself will appear in person at MIFF.

“Álex de la Iglesia has made a perfect pop movie with My Big Night,” declared the festival’s executive director and director of programming, Jaie Laplante. “This riotously funny film is much more than one of the very best films by de la Iglesia, it is a party!”

The film, which will be shown at the Olympia Theater at Gusman Center, will also be accompanied by the opening night party at the Historic Alfred I. Dupont Building. It will be the first set of events that kick off the festival's CINEDWNTWN series, sponsored by Miami's Downtown Development Authority, and tickets are already on sale at

Mi Gran Noche is only the first in the festival's CINEDWNTWN selection, as even more of the festival's slate was officially announced today. As part of the series, three U.S. premieres are coming up: Cesc Gay's Truma, which stars Ricardo Darín and Javier Cámara; Emilio Martínez Lázaro’s Spanish Affair 2 (Ocho apellidos catalanes), the sequel to Ocho apellidos vascos, the highest-grossing Spanish film of all time at the Spanish box office; and Fernando González Molina’s Palm Trees in the Snow (Palmeras en la nieve), an epic-scale adaptation of Luz Gabás’s sweeping romantic novel.

Six other Spanish feature films will also receive their U.S. premiere at the festival. They are: Agustí Villaronga's The King of Havana (El rey de La Habana), an adaptation of Cuban writer Pedro Juan Gutiérrez's novel of the same name; Federico Veiroj's The Apostate (El apostata), winner of Miami's 2015 post-production Encuentros prize sponsored by the Knight Foundation; Paula Ortiz's The Bride (La Novia), a new adaptation of Federico García Lorca's tragedy Blood Wedding; Daniel Guzmán’s directorial debut Nothing in Exchange (A cambio de nada); Juana Macías’ romantic comedy We Are Pregnant (Embarazados); and Gustavo Ron's My Bakery in Brooklyn, featured as part of Lee Brian Schrager's Culinary Cinema series.

Additional Spanish productions confirmed for 2016 include: Julio Medem's Ma Ma, starring Penélope Cruz; Gracia Querejeta's Happy 140 (Felices 140); Javier Ruiz Caldera's Spy Time (Anacleto: Agente secreto); the documentary Snacks, Bites of a Revolution; and the world premiere of the short The Lift, by Javier Polo.

More film announcements will be released in January. 

Miami International Film Festival
Coming to various theaters in March 2016. For more information and to purchase advance tickets, visit

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Juan Antonio Barquin is a Miami-based writer who programs the queer film series Flaming Classics and serves as co-editor of Dim the House Lights. Barquin aspires to be Bridget Jones.