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Miami International Film Festival Brings Miami to the Big Screen

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The Miami International Film Festival is bringing plenty of big names to South Florida this year. But you could argue that the biggest star is Miami itself. The 2012 lineup features plenty of movies associated with Miami, whether using the city as a beautiful backdrop or featuring Miami natives on screen and behind the scenes.

The "Florida Focus" category includes nine competing features, all of which are partially or wholly shot in Florida or by a filmmaker who's a current resident of the state -- and many of which have have ties to the Magic City. In addition, MIFF's hosting the South Florida college student short film showdown "Cinema Slam" Saturday, March 4, at 2 pm. And as part of the fest's series of Master Class Seminars, Coconut Grove filmmakers and lifelong friends David Fenster and Phil Lord will discuss their connection and how it has help foster each other's unique success.

The Florida Focus category is among the festival's most anticipated lineups, featuring everything from the Starz series pilot premiere of Magic City to the premiere of Miami-made The Beach Chronicles AGX animated film noir. Magic City is 100% shot in Miami and created by Miami born-and-raised producer Mitch Glazer, known for Lost In Translation (2003) and Great Expectations (1998).

And that's just the beginning of the Miami-made movies on display.

David is Miami-born director Joel Fendelman's fascinating look at the

unlikely connection between two 11-year-old Brooklyn boys belonging to

deeply conservative religious families -- one Muslim, one Jewish.

The

HBO documentary film About Face: The Supermodels Then And Now takes a

fascinating look into beauty and aging through the eyes of Miami native

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, a celebrated portrait photographer and

documentary filmmaker.

The Perfect Family, presented by

Miami-born producer Jen Dubin, puts together a superb cast featuring

Kathleen Turner and Jason Ritter and tells the story of a devout

Catholic mother struggling to accept her lesbian daughter's lifestyle.

In

Darling Companion, featuring Kevin Kline and Diane Keaton, Miami-born

writer/director Lawrence Kasdan returns to the ensemble comedy/drama

form he found success with in the Oscar-nominated The Big Chill.

Last

but not least, Islands tells the story of artists Christo and

Jeanne-Claude's quest in 1983 to surround 11 pine scrub islands in

Biscayne Bay with 6.5 million square feet of bright pink fabric floating

in the water.

The 2012

Miami International Film Festival takes place March 2-11. To plan

your festival, use the nifty "Festival Genius" that can be found at

www.miamifilmfestival.com.

--Kareem Shaker

Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.

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