Film & TV

Saturday's Art Walk Includes Bots High and Robot Death Matches

Most of us might have spent our extracurricular time in high

school trying to get laid, drinking cough syrup, or arguing with our friends

about what attributes would best compose a kick-ass robot. That's why we're

particularly excited about Bots High, Joey Daoud's feature length documentary. The

doc follows a group Miami high school students whose affinity for destructive

robots goes beyond the realm of lunch table banter. These skilled students build bots for the sole purpose of inflicting metal carnage.

In the film, Daoud follows several local high school (including Ransom Everglades

and Miami Northwestern, among others) robotics clubs as they prepare for

the national championship.

Chronicling the 2009-2010 school year, Bots High shows the brilliant if not eccentric school kids. Daoud admits that these kids aren't the shy and introverted stereotypes of engineers you might expect. The students are gregarious and often hilarious, such as the all-girl team My Mechanical Romance. (With its high number of young female engineers, Bots High proves that girls throw down the mechanical gauntlet too).

Viewers will grow attached to the teams and their creations such as Fluffy, a heavyweight and personal favorite of Daoud's due to its propensity to either dominate its competition or self destruct in the most fantastic of ways.

And Daoud has been doing whatever he can to get Bots High seen by as many people as possible. While the film is to be screened  as a part of the Borscht and Florida Film Festivals this month, Joey has also proved willing to set up his own renegade screenings.

When he found himself at South By Southwest's Interactive Festival, he rented out a theater on the University of Texas campus. And thanks in part to UT's Women in Engineering Program and Joey's relentless promotion of the film, the screening was a success, drawing both local robotics aficionados and civilians.

This Saturday, as part of the first weekend of Borscht festivities, Daoud is pushing aside the food trucks at the Wynwood Art Walk and setting up a robot death match arena. (Rumor has it there will also be robot costumes so us humans can simulate our own robot fights.)

After two straight hours of robot fisticuffs, Bots High will screen at O Cinema as a part of the Borscht Film Festival. As the film proves, Miami has an underreported and surprisingly robust robotics scene. The young engineers use their drive and ingenuity to make their dreams come true -- even if those dreams involve having a DIY robot beat up another DIY robot. Here's the trailer:

The Robot Death Matches take place at 2201 NW Second Avenue in Wynwood from 7 to 9 p.m. At 10 p.m., head to O Cinema (92 NW 29th St. Miami) for the Borscht screening of Bots High. Tickets to the film cost $10.50. Visit

Borscht Film Festival is looking for volunteers for all their festivities this month, from the Robot Death Matches to the main event on April 23rd. To enlist in the volunteer Borscht Army,  attend a meeting on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Borscht HQ (1932 NW First Ct., Miami). Volunteers get free tickets to Borscht events as well as Borscht swag. Contact [email protected] for more info.

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Drew Spears