Film Reviews

Borscht Film Festival 2011 picks

The Borscht Film Festival has made plenty of noise on the underground Miami film scene since its inception in 2004, bringing a raw, creative energy seldom seen at established — and often stuffy, corporate-infused — film fests.

The noise, of course, has resulted in talented local filmmakers making off for greener pastures like L.A. and New York to cultivate their craft. But the Magic City is never in short supply of gifted homegrown writers, directors, and actors. And as usual, this year's Borscht focuses on films by South Florida's brightest filmmakers. Below are previews of three movies screening at the fest.

No Matter What. A haunting drama by first-time director Cherie Saulter, No Matter What tells the tale of Joey, a 15-year-old boy, and his relentless quest to find his mother, who's gone missing from their economically depressed Florida town. Joey recruits his best friend, Nick, and the two kids set off through harrowing and dangerous territory in order to find her. The film makes its Miami debut at Borscht. 9 p.m. Monday, April 18, at O Cinema, 96 NW 29th St., Miami. Tickets cost $10.50. Call 305-571-9970 or visit

Surrogate Valentine. Director Dave Boyle's (White on Rice) romantic comedy makes its Miami debut at Borscht. The film follows a musician and rising star (Goh Nakamura playing himself) hired by TV actor Danny Turner (Chadd Stoops) to teach him how to play guitar for a role in an upcoming movie. The two men then embark on a West Coast odyssey that features gigs, groupies, crazy record executives, and an unexpected friendship. Along the way, Goh reconnects with his high school sweetheart, Rachel (Lynn Chen), whom he discovers he's still in love with and, with the help of his new pal, tries to win her back. 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 19, at O Cinema, 96 NW 29th St., Miami. Tickets cost $10.50. Call 305-571-9970 or visit

Play Dead. Zombies are all the rage, and sunny South Florida isn't immune to tales of the undead. But local writer-director brothers Andres and Diego Meza-Valdes bring a cute and hairy twist to the walking-dead genre with their film Play Dead. While hordes of brain-eating zombies multiply throughout town, their pet dogs — which are immune to the zombie virus that's plaguing the city — embark on a survival adventure. The film features plenty of horror, suspense, and tail-wagging awesomeness. "Play Dead," along with 11 other shorts and one videogame, screens at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at the Arsht Center's Knight Concert Hall, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Call 305-571-9970 or visit

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