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MIFF 31 wrap up and awards

Andy Garcia on the red carpet
Andy Garcia on the red carpet
Steven Lebowitz

It's hard to believe that today is March 16, because that means it is the very last day of the 31st Annual Miami International Film Festival. As cliched as this may sound, it is arguably their best year ever! MIFF featured such an great array of films this year.,141 film from 39 different countries. They had so many great guests including Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer, Ti West, Andy Garcia, Shep Gordon, John Turturro, and even Anne Hathaway.

Lexus Audience Awards given out at the Freedom Tower
Steven Lebowitz

The last few days of MIFF have been just as exciting as the first. Last night's closing film, "Rob the Mob" was attended by its star, Andy Garcia, writer Jonathan Fernandez and director. Raymond De Felitta. Some may remember that Garcia and De Felitta were in Miami for their last collaboration, "City Island". Luke Fava, who plays Andy Garcia's grandson in the movie, was on hand for the red carpet and practically stole the show from everyone there. When asked what he learned from his director while making "Rob the Mob" the young man answer, "Not to look into the camera."

After the movie, folks made their way over to the Freedom Tower for the Pyrat Gold Awards Night Rum Party. It was another evening of great music, food, dancing, socializing, a Pyrat photo booth, a digital sketch artist and where MIFF Executive Director Jaie Laplante announced the Lexus Audience Award winners. The Best Feature Award went to John Turturro's "Fading Gigolo" and the Best Documentary Award went to "The Mountain". When asked to reflect on his final thoughts on this year's festival, Laplante replied, "I wanted to create a festival where there were a lot of new memories. We did a lot of new things where people would remember this edition. We had a live soccer game on the stage of the Gusman and we had a live band playing at the Regal Cinemas after one of the screenings. There was a lot to remember. I'm really, really satisfied we set that goal and managed to achieve it."

They did indeed. The following is a list of the other award winners from last night.


Knight Grand Jury Prize: A Wolf at the Door (O lobo atrás da porta) (Brazil, directed by Fernando Coimbra)

Grand Jury Best Performance: Nora Navas of We All Want What’s Best For Her (Tots volem el millor per a ella) directed by Mar Coll (Spain)

Grand Jury Best Director: Fernando Coimbra of A Wolf at the Door (O lobo atrás da porta)(Brazil)


Mateo, written by Maria Gamboa and Adriana Arjona (Colombia/France)

The jury selected two films to tie as winners in this category for the Knight Grand Jury Prize.

Finding Vivian Maier, directed by Charlie Siskel and John Maloof (USA)

The Overnighters, directed by Jesse Moss (USA)


Mateo directed by Maria Gamboa (Colombia/France)

Honorable Mention: We are Mari Pepa (Somos Mari Pepa) directed by Samuel Kishi Leopo (Mexico)


Papi Shorts Grand Jury Award for Best Short Film: "A Big Deal" directed by Yoyo Yao China of China will receive $1,000.

Honorable Mention: “Skin” directed by Cédric Prévost (France)

MIAMI ENCUENTROS presented by Moviecity:

Aurora (Chile, produced by Florencia Larrea, directed by Rodrigo Sepulveda)

Signis Award: Belle directed by Amma Asante


To Kill A Man (Matar a un hombre) (Chile / France, directed by Alejandro Fernández Almendras)

It's hard to imagine MIFF 32 topping this year, but many thought that about this year after last year's successful festival, so 2015 can be another great year in the making for the Miami International Film Festival.

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