26th Miami International Film Festival

USA, March 6 - March 15 2009

The jury

Eleanor Ringel Cater (), Paulo Portugal (Portugal), Josefina Sartora (Argentina)

Awarded films

The Miami Film Festival has become one of the key events for showcasing not only the best examples of Ibero-American cinema, but also new trends of world cinema. While celebrating its 26th edition, MIFF welcomed the fresh vision of the 46-year-old Italian Tiziana Finzi. Her intention as new director was clear: to build on the Miami Film Festival’s success using her experience gathered while serving in the programming section of the Venice Film Festival, from 1995 to 1999, Pesaro and Taormina and, until last year, the Locarno Film Festival. In just a few months she made several changes and profiled a lineup of exciting, diverse and strong films scattered in the diverse categories.

From the main World Competition, we saw 17 films from Europe, Asia, America and Africa depicting a curious tapestry of intense and, very often, daring filmmaking. It was also from that section that our jury unanimously chose the unconventional Involuntary, the second feature of the 34-year-old Swedish director Ruben Ostlund (awarded the FIPRESCI Prize, in Moscow, in 2005, for his first feature The Guitar Mongoloid). In a funny and clever plot, the film depicts how the power of group communication can affect the destinies of several people.

The main jury, presided over by DP Ken Kelsch, awarded the main prize to the Italian drama The Past is a Foreign Land (Il passato è una terra straniera) by Daniele Vicari.

MIFF presented also an Ibero-American section showcasing first and second features from Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese directors, and also a documentary competition with feature films from around the world. The festival’s multiple program was complemented with a new section called “Cutting the Edge” — an audiovisual experimentation driven to incorporate at least two forms of artistic expression, such as film, video, music, painting, etc. The documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor was shown in the opening ceremony and Abel Ferrara received a homage for his 30-year career, with the screening of Chelsea on the Rocks. (Paulo Portugal)

Miami International Film Festival: www.miamifilmfestival.com