La vida local

Life’s a circus for this reality ‘Familia’


Downtown denizens may have noticed the big top, trailers and the smell of animals and popcorn on 12th and Biscayne Boulevard last month.

Yes, the circus was in town. What you may not have known is that cameras were rolling for a new Tr3s reality novela, Familia de Circo, premiering at 9 p.m. Sunday.

Tune in to see the Vázquez family from Mexico do their thing — wrangling horses, pigs, giraffes and other wildlife; rollerskating on trampolines; balancing on their heads.

“The circus is like a telenovela,” said Memo Vázquez, ringmaster. “It’s where you’re going to find tears, you’re going to find joy, romance, betrayal, hatred. The life of the circus is better than the movies.”

Adds juggler/animal trainer/acrobat Jose A. Vazquez: “This show is really entertaining because we’re all so different. Plus we all work in a live show, so we risk our lives every day.”

Madeleine Marr

Overtown man

Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson has joined a new all-star team in Miami — except this time, it’s not on the football field. Morningstar Films reports that the former NFL star is making his big-screen debut in Overtown, a new film by Shottas director Cess Silvera about “street life in one of Miami’s most notorious slums.” Johnson joins a cast that includes X-Men’s Vinnie Jones, True Blood’s Kelly Overton, and The Walking Deads’s Lew Temple. Latin soap star Khotan Fernandez and Jamaican music legend Mavado will also feature in the follow-up to Silvera’s Jamaican gangster cult classic.

According to Silvera, all the A-list interest in Overtown has come as a welcome surprise, but at a cost he didn’t anticipate when planning the indie film’s modest budget. As a result, the director has taken to the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. “I want to bring attention the violent, drug-ridden culture of poor neighborhoods, but with more authenticity than big-budget Hollywood films,” says Silvera, who grew up on Overtown’s streets. “Our movie will have more heart and soul, not to mention humor and street-life realism. Our movie is based on true events. . . and will show Hollywood that we don’t need millions of dollars to make movies that the streets love and cherish.”

Lesley Abravanel

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Miami Herald

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