The 35th annual Miami Film Festival launches Friday, featuring more than 100 movies — many of them world premieres — and about 200 actors and movie makers, including Samu Fuentes, Mateo Gil, Djimon Hounsou, Isabelle Huppert, Ron Livingston, Jason Reitman and Carlos Saura as special guests.
“Tully,” directed by Reitman with Oscar-winner Charlize Theron (“Monster”) and Livingston, will open the festival. Both Reitman and Livington are set to appear opening night at The Olympia theater in downtown Miami.
There will be awards and tributes to leading film figures such as Huppert, star of the movie “Elle,” and Spanish director Saura.
The Miami Film Festival, presented by Miami Dade College, is among the most important events for IberoAmerican movies in the United States and the only one with such a high profile.
The festival also provides presentations and premieres of movies and documentaries, and offers educational opportunities through seminars, conferences and chats.
Among the scheduled events is the world premier of “Las Leyes de la Termodinámica” (“The Laws of Thermodynamics”) by Spanish director Gil, and the North American premiere of “Dolphin Man,” about free diver Jacques Mayol and his work with dolphins at the Miami Seaquarium in the 1950s.
Also scheduled at the festival, which runs through March 18 at various theaters throughout South Florida: the Cuban film “Sergio y Serguei” by director Ernesto Daranas, which has been praised as adding a link to the chain that includes “Apollo 13” (directed by Ron Howard, 1995), “Gravity” (Alfonso Cuaron, 2013) and “The Martian” (Ridley Scott, 2015).
One of the festival’s jewels this year will be the surprising documentary “The Rest I Make Up,” directed by journalist, artist and movie maker Michelle Memran, an investigative reporter in New York for nearly 20 years, mostly for Vanity Fair magazine. She also has written about theater for Newsweek, The New York Times, The Brooklyn Rail and American Theatre.
“The Rest I Make Up” is about Cuban-American playwright Maria Irene Fornes, considered the grand teacher of U.S. theater and mentor to thousands of writers, among them Nilo Cruz, the only Latin American to win a Pulitzer for theater.
Winner of nine Obie prizes for theater artists and author of more than 40 works, Fornes was a Pulitzer finalist in 1990 and is ranked among star playwrights such as Tony Kushner, Caryl Churchill, Paula Vogel, Lanford Wilson and Edward Albee.
Her first play helped break the laws of classical theater — guided solely by intuition and one question that she asked herself over and over: What does it mean to be a human being?
In 1999, Memran asked to interview Fornes for the magazine American Theatre. That led to an unstoppable friendship and eventually the film, which began filming in 2003. Editor Melissa Neidich later joined the project.
It is a story about the friendship between the two women, united despite the enormous difference in ages and despite dementia. It is a story of spontaneity, creativity, genius and madness. “The Rest I Make Up” is also a tribute to the conscience, beyond its limits.
Delicately handled and precise in cuts and editing, even if the film had been done without words and its magnificent music selection, it would still be splendid because of the force of the moving images and the photography, a virtual tribute to the early days of filmmaking.
It showcases the life, inspiration and virtuosity of Fornes and leaves us with the unforgettable lesson that there’s much more to rummage through in the human mind even after it is no longer sharp, after the “coherent reasoning” decides to take a break to make way for genius and surprise.
“The Rest I Make Up” will be screened 4 p.m. Saturday at the Tower Theater, 1508 SW Eighth St. in Little Havana.
If you go
The Miami Film Festival opens Friday with a screening of director Jason Reitman’s “Tully” starring Charlize Theron and Ron Livingston.
The 2018 festival runs through March 18. For complete information and to purchase tickets, visit https://2018.miamifilmfestival.com.