Miami Int'l Film Festival

‘Dheepan’ and ‘Queen of Thursdays’ win big at Miami International Film Festival

Cuban Prima Ballerina Rosario "Charin" Suarez and film director Orlando Rojas react as they received the Knight Documentary Achievement audience award to the best documentary during the closing night of the 33rd Miami International Film Festival at the Gusman Theater in in Miami, on Saturday March 12, 2016.
Cuban Prima Ballerina Rosario "Charin" Suarez and film director Orlando Rojas react as they received the Knight Documentary Achievement audience award to the best documentary during the closing night of the 33rd Miami International Film Festival at the Gusman Theater in in Miami, on Saturday March 12, 2016. pportal@elnuevoherald.com

Dheepan, a drama about Sri Lankan refugees trying to build a new life in Paris, won the Grand Jury Prize in the Knight Competition at the 2016 Miami International Film Festival. The award includes a $30,000 cash award provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The Lexus Audience Award for Best Feature Film, voted on by festival audiences, was a tie between Spain’s Spy Time, the James Bond spoof directed by Javier Ruiz Caldera, and The Companion, a drama set in 1980s Havana during the AIDS epidemic, directed by Cuban filmmaker Pavel Giroud. Logan Sandler’s Tracks, about an amateur skateboarder faced with a dilemma on the day of a championship tournament, won Best Short Film.

Other winners at this year’s festival, which were announced Saturday at the Olympia Theater:

▪ Paulina (La patota), a drama about a woman’s fateful decision to abandon her PhD studies and become a schoolteacher, won the Lexus Ibero-American Feature Film Grand Jury prize ($10,000). It was directed by Santiago Mitre.

▪ Queen of Thursdays, a documentary about Rosario Suárez, the former prima ballerina of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba who fled to Miami, won the Knight Documentary Achievement Award ($10,000).

▪ The Lobster, a droll allegorical comedy about a near-future where people are required to find a romantic person or be turned into an animal, snagged the Knight Competition Best Director prize for Yorgos Lanthimos ($5,000).

▪ Mountains May Depart, the story of a young woman from a Chinese village who must choose between two suitors, won the Knight Competition Best Performance award for its star Zhao Tao ($5,000).

▪ From Afar (Desde allá), writer-director Lorenzo Vigas’ tale of a lonely middle-aged man who pays younger men to spend time with him, won the Jordan Alexander Ressler Screenwriting Award ($5,000).

The Miami International Film Festival, which is presented by Miami Dade College, concludes Sunday with screenings at various venues around Miami.

Rene Rodriguez: 305-376-3611, @ReneMiamiHerald

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