A mockumentary about a heavy-metal marimbas player, the story of a man desperate to obtain a piano in order to gain custody of his daughter, a portrait of a deaf UFC fighter and a non-fiction look at an unusual approach to inner city violence were among the winning films at the 28th Miami International Film Festival, which is presented by Miami Dade College.
Oren Kaplan’s Hamill, a drama based on the life of UFC fighter Matt “The Hammer” Hamill, who became one of the sport’s most respected figures despite having been born deaf, won the Venemovies Audience Award for Best Feature Film, voted on by festivalgoers throughout the ten-day event.The Guatemalan comedy Marimbas From Hell won the Ibero-American Competition, while China’s The Piano in a Factory won the World Competition. Steve James’ documentary The Interrupters won the Dox competition. All three awards include a cash prize awarded by the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation ($20,000 for each of the two feature films categories and $10,000 for the documentary category).The University of Miami Shorts competition was won by Marialy Rivas’ Blokes, which includes a $2,500 cash prize awarded by the school. The Jordan Alexander Ressler Screenwriting Award, which includes a $5,000 prize, went to Jean Gentile, the story of a professor living in Santo Domingo trying to make his way home to Haiti.The Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority Innovation in Industry Award went to Morgan Spurlock’s POM Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, a look at the practice of product placement in movies. The automaker Lexus, a new festival sponsor, presented its Pursuit of Perfection award to Magic City Memoirs, the made-in-Miami drama about the friendship between three high school seniors at a privileged private school.Here is a complete list of winners and runners-up, announced Saturday night: VENEMOVIES AUDIENCE AWARD FOR BEST FEATURE FILM: Hamill by Oren Kaplan (USA) KNIGHT FOUNDATION IBERO-AMERICAN COMPETITION: Knight Foundation Grand Jury Prize: Marimbas From Hell (Las marimbas del infierno) by Julio Hernández Cordón (Guatemala/France/Mexico)—a $20,000 USD cash prize awarded by the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Honorable Mention: Half of Oscar (La mitad de Óscar) by Manuel Martín Cuenca (Spain/Cuba) KNIGHT FOUNDATION WORLD COMPETITION: Knight Foundation Grand Jury Prize: The Piano in a Factory (Gang de qin) by Zhang Meng (China)—a $20,000 USD cash prize awarded by the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight FoundationHonorable Mention: Intimate Grammar (Hadikduk Hapnimi) by Nir Bergman (Israel) KNIGHT FOUNDATION DOX COMPETITION: Knight Foundation Grand Jury Prize: The Interrupters by Steve James (USA)—a $10,000 USD cash prize awarded by the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Honorable Mention: If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front by Marshall Curry (USA) UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI SHORTS COMPETITION: University of Miami Grand Jury Award for Best Short Film: Blokes (Blockes) by Marialy Rivas (Chile)—a $2,500 USD cash prize awarded by the University of Miami Honorable Mention: Yuri Lennon’s Landing on Alpha46 by Anthony Vouardoux (Switzerland/Germany) THE JORDAN ALEXANDER RESSLER SCREENWRITING AWARD: The husband-and-wife directing and screenwriting team of Israel Cárdenas and Laura Amelia Guzmán of Jean Gentil—a $5,000 USD cash prize awarded by the Jordan Alexander Ressler Charitable Fund; open to films in the Ibero-American Competition MIAMI BEACH VISITOR & CONVENTION AUTHORITY INNOVATION IN INDUSTRY AWARD: POM Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold by Morgan Spurlock (USA) VENEMOVIES AUDIENCE AWARD, BEST SHORT FILM: .Yuri Lennon’s Landing on Alpha46 by Anthony Vouardoux (Switzerland/Germany) FLORIDA FOCUS COMPETITION: CINEMASLAM Winner: Augustus by Bobby Douge of Miami International University of Art & Design Honorable Mention: Nurse Interrupted by Lara Fuchsbrauner of Miami International University of Art & Design FLORIDA FOCUS COMPETITION: MIAMI COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS Winner: Homelessness: Just Look Around by Kasey Gonzalez, Emily Galvez and Lauren Thermes, South Dade Senior High