Consuelo Naranjo/Staff Writer
The uniqueness and sophistication of the Olympia Theater, at downtown Miami, opened its doors for the beginning of the Miami International Film Festival 2014 (MIFF), celebrated from Friday, March 7 to Sunday, March 15.
Remarkable characters from all of the continents arrived to the warm and multicultural city of Miami to share the premier of their most creative work.
This year the MIFF celebrated the anniversary number 31 of the finest world film industry that includes independent and documentary productions. The festival introduced film lovers to remarkable national and international directors as well as acclaim actors and producers such as Mike Myers, Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer, John Turturro, Andy Garcia, Anne Hathaway, as well as Gloria and Emilio Estefan,
Founded by the Film Society of Miami, Inc. in 1983, with the main objective of providing cultural understanding, encouraging artistic development and excellence in cinematographic through film, the MIFF gained recognition from the heights and most exclusive film critics and members of the film business.
In 1990s, the Film Society transferred the administration of the festival to Florida International University; however, since October 2003, Miami Dade College (MDC) is the principal sponsor and organizer of the gala.
Passionate founders, excited viewers and loyal sponsors such as American Airlines, HBO Latino and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation seized one of the important parties in the industry.
On day one, Jaie Laplante, executive director of the MIFF, once again, welcomed the public and presented the world premiere of “Elsa & Fred,” directed by Michael Radford. Starring Oscar winners Christopher Plummer and Shirley MacLaine, this story of love breaks social stereotypes of timing and the circumstances that an old couple live in the search of happiness.
This production is a remake project from the Spanish- Argentine film, Elsa y Fred. With the participation of Latin American actors such as Osvaldo Rios and Ricardo Kleinbaum, this film brought the best of different culture and background to praise the idea of hope and love without a limit of age.
Also, a growing talent, Jared Gilman, best known for his role on Moonrise Kingdom, and now a cast member for Elsa & Fred, share his secret to work on the film industry.
“Be patient, expect rejection and know that everything is about timing. There is a reason of why it is call the perfect roll, timing and preparation has to come in to play,” Gilman said.
Another extraordinary premier was An Unbreakable Bond, a film produced by Emilio Estefan and narrated by Gloria Estefan. This documentary presents the story of NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti and his nearly three decade struggle spinal cord injuries. With the help and support of his family Nick inverse himself in the search for a cure and to help others who are suffering from this condition. The films archives the creation of The Miami Project and The Buoniconti Fund. Hope, unconditional love, awareness and courage are the main chords of this production.
In 1990, Gloria Estefan broke her back and was faced with the harsh possibility of never walk or have a normal life again after a transit accident. This personal struggle touched her perception of what life is truly about.
“This film represents not just the amazing story of Nick Buoniconti, but a struggle that Gloria and I also faced. Children from all around the world are also suffering from this illness,” Emilio Estefan said. “We want to spread awareness and find a cure.”
“I am so proud of Emilio for the production of the movie and I hope we can raise more sources to find a cure for paralysis. We are so close to do it, so I want to be part of it,” Gloria Estefan said.
Florida International University students are one of the principal ingredients for the production of the festival. Paolo Augustine, a senior in public relations was selected by the remarkable team of Jessica Wade Inc. Public Relations Company to work hand by hand and make from the festival an astonishing event.
Mauricio Parra, Miami personality, official DJ for Vogue magazine and MTV events and an FIU Alumni, lighted up the inauguration party with a fusion of vibrating and energetic rhythms. He also encouraged the FIU family, to follow their dreams.
“To all my FIU brothers and sisters, please keep working hard, study and prepare yourself everyday. Keep the passion for your dreams,” Parra said.
“I can definitely say that working for the Miami International Film Festival has made this spring break the most memorable for me so far. I had the opportunity to build experience, meet new awesome people, actors and filmmakers,” Augustine said.