PAULINA and FROM AFAR Awarded at Miami

The Miami International Film Festival announced its winners this past weekend  at a ceremony in Downtown Miami’s Olympia Theater. The Festival is the only major film festival to be produced by a college or university and this year’s edition featured 129 films from 40 countries. Latin America took home a few big wins last night, including Argentine La patota / Paulina (pictured left) which took home the top prize of the Lexus Ibero-American Feature Film Competition.

Paulina premiered last year in the International Critics' Week section at Cannes where it won the Grand Prize and the FIPRESCI Prize. This marks filmmaker Santiago Mitre’s second feature. After Paulina moves back home to teach in a suburban high school, she must deal with the disapproval of the people around her when she returns to work after being brutally assaulted by a gang.

The Jordan Alexander Ressler Screenwriting Award went to Venezuelan production From Afar / Desde allá (pictured right) by Lorenzo Vigas. Vigas’ debut film follows a middle-aged man who searches for young men in Caracas and pays them for company. When he meets a 17-year-old leader of a criminal gang, both of their lives are changed forever.

The Miami Encuentros competition which consists of films produced partially or entirely by Ibero-American-based productions was won by Uruguayan film The Candidate / El candidato by helmer Daniel Hendler and produced by Cordon Films. It tells the story of a man as he weighs his options within a career in politics.

Miami Film 2016 presented by The Related Group is an initiative to award cash prizes in the amount of $32,500 to films in development, this year from Argentina, based on project quality and production feasibility. This year’s winners were in first place Diego Lerman for A Sort of Family, second place, Gonzalo Tobal for Dolores and third place, Camilla Toker for The Death of Marga Maier.