The 33rd Miami International Film Festival Experience

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There was buzz and anticipation in the air. Movie goers who have a special place in their hearts for films were present for the ending weekend of the 33rd Annual Miami International Film Festival. As a lover of films, I was at home around others who shared my passion.

The first movie I watched was by filmmaker Josh Kriegman. He presented a documentary called “Weiner”, a film that captures scandal, the power of media, and a man’s race to change the city. As a person that doesn’t pay much attention to politics, I enjoyed the dynamic and process of what it takes to be in politics. As scandal ensued around politician Anthony Weiner in his pursuit to run for mayor of New York City his reputation became forefront. The documentary gave a first hand look at his journey, trials and tribulations as well as his tenaciousness to keep fighting. I noticed that the documentary was essentially a sort of love story to New York City and its patrons. 

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My next stop was to the red carpet event for the film “The Steps”. There was much excitement between press and on-lookers in anticipation of the expected filmmaker and cast of the festival films. Exuberant actors and directors alike were cascading down the red carpet. Their grace and elegance beamed off them as well as some child-like enthusiasm, it was contagious. 

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Before “The Steps” began the festival/sponsors presented film, shorts, and documentaries with their awards. 

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Director Andrew Currie, writer Robyn Harding and actors Christine Lahti and Benjamin Arthur introduced their film “The Steps”. But before it began Canadian native and the Miami International Film Festivals executive producer Jaie Laplante commented on the impressiveness of Christine Lahti’s portrayal of a Canadian woman. He asked how she was able to portray a Canadian woman so well, with her being an American. She joked and said that she was from Michigan so there was that, the audience busted out into a roar of laughter. Not knowing many people from Michigan, the joke blew past my head. She continued to say that Canadians have a sense of innocence as well as “joie de vivre” and although she doesn’t have the innocence, she does have the same “joie de vivre”. 

The film gave a great dynamic of a modern day family. The epitome of a blended family was the premise of the movie.

In an effort to adopt a new member, each family had to work together by the end of the weekend and provide an united front. Family bonding activities were planned in the hopes of repairing damaged relationships between parent and their respective children. And as only a dysfunctionally functional family can do, chaos erupts. But more important as a FAMILY can do they come together to embrace one another in all their craziness. 

Ultimately, this years festival presented a theme, a theme of second chances. 

The night ended in the film’s after party which was filled with a lively ambiance. The party menu had an array of delicious hors d’oeuvres that included sliders, mac and cheese, and rum popsicles. The soirée was buzzing with continuous mingling and laughter. I was able to catchup with director Andrew Currie and actor Benjamin Arthur of “The Steps”. We engaged in casual conversation and laughter. There was a moment in the night where Currie asked if I knew of anyone on the outside that wanted a ticket into the after party. He wanted to give away extra tickets that he had on him. And in that very moment two people walked up to gain access, a man wearing an LED decorated checkered fedora accompanied with his pregnant wife who was sporting a metallic cast on her wrist. Currie walked up to them and presented them with his tickets.

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This was a day/night I will never forget. I’d like to thank the forces at play, Miami International Film Festival and 24/7 Miami for giving me an experience of a lifetime!

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Reporting for 24/7 Miami, this is Aryele Nicoleau.

Thank you and Enjoy!