The big screen of the Miami Film Festival

Film festival season is coming up once again, and for the 34th annual Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), it’s another year of new and exciting films. The Miami Film Festival will be from March 3-17, but even sooner is the GEMS festival, a branch of the MIFF, which will be Oct. 13-16.

Rachel Bleemer, associate director of brands for the festival, explained that the GEMS festival is a mini version of the festival in March.

Bleemer said, “It’s a good way for people to understand what a film festival is and what kind of films to expect. It’s really exciting.”

The GEMS festival will be displaying a variety of different movies.

Bleemer said, “For GEMS we have a little bit of everything.”

GEMS will be showing “Gimme Danger” which is about Iggy and the Stooges and was directed by Jim Jarmusch, the Rolling Stones’ new documentary “Olé Olé Olé” which follows the band through countries they were banned from for 30 years, “Christine,” which is a true story about a news reporter from Sarasota who committed suicide on-air, and “Neruda,” which is about Pablo Neruda, the Chilean activist, and stars Gael García Bernal.

To select films, Bleemer explained MIFF has different programmers that have strenuous job of travelling around the world, going to different film festivals and bringing films to Miami.

“They keep their ear really close to the industry, know what’s coming out, know what works for Miami, or South Florida in general, what our patrons like to see,” Bleemer said.

Bleemer said that despite the strenuousness of the programmer’s job there is a payoff to the work.

She explained, “For the premieres, and getting the talent, there’s a lot of different hands, but, for the most part, you do have a fun job…finding these films and bringing them here.”

An interesting aspect of this year’s GEMS festival that Bleemer pointed out is the earlier release of the MIFF posters, which will happen during the GEMS festival.

“We usually don’t show our 2017 posters until closer to the festival in March,” Bleemer explained. “We have this Spanish artist named Juan Gatti…he also specializes in movie posters… he’s actually going to be here, we’re going to unveil the poster, be able to have a conversation with him. So that’s something earlier than usual.”

Bleemer said she believes that the MIFF, and film festivals like it, provide a platform for film to thrive.

“These films would not be able to come to Miami, especially with such a varying culture,” Bleemer said. “It’s so nice to be able to go to the theatre and see your home, whether you’re from, especially South America, go and see a movie in Portuguese or go and see a Chilean movie and have that experience with the filmmaker. [You] hear about how they got the movie made, ask some questions. That’s just something that’s priceless for so many people. Right now we’re really seeing such a love for film…I think people are getting more and more engaged in independent films…It helps continue the film community.”

GEMS will be located at MDC’s Tower Theater Miami, and tickets for the festival are on sale online under “Buy Tickets” in the top bar.


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