Miami Film Festival Retrospective

This year’s Miami Film Festival in its special 40th anniversary was nothing short of remarkable.

The winners this year were as clear as the award season winners. The Everything Everywhere All At Once of MFF was Plantadas, which won the $45,000 made in MIA Feature Film Award and the Audience Award. Directed by Cuban duo Lilo Vilaplana and Camilo Vilaplana, Plantadas tells the stories of three women whose fight to restore democracy in their country are betrayed by the leader of the revolution; eventually they end up in prison where their human rights are violated. Cuban directors’ streak in taking home the Made in MIA film award continued with Hanel Porras Garcia’s Febrero. Garcia’s film tells the story of Zoe, a Cuban exile who has a surprise visit from Helena, her childhood best friend. But when a secret comes to light their relationship is challenged. 

The variety and number of films makes it hard to choose my top picks, but I have to go with the heartfelt opening night film Somewhere in Queens. We may already know Ray Romano as the creator and protagonist of Everybody Loves Raymond, but Somewhere in Queens is his directorial debut. Leo Russo (Ray Romano) leads a quiet life as a father and husband in Queens, New York, with his wife and his son Sticks (Jacob Ward) who gets a life-changing opportunity to play basketball in college. The movie shows the love of a father who will not let his son’s dreams go to waste when faced with the most common and life-threatening condition, heartbreak. 

From the opening to the closing night party the events were just as remarkable. My personal favorite panel was ‘INFLUENTIAL STYLE: In Conversation with Euphoria Costume Designer Heidi Biven,’ in which the in-outs of costume designing were discussed and specifically how Biven enhanced each character with her exceptional talent for fashion. Out of the parties the best one was Closing Night, and I must admit it holds a special place in my memories because there was an endless supply of freshly made tacos. 

Fortunately, endings are just beginnings, and I am already not-so-patiently counting the days for next year’s MFF to be here. 

Laura Sainz is a first-year student at FIU. She enjoys the small things in life with her favorites being rom coms and sunsets. She also loves reading but has a bad habit of reading 10 different books at the same time.