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Miami Shorts: Festival in action

The Miami Short Film Festival (MsFF) has unveiled a sneak peek of the program for its 8th annual edition, scheduled for November 13th - 22nd, announcing a special focus on the environment. "Back To The Roots" is MsFF's slogan for 2009, as the Festival adds a new prize category for Best Environmental Short Film and replaces its Opening Night Gala red carpet with a "green" carpet.

"The first films ever made were short films," MsFF Founder and Director William Vela said. "At the 2009 Festival, we are paying special attention to the short film as part of cinema's roots, at the same time we look at what is happening in the world around us by showcasing several films that scrutinize our relationship with the natural world."

Presented by the University of Miami School of Communication, the 2009 Festival will officially get under way with Opening Night Gala and "green" carpet experience on Saturday, November 14th at 8pm at the Bill Cosford Cinema in Coral Gables. Screenings will continue for the entire week at the Cosford Cinema, with additional events taking place at the Miami Beach Cinematheque on Española Way and at the Miami Children's Museum on Watson Island where a special children's program will screen.

 

The Miami Short Film Festival (MsFF) has unveiled the official program for its 8th annual edition, scheduled for November 13th – 22nd, announcing a special focus on environment. "Back To The Roots" is MsFF's slogan for 2009, as the Festival adds a new prize category for Best Environmental Short Film and replaces its traditional Opening Night Gala red carpet with a "green" carpet.

"The first films ever made were short films," MsFF Founder and Director William Vela said. "At the 2009 Festival, we are paying special attention to the short film as part of cinema's roots, at the same time we look at what is happening in the world around us by showcasing several films that scrutinize our relationship with our environments - natural, political, social, even spiritual."

Returning to the Festival as jury members this year are Hollywood feature filmmaker David Frankel (Marley & Me, The Devil Wears Prada) and 2007 "Best of the Festival" MsFF winning filmmaker Rob Meyer ("Aquarium"). Frankel served on the 2007 jury that awarded Meyer top prize, and is currently serving as executive producer on Meyer's first feature (currently in development), A Birder's Guide to Everything.

Presented by the University of Miami School of Communication, the 2009 Miami Short Film Festival will get under way with two screenings on Friday the 13th, "Spielberg and Lucas Met at Film School", devoted to outstanding new work from students at NYU, UCLA and other film schools, and "Big Bad Dreams of Darkness", an eclectic collection of creepy, after-dark genres. Both screenings take place at the Bill Cosford Cinema in Coral Gables.

The official Opening Night Gala and "green" carpet experience is set for Saturday, November 14th at 8pm, also at the Cosford, with a pre-reception at 7pm and a post- screening party sponsored by Stella Artois. Films include "Gloria & Eric" by Miami hometown hero Nicolas Calzada and "Death of a Boxer" from Jordan. Director Naji Abu Nowar will travel from Amman, Jordan, especially to attend the screening, and his producer Rupert Lloyd from the United Kingdom will attend as well.

Screenings will continue for the entire week at the Cosford Cinema, with additional events taking place at the Miami Beach Cinematheque on Espanola Way and at the Miami Children's Museum on Watson Island where a special children's program will screen starting on Sunday, November 15th at 11:30am, and continue all week with daily screenings at 2:30pm - 6:30pm until Sunday, November 22nd.

Other program highlights include "Connecting the Docs" on Saturday Nov. 14th at 4pm, which features a post-screening conversation with 3 documentary filmmakers on the struggle to find cinema in the documentary. A highlight of this program is David Weintraub's not-to-be-missed 30 minute history of Miami's Overtown neighborhood, "The Golden Side of the Tracks", featuring fascinating historical footage and interviews with some passionate defenders of Overtown's community roots. Weintraub will attend the screening in person.

"The World We Own", exploring the theme of Environment, features one film from each of the 6 populated continents, and explores all types of Environment - the natural world , or other environmental contexts, such as spiritual, political or social. "La Noche Latina", the Festival's always popular night of exclusively Hispanic works, this year showcases films from Mexico, Venezuela, Columbia, Spain and Nicaragua.

The Festival received a record number of entries in 2009, more than 500, and is screening more than 70 works from approximately 25 countries. The Festival's Closing Night Gala, "Time to Say Goodbye", will take place on Friday, November 20th at 9pm, at the University of Miami Bill Cosford Cinema, where award winners in all categories will be announced, as well as the grand-prize winning "Best of the Festival". The Closing Night Party will take place immediately following at the Frances L. Wolfson courtyard of the School of Communication as Festival organizers and sponsors, participating filmmakers and audience members join together to toast the success of the magnificent week of new cinematic discoveries just gone by.

Two award winners from last year's Festival went on to significant success: Best Narrative winner "Grisen (The Pig)" went on to receive an Oscar nomination as Best Live-Action Short, while Best of the Fest winner "Frankie" won the European Film Academy Award as Best Short of the Year.

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