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Cuba Plays a Starring Role in Miami Dade College’s 2013 Miami International Film Festival

MIFF MELAZA 1

A scene from the film Melaza, directed by Carlos Lechuga.

Miami, February 11, 2013 - Miami, – Cuba will figure prominently as Miami Dade College's   Miami International Film Festival (MIFF) celebrates its 30th anniversary.  This year, movie screens will display fictional, full-length features as well as documentaries, expressing – through a lens reflecting the dreams and frustrations of a nation and an exile community - more than five decades of totalitarian rule.

The movement of young, Cuban cinematographers, which during the last few years has established the standards for the present and future of that country's cinema, will present two, full-length motion pictures that dare to reveal the social and existential circumstances Cuba is currently facing.

Melaza, or Molasses, takes place in an imaginary town, devastated economically after the closing of its main source of revenue, its sugar industry.  As a result, a young couple does the unthinkable in an effort to survive: they rent out their home to a friend who's a prostitute so that she may carry out her duties, and sell red meat on the black market, a crime that carries a hefty prison term on the island.

The young, female protagonist, an ex-employee of the central, returns to the ruins every day to carry out her old responsibilities.  In the meantime, her husband, an elementary-school teacher with only a few students under his tutelage, contemplates the miserable reward for his services in the classroom.  In his anxiety to not appear as a failure to his family, he resolves to take desperate measures.

Melaza is a metaphor that reflects the failure of an antiquated system that refuses to disappear.

La piscina, or The Pool, by Carlos Machado, is an independent, full-length film from Cuba.  Minimalist in its presentation and worrisome in its portrayal, the film takes place inside a pool where a swimming instructor teaches a group of physically-challenged students.  It is during this time they grow despite their limitations, and openly express their lack of fulfillment, along with their dreams. La piscina breaks with tradition and spawns a new route in Cuban cinematography.

Amor  crónico, or Chronic Love, is a hybrid of fiction and documentary, by actor and film director, Jorge Perugorría (Strawberry & Chocolate).  It follows the imaginary tour of Singer Cucú Diamantes, throughout Cuba.

The Cuban documentaries that will be featured during the MIFF include: ¡Viva Cuba Libre!: Rap is War, by Jesse Acevedo, another look into the growing social hip-hop scene on the island.  Filmed with a hidden camera, it reveals the embodiment of this outspoken, cultural movement and the repression from which it suffers.

Two other documentaries tell the tale of the Cuba's exiled community longing for the island it left behind: Cubamerican, by José Enrique Pardo, and Lost Country by Heather Burky. Although different in points-of-view, they share the same dramatic expression.

In Day of Flowers, directed by John Roberts, two Scottish sisters travel to Cuba to deposit their father's ashes.  During their trip, they encounter obstacles in their path that they'll never forget, including the first performance of the famed ballet dancer, Carlos Acosta, as an actor.

Lastly, MIFF has been selected by the legendary directors León Ichaso and Orlando Jiménez to re-introduce a restored copy of what is considered the best full-feature fiction film of the Cuban exile community.  El super, or The Super – based on the play by Iván Acosta -- tells the tale of the first Cubans to arrive in the U.S. after 1959, and their futile attempt to hold on to their customs and their family unit, in a frigid place far away from the country they left behind.

Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), celebrating its 30th anniversary March 1 - 10, 2013, is considered the preeminent film festival for showcasing Ibero-American cinema in the U.S., and a major launch pad for all international and documentary cinema. The annual Festival, produced and presented by Miami Dade College, attracts more than 70,000 audience members and more than 400 filmmakers, producers, talent and industry professionals. It is the only major festival housed within a college or university. In the last five years, the Festival has screened films from more than 60 countries, including 300 World, International, North American, U.S. and East Coast Premieres. MIFF's special focus on Ibero-American cinema has made the Festival a natural gateway for the discovery of new talent from this diverse territory.  The Festival also offers unparalleled educational opportunities to film students and the community at large. Major sponsors of the 2013 Festival include Knight Foundation, Lexus and Miami-Dade County. For more, visit miamifilmfestival.com or call 305-237-MIFF (3456).

Miami Dade College has a long and rich history of involvement in the cultural arts, providing South Florida with a vast array of artistic and literary offerings including the Miami Book Fair International, the Center @ MDC, the Miami International Film Festival, the MDC Live Arts Performing Arts Series, the Cuban Cinema Series, the Miami Leadership Roundtable speakers' series, numerous renowned campus art galleries and theaters, and the nationally recognized School of Entertainment and Design Technology. With an enrollment of more than 174,000 students, MDC is the largest institution of higher education in the country and is a national model for many of its programs. The college's seven campuses and two centers offer more than 300 distinct degree programs including baccalaureate, associate in arts and science degrees and numerous career training certificates leading to in-demand jobs. MDC has served nearly 2,000,000 students since it opened its doors in 1960.

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org

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MIFF Contacts:

Jessica Wade Pfeffer, Jessica Wade Inc. | Tel: +1 305-804-8424 | jessica@jessicawadeinc.com

Shannon Treusch, Falco Ink | Tel. (212) 445-7100|   shannontreusch@falcoink.com

Janice Roland, Falco Ink | Tel. (212) 445-7100 | janiceroland@falcoink.com

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611, jmendiet@mdc.edu, MDC communications director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710, sue.arrowsmith@mdc.edu, media specialist
Roxana Romero, 305-237-3366, rromero3@mdc.edu, media specialist
Kai Hill, 305-237-3359, khill1@mdc.edu, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482, arios1@mdc.edu




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