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Jurors and 11 awards @ MIFF
(released 2/15/2005)
By kim burke

The Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), presented by Miami Dade College (MDC), presented awards to winning films today at the Festival Awards Brunch held at the Royal Palm Crowne Plaza Hotel in Miami Beach. Jurors in three categories, along with the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI), awarded prizes to films in competition during the 2005 Festival. The ceremony was hosted by Spanish actress Marisa Paredes, known for her work in films directed by Spanish director, Pedro Almodóvar.

Film festival director, Nicole Guillemet, praising all the filmmakers participating in the competitions, said, "Bringing a film to the screen to share with an audience is the greatest award a filmmaker can receive. We are so proud of all the stories the filmmakers, actors, producers and film industry have brought to the Festival this year."

Documentary Features - World & Ibero-American Cinema Competition

- The Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary, World & Ibero-American Cinema Competition went to Scott Dalton and Margarita Martinez's La Sierra (Colombia), which documents a Medellín barrio on the front lines of Colombia's ongoing civil war, capturing a year in the nihilistic world of youthful destruction and suffocating despair.
- The Grand Jury awarded a Special Jury Prize: Raising Social Awareness, to Keith A. Beauchamp's The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till (US), which takes a closer look at the unsolved crime that started America's civil rights movement.
- The Grand Jury awarded a Special Jury Prize: Cinematography, to Marcos Prado's Estamira (Brazil), which shows the struggles of a 63-year-old schizophrenic and mother of three in chilling detail and unsettling cinematography.

Dramatic Features - Ibero-American Cinema Competition

- The Grand Jury Prize for Best Dramatic Feature, Ibero-American Cinema Competition went to Josué Méndez's Days of Santiago (Días de Santiago) (Perú), which tells the story of a former Navy seal adjusting to civilian life in Lima's slums, a world of urban paranoia and restless machismo.
- The Grand Jury awarded a Special Jury Mention to Pilar Ruiz Gutiérrez's, Alicia's Names (Los Nombres de Alicia)(Spain) , the story of a young English teacher who arrives mysteriously in a small Spanish coastal town and quickly becomes the object of fascination for her new ³family.²
- The Grand Jury also awarded two prizes for acting: Best Performance by an Actress, Mirella Pascual for Whisky (Uruguay), directors Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll's story of a septuagenarian sock manufacturer who persuades his employee to play wife while his estranged brother visits; and Best Performance by an Actor, Damián Alcázar for Crónicas (Ecuador), Sebastian Cordero's politically charged thriller that crosses the lines of justice, reality and entertainment.

Dramatic Features - World Cinema Competition

- The Grand Jury Prize for Best Dramatic Feature, World Cinema Competition went to Amma Asante's, A Way of Life (UK), a gritty, clear-eyed film that examines the nature of sacrifice and the forces of intolerance in working-class South Wales.
- The Grand Jury awarded a Special Jury Breakthrough Award: Actor, to Abbie Cornish, Somersault (Australia) and a Special Jury Breakthrough Award, Director to Cate Shortland, Somersault (Australia), in which the wintry landscape of Australia's Lake Jindabyne provides the backdrop for a young girl's exploration, and exploitation, of her own sexuality-coming to terms with her life and her effect on men.


The International Federation of Film Critics Award given by the International Film Critics Association (Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique) (FIPRESCI) to a film in the Dramatic Features - World Cinema Competition, was awarded to Amma Asante's, A Way Of Life (UK) (winner of the Best Dramatic Feature, World Cinema Competition).


The Audience Award - Documentary Features went to Keith A. Beauchamp's The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till (US).

A three-way tie (the same score up to the third decimal place) for the Audience Award - Dramatic Features was shared by:
- Hans Weingartner for The Edukators (Die fetten jahre sind vorbei)(Germany)
- Itthisoontorn Vichailak for The Overture (Hoam Rong)(Thailand)
- Tom Hooper for Red Dust (South Africa/UK)

Weingartner's film, The Edukators, tells the story of two young men who hope to unnerve materialistic foes by breaking into the homes of the elite, not to steal, but to rearrange their belongings. Vichailak's, The Overture, is an entertaining biography of a man destined to be a musician and save his country's music. Hooper's film, Red Dust, explores South Africa's efforts to heal the deep wounds of apartheid through confessions of atrocities as opposed to violence and revenge.

The Jurors for the festival were Robert Byrd, Catherine Tambini, Bob Smeaton, Sara Driver, Jose Maria Prado, Bob Rafelson, Russell Banks, Ted Hope, Denise Kasell, Ricardo Cota, Barbara Lorey de Lacharrière, and Howard Feinstein.

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