Just got back from the snazzy, high-tech press conference where organizers of the 26th Miami International Film Festival unveiled this year's lineup. I haven't had time to properly peruse the program yet, but I'm pretty psyched about their choice of notorious wild man Abel Ferrara as the recipient of this year's Career Achievement Tribute.
The festival's opening night is a documentary (a first for the festival, I believe) entitled Valentino: The Last Emperor, about the legendary fashion designer. Closing night will bring Empty Nest (El nido vacio), a comedy about a middle-aged couple (Cecilia Roth and Oscar Martinez) figuring out what to do with themselves after the last of their children moves out.
Other intriguing titles in the lineup: Afterschool, director Antonio Campos' highly acclaimed drama about a high school student assigned to create an audiovisual tribute to two dead classmates; Paradise, which brings director Leon Ichaso (Bitter Sugar) back to Miami's mean streets for a tale about a Cuban exile whose arrival to South Florida leads to much trouble; and 8, a collection of shorts by eight international directors (including Gus Van Sant, Jane Campion, Mira Nair, Gaspar Noe and Wim Wenders) centering on the Millenium Development Goals on world poverty.
In Tony Manero, a man will go to any length - including murder - to win a TV contest for best John Travolta impersonator. Director Steve McQueen's Hunger recounts the experiences by the IRA prisoners who went on a six-week hunger strike in the early 1980s in hopes of seizing the world's attention. And Andy Garcia returns to the festival with Cachao: Uno Mas, director Dikayl Rimmasch's portrait of the late, great Cuban musician Israel "Cachao" Lopez.
The complete lineup should be up on the festival's website later today, but if you can't wait, you can download it here as a .pdf file.