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The 2009 Borscht Film Festival launches tonight

By Miamians, for Miamians: That's the credo behind the 2009 Borscht Film Festival, which will unspool short films made entirely in South Florida by local filmmakers at 7 p.m. Saturday at downtown Miami's Gusman Center for the Performing Arts.


Now in its sixth year, the festival was created by students at New World School of the Arts as a showcase for works created by like-minded aspiring filmmakers. This year, the festival joins forces with the Miami World Cinema Center (MWCC) in Wynwood, the not-for-profit film studio designed to nurture and assist the local moviemaking scene.

At Saturday's event, MWCC will premiere CCCV Stories, five commissioned shorts chosen from more than 100 proposals. Each film is set in a specific Miami neighborhood and tells an only-in-Miami story. Among them: Of Metrorails and Megasaurs, in which Norah Solarzano uses live action and experimental animation to tell the story of a little girl's first visit to downtown Miami; Day n Night Out, set in Liberty City and Homestead, written by playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney and directed by Lucas Leyva, is about a young man and the seemingly insurmountable obstacles of his life, and Xemoland, Daniel Cardenas' animated tale of a 7-year-old boy who becomes lost in an imaginary world.

All the winners were directed by local filmmakers under the age of 30. The Cinema Center provided initial $5,000 budgets, which the filmmakers parlayed into bigger budgets by working with local vendors and in-kind donations.

"Orson Welles was 24 when he made Citizen Kane," says Patrick deBokay, founder and CEO of the Cinema Center. "The young are the future of the images of tomorrow. Our center, and this festival, are a way to give young people of Miami the passion and the will to make films."

For more information about the 2009 Borscht Film Festival, go here.


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