Miami Film Festival is a world-class platform for International, American, and Ibero-American films. The special 40th edition of the Miami Film Festival occurs from March 3-12, 2023. The Festival showcases the work of the world’s best emerging and established filmmakers to the diverse cosmopolitan community of Miami. Cash awards totaling more than $100,000 are given in competition categories.
In recent years, the Miami Film Festival has attracted approximately 45,000 people a year, as well as 300 filmmakers, producers, talent and industry professionals from around the world as it showcases more than 100 feature narratives, documentaries and short films of all genres, from 40 different countries. Highlights of recent festivals have included award presentations and exclusive in-depth conversations with film legends Pedro Almodovar, Penelope Cruz, Rita Moreno, Riz Ahmed, Ramin Bahrani, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Aldis Hodge, Javier Camara, Andra Day, Ari Wegner, Cristobal Tapia de Veer, and Joshua James Richards; and numerous World and International Premieres.
The Festival also hosts dozens of world-class events every year, including the Mercado de Cine Frances y Europeo, which brings together over 40 buyers and sellers from Europe and Latin America; annual events in partnership with VARIETY, including The International Feature Film Award Roundtable; as well as numerous workshops, masterclasses, legendary parties, and industry happy hours.
Historically, the Festival has had the privilege of hosting a noted group of filmmakers and talent, including Barry Jenkins, Isabelle Huppert, Carlos Saura, Richard Gere, Rashida Jones, Sarah Jessica Parker, Lena Olin, Pablo Larrain, Edward James Olmos, Monica Bellucci, Rossy de Palma, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Spike Lee, Andy Garcia, Patricia Clarkson, Stella Meghie, Joe Talbot, Jason Reitman, Lulu Wang and countless more. Simultaneously, it strives to be a beacon of support to local filmmaking talent and has elevated the work of numerous local filmmakers via exciting marquee screenings and generous cash awards like the Knight Made in MIA prize for locally-produced features and shorts.
Major trade publications such as Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Screen and Indiewire attend for coverage and reviews of the films. Miami Film Festival has also made the prestigious “One of the 50 Film Festivals Worth The Entry Fee” list by Moviemaker Magazine in recent years.
Knight Made in MIA Feature Film Award
$45,000 Knight Made in MIA Feature Film Award is a cash competition for the jury-selected feature film of any genre that features a qualitatively and quantitatively substantial portion of its content (story, setting and actual filming location) in South Florida (Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and/or Monroe counties) and that best utilizes its story and theme for universal resonance. The jury will have the option to award $22,500 each to two films that represent different genres (narrative, documentary, hybrid), or may elect to award the entire prize to one film. If there are insufficient entries, Miami Film Festival also reserves the right to combine the Knight Made in MIA Feature Film Award with the Knight Made in MIA Short Film Award into one Knight Made in MIA Category with the $55,000 of total prize money divided between a First Prize ($30,000), Second Prize ($15,000), and Third Prize ($10,000).
Knight Marimbas Award
$25,000 Knight MARIMBAS Award is a cash competition for the jury-selected U.S. or international narrative feature film (60 min or longer) that best exemplifies richness and resonance for cinema’s future.
Knight Made in MIA Short Film Award
$10,000 Knight Made in MIA Short Film Award is a cash competition for the jury-selected short film under 30 minutes of any genre that features a qualitatively and quantitatively substantial portion of its content (story, setting and actual filming location) in South Florida (Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and/or Monroe counties) and that best utilizes its story and theme for universal resonance. If there are insufficient entries, Miami Film Festival also reserves the right to combine the Knight Made in MIA Feature Film Award with the Knight Made in MIA Short Film Award into one Knight Made in MIA Category with the $55,000 of total prize money divided between a First Prize ($30,000), Second Prize ($15,000), and Third Prize ($10,000).
Jordan Ressler First Feature Award
$10,000 cash to the filmmaker (director, or writer/director) of the jury-selected best film made by a filmmaker making his or her feature narrative (60 min or longer) film debut. The Award is courtesy of the South Florida family of the late Jordan Ressler, an aspiring screenwriter whose life was tragically cut short before he could realize his dream.
USA Latino Short Film Award
The USA Latino Short Film Competition is a short film competition open to open to Latino/a/x filmmakers (writers, directors or producers) who submit an 8 to 20 minute film. Submitting filmmakers must be legal residents of the 50 U.S. states, DC or Puerto Rico.
Alacran Music in Film Award
Highlights the power of music in film and celebrates the role of the film composer. Alacran would like to celebrate the artists behind the music composition, which often stays in the shadow, for their contribution to the film industry with complimentary studio time at Alacran Group’s state-of-the-art recording studios for Best Original Score. For Best Original Score of all opt-in feature films in the Festival.
Documentary Achievement Award
Prize given to one documentary film as voted upon by the Festival audience, awarded to the film’s lead producer (production company). All feature-length documentary (50 min or longer) playing in the Festival’s Official Selection are eligible for this Award.
Miami International Short Film Award
$4,000 Miami International Short Film Award is a cash competition, with the award given to a jury-selected narrative short film (30 min or less) of any genre from anywhere in the world.
Documentary Short Film Award
$1,000 Documentary Short Film Award is a cash competition, with the award given to a jury-selected documentary short film (30 min or less) from anywhere in the world.
Goya Quick Bites Short Film Competition
$2,500 Goya Quick Bites Short Film Award, courtesy of Goya, to the filmmaker of a jury selected short film (20 minutes or less) of any genre, that best showcases the intersection of food and community. This includes stories that feature a strong focus on food culture, mealtimes, or the way the culinary experience spices up our daily lives.
Narrative Feature Film Audience Award
Presented to the filmmaker of the Festival audience’s choice of best non-documentary feature (60 min or more) of the entire Official Selection.
Short Film Audience Award
Presented to the filmmaker(s) of the Festival audience’s choice of best eligible short of any genre (30 min or less) of the entire Official Selection.
Rene Rodriguez Critics Award
Presented to the filmmaker of one feature film of any genre voted on by a select group of accredited film critics covering the annual Festival, for the film they consider the best of that year’s selection.
$1,000 CINEMASLAM (For Florida Film Students Only)
CinemaSlam is Miami Film Festival’s annual Florida film school competition. The purpose of CinemaSlam is to foster excellence in student filmmaking and expose students to the value of film festivals in connecting their work with public audiences and industry professionals. One $1,000 grand prize, along with other honors and recognitions, will be awarded to select Cinemaslam finalists during the 2023 Miami Film Festival, taking place from March 4-13, 2022. Please read the eligibility criteria carefully. Only eligible films will be considered and no refunds will be given for ineligible submissions.
NON-COMPETITION FEATURE CATAGORIES
This out-of-competition category highlights significant Narratives (60 min or more) from both masters and up-and-coming filmmakers from all around the world, including an international selection of dramas, comedies, suspense thrillers, and innovative docudramas.
1. For all Competition categories, World premiere must have occurred no earlier than January 1, 2022. For Non-Competition categories (Special Presentation), there is no specific regulation regarding the date of a film’s World premiere.
2. For feature films in all competition categories, the Festival will give programming preference to films that offer a World, International, North American or US premiere status and will require that any Miami Film Festival screening be at minimum a Florida Premiere. Short films, and out-of-competition films, do not have a minimum premiere requirement, but as with in-competition features, strong preference will be given to Florida premieres and higher.
3. Films that are in commercial circulation (theatrical, broadcast, commercial VOD or domestic airline entertainment system) in the USA prior to March 19, 2023 will not be eligible for the Festival.
4. The Festival’s Competition categories have different eligibility rules - the length, genre (narrative or documentary) and origin regulations can all change from category to category. For example, some categories accept films of any running time, while other categories may require a minimum running time of 60 minutes or a maximum running time of 30 minutes. For other examples, some categories accept both narrative and documentary films, while other categories are restricted to one or the other; some categories accept films from any country in the world, while others only accept films from the United States or specific counties in Florida. Please read each category description carefully before submitting. If you mistakenly submit to a category for which your film is not eligible, the Festival will not disqualify your entry, but our programmers will instead consider your submission for a category where it will be eligible.
5. Our Festival’s audience-voted awards are determined by the audience of each screening being invited to rate the film on a numeric scale on a paper ballot. The average of the audience’s scoring will be multiplied by the fractional audience participation in the voting process (that is, the number of people who choose to vote out of the total attendance at each screening) in order to come up with a final score. At the conclusion of the Festival, the film with the highest over-all score in each audience-voted category will win that category’s award. Should two top final scores be separated by less than 1/10 of a percentage point, a tie will be declared. Ratings and final scores are confidential and not published or shared.
6. Films selected for the Festival will be required to provide a DCP format file for In-Theater Exhibition.
7. The Cinemaslam category is only open to undergraduate and graduate Florida film students whose films meet the specific criteria listed in that section. It has a later deadline and lower submission cost than other categories. Do not submit your film to this category if it does not meet the eligibility requirements. Ineligible films will not be selected and the submission fee will not be refunded.