A festival report - Miami edition
When the notification came, that the film MY LAST REPECTS was going to be screened at the Miami Short Film Festival, I was overjoyed. I had almost given up hope that it would ever be screened, after so many festival submissions in Germany and the US. And now it should finally get his premiere!
MY LAST RESPECTS is an experimental film based on true events that happened to me personally. A phone call in one take, where a friend tells bit by bit that his pregnant fiancé has recently died of cancer. The film came from the bottom of my heart, so it was out of the question for me to go to Miami to present it to the audience. Only the cost was an issue for my student budget. I am so thankful that German Films was able to sponsor a part of the trip. So I decided to fly to Miami for two days – that was all the time I could make between my classes at UCLA Extension.
At the festival, I was welcomed warmly with a goodie bag. Per team, you could get up to two badges that give you access to all film screenings, which I thought was very generous. But in my case, it did not matter much, because I could only make it to our screening block. The festival ran one week in total, 2 film blocks every night, but unfortunately in two separate theaters that weren’t close to each other. At the screening of MY LAST RESPECTS in the block called ‘A simple twist of fate’, festival founder William Vela was present and moderated the filmmaker Q&A afterwards. Apart from me, there were two more filmmakers presenting their film and the theater was nearly full. The audience was very touched by the film and very interested in the Q&A, which made the evening very enjoyable and worth the travel.
It was interesting to meet and get to know the other filmmakers at the screening, but there was no larger event except for the awards ceremony the next evening, when I unfortunately had to be on my plane back to LA already. After the screening, I was interviewed by a social media representative of the festival about the film, which is supposed to be published on Facebook after the festival. I thought this was a great idea, because I am also very present in social media and like to share content like that.
The assistance to the filmmakers on behalf of the festival was nothing short of excellent and at the end of the day, the organizing team invited us to a casual dinner together. It was very nice to get an insight into the organization of the festival and get to know the makers behind it. All in all, it was a great conclusion to this exciting day.
My second day in Miami, Saturday, I kept for myself, because it was impossible to make the evening screening and fly home the same day. But I still booked my return as late as possible, so I could go and explore Miami a little bit. Instead of going to Miami Beach like a tourist and baking in the humid and somewhat uncomfortable heat, I chose to explore the area by the festival, Coconut Grove. You could say it is a historical core of the city, with the ‘Barnacle Park’ nearby, an exhibition around the oldest house in Miami and a reserved piece of wilderness. From there, you could walk all the way to the water and marvel at the bay, which was more enjoyable for me than going to a beach.
All in all it was definitely worth the trip and I heard the festival is continuing to improve its service for filmmakers for their 15th anniversary next year!
Photo Credit: Junette Reyes