Christine DiMattei

Anchor/Reporter

Years ago, after racking her brains trying to find a fun, engaging, creative nighttime gig to subsidize her acting habit, Chris decided to ride her commercial voiceover experience into the fast-paced world of radio broadcasting. She started out with traffic reporting, moved on to news . . . and never looked back. Since then, Chris has worked in newsrooms throughout South Florida, producing stories for radio broadcasts and the web.

In her other life, she has been married to 12 husbands (including a not-so-wild boar and a garden slug), given birth to 15 children, died four times, twice taken vows as a nun and once been abducted by pirates in the Caribbean. And all this by doing English language dubbing for dozens of foreign films, soap operas and cartoons.  Both lives, she says, have been "a most excellent adventure."

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MIFF / Courtesy

  One hundred and twenty-five films from 40 countries.

That's what the 32nd Edition of the Miami International Film Festival is all about. And festival organizers made a significant change this year. Previously, short films under thirty minutes made in Florida that had already premiered in the state weren't eligible to exhibit during the festival. This year, they are.

During a recent Florida Roundup, host Christine DiMattei spoke with South Florida film critic Hans Morgenstern about some homegrown filmmakers already causing a stir in the festival circuit:

Beacon Films

Even if the name "Henry Stone" doesn't ring a bell, if you're a music lover, you can bet you know the hit records he's responsible for.  (Including Anita Ward's "Ring My Bell.")

Here's a partial list: Sam and Dave's "Hold On, I'm Comin' "; Bobby Caldwell's "What You Won't Do For Love"; K.C. and The Sunshine Band's "Get Down Tonight"; and international smash hit "Rock Your Baby" by George McRae, a 1974 tune that many believe paved the way for the disco craze that would soon take the world by storm.

“You think kids want to come with their parents, take foxtrot lessons? Trips to Europe, that’s what the kids want! Twenty-two countries in three days.  Feels like it’s all slipping away...”

So laments resort owner Max Kellerman, in the film “Dirty Dancing.”

kratomonline.org

Last year, debates over legalizing marijuana dominated Florida’s legislative session. But during the Legislative session 2015, a different substance could be taking center stage as a freshman state representative from Broward County takes on the feel-good herb called kratom.

Under a bill filed by Kristin Jacobs, kratom would become what’s known as a “Schedule 1” controlled substance. That puts it in the same category as bath salts and other street drugs that have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.

Broward Center for the Performing Arts

It looks like the greatest operatic hero in South Florida this season comes armed with a checkbook instead of a broadsword.

Weeks after the Florida Grand Opera announced that a funding shortfall might force the company to pull out of its Fort Lauderdale performance dates next season, FGO general director Susan Danis says an anonymous donor has stepped forward to help.

During President Obama's State of the Union address tonight, a young, undocumented "DREAMer" from South Florida will be in the guest seat next to Democratic Congresswoman Lois Frankel.

Charlene Rupert, 21, of Palm Springs came to the United States from Venezuela with her grandmother when she was 11-years-old. She says she didn’t realize she was an undocumented immigrant until she was 16.

whitehouse.gov

A South Florida sea-level rise researcher will have one of the best seats in the house for the President’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Nicole Hernandez Hammer of Boca Raton will be one of First Lady Michelle Obama’s invited guests.

Hernandez Hammer says her research shows that cities and regions most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and sea-level rise also have large Hispanic populations.

“Most people don’t know about our vulnerability. That was really eye-opening and encouraged me to go into advocacy,” she says.

John Walther / Miami Herald staff

Much has been written about the close bonds forged between Jews and African-Americans in Miami in the 1950s at the start of the civil rights movement.  But a more complex, conflicted side of that relationship has fired the imagination of local novelist Joan Lipinsky Cochran.  

UnitedOptOut.com

Across Florida, parents and teachers are pushing back against standardized testing in public schools. One way is simply “opting out” – or keeping their children from taking the test.

And now a national organization opposed to public education's reliance on standardized tests is bringing its message to Fort Lauderdale.

freedigitalphotos.net/stockimages

After last year’s legislative session, Florida failed to secure the tax incentive money it needed to lure more movie and television projects to the Sunshine State.

But things could change in 2015. And Palm Beach County lawmakers want to play a starring role in replenishing those funds.

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