The Miami International Film Festival started last week on March 1, bringing scads of film and megawatts of international star power. And while it may be the biggest celebration of film this month in town, it's not the only one. The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) has, for the second time, dubbed March Miami Film Month in an effort to promote the city's art cinemas. (And, presumably, the fact that there are now more than, oh, two.) Throughout March, most screenings at the participating theaters are just $6.
Beyond that, though, the month is also meant to draw attention to the city's other film festivals throughout the year. And according to the GMCVB, there are at least 18 of them, including MIFF, in Miami-Dade proper. They range from the well-known among the city's culture buffs -- the Miami Jewish Film Festival, the American Black Film Festival -- to the more specialized. Here's the scoop on seven film festivals in the city to which Miami Film Month hopes to bring some extra shine.
FIU Media Arts Festival
This marks the first year of this one-day festival devoted to "new visual media" -- that means not just "short films," proper, but also digital art, video, and other unclassifiable forms. Though it's sponsored by FIU, the general public is invited to submit works, too, and the suggested theme for the inaugural event is "Only in Miami."
Date: March 26, 2013
Italian Film Festival
Appropriately (depending on your historical view), this nearly 11-year-old event takes place every year over Columbus day weekend. As the name implies, this is all Italian film, all the time, across genres from short films to documentaries to narrative feature films.
Dates: Annually in October, with monthly events throughout the year
Sicilian Film Festival
Interestingly, this festival focusing specifically on Sicily is the only one of its kind in the world so far. That is, there's no Sicilian film festival in Sicily itself, just Miami. A large part of the purported mission, according to the festival's organizers, is to change the cultural reputation of Sicilians and Sicilian-Americans who "are tired of the unjust association of their name with the Mafia." Last year's edition spanned seven days in April, but 2013 dates have yet to be announced.
Miami Environmental Film Festival
This festival presented its inaugural event in October 2012, with a slate of programming focused entirely on environmental documentaries. Last year's programming touched on subjects across that spectrum, examining everything from the carbon industry, to organic labeling, to deep-sea wildlife. Dates for this year are still to be determined.
Dates: Possibly annually in October
Miami Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
Similar in scope to the environmental film festival, this one focuses entirely on environmental documentaries, but with a particular animal-centric slate. Appropriately, events take place on both Miami Beach and Virginia Key, the latter a site for ongoing wildlife conservation projects.
Dates: April 18 to 22, 2013
Nearly anything goes at this annual, one-day film festival mounted by the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami. This is all about short films and experimentation, with creations ranging from seconds to a few minutes, in almost any genre. The program is fast, furious, and often funny.
Dates: Annually in September
Miami Short Film Festival
The only hard and fast criterion for this one? Each film has to clock in under 20 minutes, and submissions are welcome in any genre, from around the world.
Dates: November 8 to 15, 2013