Today is a good day for independent film lovers living in the county of Dade. The Borscht Film Festival is back for another year, and it’s better than ever. Miami’s independent film festival, thrown by a group of ambitious twenty-somethings, celebrates emerging artists and filmmakers from Miami through free screenings and a bumping party.
The organizers of Borscht are building a small but strengthening film community in South Florida and people are starting to take notice. This year, funding from the Miami World Cinema Center and DWNTWN, the Downtown Development Authority, have allowed this homegrown fest to reach new heights. The festival will feature the screening of two and a half hours of well crafted films, including the “CCCV (305) Stories,” five movies commissioned by the festival, and other shorts filmed and financed by community members.
The entertainment industry likes to show off our pretty town to the world through television and film, but the Borscht festival allows Miamians to show the world that we aren’t just Hollywood’s eye candy, we have substance too. “We’re trying to break the trend of drive-by filmmakers; they come in, shoot and leave,” said Andrew Hevia, captain of production, “what we’re doing is making movies about Miami for Miami.”
The films represent different sides of our city, the diverse communities and stories. Day n Night Out, directed by festival planner Lucas Leyva, is the first screenplay written by New World alum and internationally produced playwright Tarell McCraney. The film takes place in Liberty City and Homestead and features the story of a 16-year old boy, one that reflects McCraney’s own complex childhood experience in South Florida. Directed by Miami native Peter Glanz, Velvet is a stylish and sophisticated, more polished than your average homemade film. Though it takes place in the Design District, it feels as if it were part of the French new wave or directed by Wes Anderson or Woody Allen.
Doors open at 7 p.m. in the lovely Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center, and best of all it’s free.