Extending its status as a bellwether for the Oscars, Miami Dade College’s (MDC) renowned Miami Film Festival announced today its shortlist of International Feature Film submissions that will screen during its flagship ten-day fest, to be held from March 5-14, 2021. The 38th annual Festival will be a hybrid event, with both virtual and in-theater presentations.
This year’s Festival will present films from previous Academy Award winners and nominees, including Fernando Trueba, Agnieszka Holland and Majid Majidi as part of its list of 2021 Oscar contenders. El Olvido Que Seremos (Memories of My Father), Colombia’s submission, spotlights the real-life story of Dr. Héctor Abad Gómez, a medical doctor and human rights activist who worked to revolutionize access to health care in that country before his death in 1987. The film is directed by Oscar winner Trueba (Belle Époque), one of the most popular filmmakers in the history of Miami Film Festival, who won the Audience Award in 2001 and was given a major tribute for its 30th anniversary.
For his powerful performance in bringing a national hero to life, the 2021 Festival will present a Precious Gem Award to the star of El Olvido Que Seremos, actor Javier Cámara, prior to the film’s U.S. premiere. The Precious Gem Award is the Festival’s signature award honoring the most special stars of the art form, one-of-a-kind artists whose contributions to cinema are lasting and unforgettable. Cámara’s outstanding career accomplishments include a Goya Award for Living is Easy with Eyes Closed and numerous additional Goya-nominated and European Film Award-nominated performances, acclaimed performances in HBO’s The Young Pope and Netflix’s Narcos, and unforgettable creations in three films by Pedro Almodovar, Talk to Her, Bad Education and I’m So Excited.
In addition to Colombia, the 2021 Miami Film Festival will present six additional Best International Feature Film Oscar contenders from other countries including:
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Quo Vadis, Aida? is a stirring account of one of the most infamous genocides in modern history, as seen through the eyes of a United Nations translator, Aida (Jasna Djuricic), who shelters her family and community in a UN camp when the Bosnian Serbian army takes over their small town of Srebrenica in 1995. Written and directed by Jasmila Zbanic, the film has already earned top awards at the Jerusalem Film Festival, Les Arcs European Film Festival and others.
Czech Republic: Charlatan is a historical drama about the real-life Jan Mikolasek, a gifted natural health care practitioner whose unorthodox methods come under unwelcome scrutiny in the totalitarian 1950s. Directed by three-time Oscar nominee Agnieszka Holland from a screenplay by Marek Epstein, the film has garnered award nominations at the Berlin International Film Festival, European Film Awards and Camerimage.
Dominican Republic: A State of Madness (Mis 500 Locos) is set in 1953 during the dictatorship of Trujillo. The new director of a mental institution must calm the negative press following the escape of a group of patients. Directed by Leticia Tonos based on a book by Antonio Zaglul, and starring Jane Santos, Luis José Germán and Pavel Marcano.
Germany: And Tomorrow the Entire World follows Luisa (Malia Emde), a law student from an upper-class family, who joins an Antifa-style movement to oppose to the modern rise of the political right in Germany. A semi-autobiographical political drama written, produced and directed by Julia von Heinz, the film won the Silver Hugo for Best Ensemble at the Chicago International Film Festival and was nominated for a Golden Lion for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival.
Greece: Apples is a timely science fiction story about a worldwide pandemic that causes sudden, total and irrevocable amnesia. Middle-aged Aris finds himself enrolled in a recovery program designed to help unclaimed patients build new identities. Written, produced and directed by Christos Nikou, the film has won numerous international prizes, including the New Waves Award for Best Film at the Seville European Film Festival.
Iran: Sun Children spotlights 12-year-old Ali (Roohollah Zamani) and his three friends who work hard to survive and support their families before a miraculous turn of events finds Ali entrusted to find hidden treasure underground. Written, produced and directed by Majid Majidi, the drama has already chalked up six wins including Best Film at the Fajr Film Festival and the Marcello Mastroianni Award at the Venice Film Festival.
Variety will continue its multi-year partnership with the Miami Film Festival through Variety’s 93rd Academy Awards International Feature Shortlist Roundtable. The virtual panel will feature the director, writer or producer of the Oscars shortlisted International Feature Films and be moderated by Variety’s Film Awards Editor Clayton Davis. The Roundtable will be hosted by Variety’s Streaming Room on Friday, March 5, the Festival’s opening day and the first day of Oscar nomination voting. The event is free to attend, with registration required for access.
“We are honored to present these powerful films from seven countries around the world that are contending for the 2021 Academy Awards,” said Miami Film Festival Executive Director Jaie Laplante. “They join contenders that were laureled at our 2020 edition and season, including our Knight MARIMBAS Award winner La Llorona from Guatemala, as well as Argentina’s The Sleepwalkers, Chile’s The Mole Agent, Ivory Coast’s Night of the Kings, Uruguay’s Aleli and Venezuela’s Once Upon a Time in Venezuela.”
For more information on the festival, visit miamifilmfestival.com.
Image credit: Alberto Tamargo