Kyle Patrick Alvarez, Trey Edward Shults, Selton Mello & Argentina’s “Best Director 2015” Headline Jury List for Miami Dade College’s Acclaimed Miami International Film Festival 33rd Edition

Competition Categories include Knight Competition, Lexus Ibero-American Feature Film Competition, Jordan Alexander Ressler Screenwriting Award and Cinemaslam


Miami, FL — The 33rd edition of Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival scheduled for March 4 – 13, 2016, announced today the jury members of four competition categories including Knight Competition, Lexus Ibero-American Feature Film Competition, Jordan Alexander Ressler Screenwriting Award and Cinemaslam.

For the Festival’s signature Knight Competition, presented by The John S. & James L. Knight Foundation, the members of the jury will be:

  • Kyle Patrick Alvarez, writer and director. A native of Miami, Alvarez won the “Someone to Watch Award” at the Independent Spirit Awards in 2010 for his debut feature Easier with Practice. In 2015, The Stanford Prison Experiment, his third feature film, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival where it won the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.
  • Selton Mello, actor and filmmaker. As an actor, Mello has appeared in such Festival selections as Jean Charles (09) and Trash (15). Bananeira Filmes produced his first feature film, the award-winning December (08) and later The Clown (11), which received more than 50 awards in international festivals and was selected as Brazil’s official submission to the Academy Awards. His third film, A Movie Life, starring Vincent Cassel, is in post-production and will be workshopped at MIAMI ENCUENTROS at this year’s Festival.
  • Trey Edward Shults, writer and director. Shults began his filmmaking career at 19, working on Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. He transformed his 2014 short film “Krisha” into the feature film, Krisha, won both the Audience Award and Grand Jury Award at SXSW, played at Miami International Film Festival’s GEMS, and will be released in theaters by A24 Films this spring. Shults also worked on Malick’s Voyage of Time.

This year’s Knight Competition includes 28 feature films from around the world, directed by filmmakers who have directed at least one previous Official Selection (feature) of the Festival, competing for achievement awards totaling $40,000 in cash, courtesy of Knight Foundation.

For the Festival’s Lexus Ibero-American Feature Film Competition, the members of the jury include:

  • Carlos Lechuga, director. Lechuga is from Havana, Cuba and trained as a director at the University of Arts in Cuba and at the International School of Film and Television in San Antonio de los Baños. His first feature, Melaza (13) premiered at the Rotterdam International Film Festival and was screened in competition at Miami International Film Festival.  His next project as writer-producer-director, Santa and Andrés, is currently in postproduction.
  • Leticia Tonos Paniagua, director. Paniagua directed several short films before becoming the first Dominican woman to solo direct a feature film with her debut film, Love Child (11). Her second film Cristo Rey (13) was an Official Selection of the Festival. Both of her films were chosen as Dominican Republic’s official submissions to the Academy Awards.
  • Kenny Riches, artist and filmmaker. Riches’ first feature film,Must Come Down (12), played at numerous film festivals, and his second, The Strongest Man (15), was screened at the Festival after world premiering at Sundance. Riches’ short film on artist Cara Despain is screening at this year’s Festival as part of the I’ve Never Not Been From Miami He is currently working on his third feature.

This year’s Lexus Ibero-American Feature Film Competition includes 35 feature films, representing all Ibero-American films in the Festival’s Official Selection, competing for an Achievement Award of $10,000, courtesy of Lexus.

For the Festival’s Jordan Alexander Ressler Foundation Screenwriting Prize (which was last year awarded to current Oscar nominee Theeb from Jordan), the jurors are:

  • Rosa Bosch, producer. Bosch’s producing credits include The Devil’s Backbone by Guillermo Del Toro, Buena Vista Social Club by Wim Wenders, Lost in La Mancha by Keith Fulton and Louise Pepe, London – The Modern Babylon by Julien Temple and White Lies by Dana Rotberg. Rosa has been a frequent tutor at EAVE, Media Business School, Sundance Mexico workshops and is currently a member of the European Film Academy and BAFTA. She runs Havana-based production company Cuban Star.
  • Jorge Guerricaechevarria, screenwriter. Guerricaechevarría is one of Spain’s most renowned screenwriters, working frequently with director Álex De la Iglesia, including co-writing the Festival’s opening night selection this year, My Big Night (15).  His writing credits include collaborating with Pedro Almodóvar on the script for Live Flesh (97), and he has been nominated 6 times for Goya Awards. He won the Goya in 2010 for his script with Daniel Monzón, Cell 211 (09). He is a member of the European Film Academy and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). His latest film, Daniel Calparsoro’s Cien años de perdón (16), is also an official selection at this year’s Festival.
  • Diego Lerman, director. Lerman won Best Director at the 2015 Argentina Academy Awards for his fourth feature, Refugiado, which is screening at this year’s Festival. Refugiado won 3 other Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. Lerman’s directorial credits include his feature debut Suddenly (02), Mientras tanto (06), and The Invisible Eye (10), which screened at the Festival. He produced Ana Katz’s My Friend From The Park (15), also screening at the Festival this year, and is the winner of the $12,500 grand prize of the Miami Film 2016 development grant from the Festival and The Related Group for his upcoming production of A Sort of Family (Una especie de familia).

Eleven screenplays are eligible for this year’s Jordan Alexander Ressler Screenwriting Prize, representing screenwriters from all feature films in the Festival that have a first-produced feature screenwriter, competing for an Achievement Award of $5,000, courtesy of the family of the late Jordan Alexander Ressler.

In all three of the above competition categories, a shortlist of finalists were chosen through a preliminary adjudication process by a selection committee of industry professionals. The Knight Competition committee consisted of Spanish producer Jessica Berman (The Dancer and the Thief; Madrid, 1987), Miami filmmaker Nicolas Calzada, and Miami Beach Cinematheque founder and programmer Dana Keith.  The Lexus Ibero-American Feature Film Competition committee consisted of International Film Festival of Panama director of programming Diana Cadavid, TIFF programming associate and HotDocs industry programmer Kiva Reardon, and Toronto film critic and playwrite Jose Teodoro. The Jordan Alexander Ressler Screenwriting Prize committee consisted of Emmy and Goya nominated filmmaker and producer Stan Jakubowicz (The German Doctor), Miami-based writer and filmmaker Jason Fitzroy Jeffers (“Papa Machete”), and Miami Dade College chair of Film, Television and Digital Production, Matt Wohl.

The Festival’s CinemaSlam competition aims to discover, showcase, and celebrate the work of undergraduate and graduate students in Miami/South Florida film schools. Open to any student enrolled in a participating South Florida college/university upon the completion date of the film. In this edition, students from the following colleges from Miami /South Florida have submitted their shorts: Florida International University, Miami Dade College, University of Miami, Miami International University of Art and Design New World School of the Arts (University of Florida) and the Center of Cinematography, Arts and Television. The members of the jury include:

  • Carla Forte, performer, scriptwriter, film director and, Founder and Executive Director, Bistoury Physical Theatre and Film. Forte has directed Video-Art works featured at venues worldwide. Her cinematographic work includes the documentary The Holders, which World Premiered at the 2015 Festival, Short films “Imaginarium” and “Reset”, selected for Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner; as well as the feature film Urban Stories, Winner of Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Feature Film at Bootleg Film Festival in Toronto; and Honorable Mention at both Los Angeles Movies Awards and Lucerne International Film Festival, Switzerland.
  • Giancarlo Loffredo, filmmaker, Loffredo signifies what making movies in Miami, FL should stand for. From making home based viral music videos for tons of artists in Miami Dade at a young age, to producing world renowned short films for Borscht Corp. such as “C#ckfight”, and MTV other’s “No Seasons”, he now brings forward his directional debut short film “Stripper Wars” featured at this year’s Festival.
  • Alouishous San Gomma, artist, Ahol, whose raw yet instantly recognizable street murals evaporate the divide between high and low art, often jumbles disparate themes from mass media, popular culture and marginalized pockets of society. He often draws inspiration from the urban environment and systems of society which dehumanize its inhabitants. Ahol’s deceptively simple, yet complex renderings both portray the veneer of our everyday surroundings and the dull, job-related conflicts often encountered in a dysfunctional workplace. The South Florida native is best known for his soaring urban murals depicting expansive fields of drowsy eyes, reflecting his unique vision of life, labor and unrequited love of the mean streets of Miami. He is the subject of a short film directed by Swampdog, screening at this year’s Festival as part of the I’ve Never Not Been From Miami

Winners in all categories will be announced at the Festival’s Awards Night ceremony on Saturday, March 12th at the Olympia Theater, part of the CINEDWNTWN program presented by Miami Downtown Development Authority.  The Festival’s closing night selection, the US premiere of Andrew Currie’s The Steps, will screen after the ceremony.

For tickets, membership opportunities or more information about Miami International Film Festival, please visit or call 305-237-FILM (3456).

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About Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival

Celebrating its 33rd annual edition March 4 – 13, 2016, Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival is considered the preeminent film festival for showcasing Ibero-American cinema in the U.S., and a major launch pad for all international and documentary cinema. The annual Festival more than 60,000 audience members and more than 400 filmmakers, producers, talent and industry professionals. It is the only major festival housed within a college or university. In the last five years, the Festival has screened films from more than 60 countries, including 300 World, International, North American, U.S. and East Coast Premieres. Miami International Film Festival’s special focus on Ibero-American cinema has made the Festival a natural gateway for the discovery of new talent from this diverse territory. The Festival also offers unparalleled educational opportunities to film students and the community at large. Major sponsors of the 2016 Festival include Knight Foundation, Lexus and Miami-Dade County. For more information, visit or call 305-237-FILM(3456).

About Culture at Miami Dade College

The Cultural Affairs Department of Miami Dade College (MDC) is composed of the Miami Book Fair, Miami International Film Festival, Tower Theater, Koubek Center, Freedom Tower, MDC Live Arts and MDC Galleries and Museum of Art + Design. MDC is committed to providing its community with the opportunity to come in contact with innovative thinkers, creators and tradition bearers from around the world. With each presentation, MDC offers a bridge between cultures and ideas, creating new opportunities for the increasingly diverse population of Miami to come together through shared live arts experiences. For more information, visit

About John S. & James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit

About Lexus

Lexus launched in 1989 with two luxury sedans and a commitment to pursue perfection. Since that time, Lexus has expanded its line-up to meet the needs of global luxury customers. Lexus is now going beyond its reputation for high quality vehicles with the integration of innovative technology, emotional exterior and interior designs, and engaging driving dynamics and performance. With six models incorporating Lexus Hybrid Drive, Lexus is the luxury hybrid leader. Lexus also offers seven F SPORT models and two F performance models. In the United States, Lexus vehicles are sold through 236 dealers who are committed to exemplary customer service.

Miami International Film Festival Contacts:


Adam Kersh, Brigade | +1 917-551-5853 |
Nathaniel Baruch, Brigade  | +1 917-551-5853 |


Jessica Wade Pfeffer, Jessica Wade Inc. | +1 305-804-8424 |
Margie Sernik, Jessica Wade Inc. | +1 305-456-0483 |