Student Andrew Garcia won several awards at the Miami Film Festival for his short film Hollow Bodies last year. This year he returns to the festival as a juror.
After winning multiple awards at Miami Film Festival last year for my short Hollow Bodies, I was asked once again to be part of the festival, but this time as jury for one of the events. Being on the jury made me realize how much responsibility we hold in presenting an example for excellence. The biggest challenge was weighing the film’s budget, tone, and social stances altogether to choose the winners.
For example, watching a twenty-minute epic Revenant-esque film with tens of thousands of dollars in budget compared to a heartwarming local story with no budget dealing with strong relevant social issues is a nearly impossible discussion of placement. Yet, there must always be a winner.
Ultimately, we decided on the heartwarming local film, Ballet Bus, a documentary about two young boys selected for a ballet program that assists and offers youth in lower income neighborhoods classes at Miami City Ballet. The film speaks volumes about identity and masculinity, as well as what it truly means to be “strong”.
We knew that this small film would definitely shock the crowd as they would inevitably draw parallels at multiple levels to this year’s Best Picture, Moonlight.
Overall, being a judge for the Miami Film Festival provided a vantage point that was exciting and educational. The decisions made on set are arguably just as difficult as the ones made in choosing winners and losers.