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Sunday, February 13, 2005


The Miami International Film Festival (MIFF) wrapped up on Saturday nite with the dramatic award going to British filmmaker Amma Asante's A WAY OF LIFE taking the top jury prize and Scott Dalton and Margarita Martinez's Columbian LA SIERRA taking home the top documentary film prize. The festival opened on February 4th and followed on with a tribune and lifetime achievement award for Norwegian actress Liv Ullman.

Documentary winner LA SIERRA goes behind the scenes in an ongoing Columbian civil war between right-wing paramilitary groups and left-wing guerillas, where children are used for nihilistic combat in yet another turn of violent despair in increasing world conflict.

MIFF opened with Mick Davis' MODIGLIANI a film portrait of 20th century painter Amedeo Modigliani played by Andy Garcia and closed with Spanish filmmaker Joaquin Oristrell's INCONSCIENTES. Oristrell is seen as a protege of Spain's gasconade and unique auteur Pedro Almodóvar.

Spike Lee's SUCKER FREE CITY also made an premiere appearance and is described as a "riveting look at the seductive, dangerous world of San Francisco's street gang culture, where young kids from all backgrounds engage in daily clashes." The highly touted documentary film sure to gain wider release, GUNNER PALACE by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein takes a personal look at human survival by Ameircan soldiers occupying Iraq through individual stories also unreeled.

Special jury prizes were award to Brazilian filmmaker Marcos Prado for cinematography in the film ESTAMIRA and to Keith A. Beauchamp for THE UNTOLD STORY OF EMMETT LOUIS TILL for film effecting social change. Beauchamp's film help cause the unsolved famed civil rights murder case of Emmett Till to be reopened in Mississippi.

Asante's winning dramatic film set in South Wales won the British BAFTA (UK Oscar) the same night in London for best first feature.

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