While Jasmila Žbanić’s film, ‘Quo Vadis, Aida?’ won the top prize at this year’s 38th Miami Film Festival, there were a number of films debuting that are worth mentioning. In its 38th year, this has long ago become one of the gems of Miami Dade County. Hosted by the Miami Film Society at Miami Dade College, the many films were easily as diverse as the Miami culture and college itself. It was truly an international film festival in every sense of the word.

For example, ‘Quo Vadis, Aida?’ was a movie about the 1995 genocide in a town called Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It has also been recognized by other film societies– including the Oscars.

The great thing about film festivals is you don’t have to win to get recognized. The “juries” who vote on the winners are made up of only a few people, so, with all due respect, they can’t possibly represent the general population of moviegoers. For those of you who like independent films made by independent filmmakers with their own production companies, there were dozens of good films showcased here.

The long-awaited Guatemalan feature film ‘1991’, directed by Sergio Ramirez, was another one of several films gaining recognition. It captured a genocide of Guatmalan youth spanning the 1980s & 1990s– hence the title.

I have to also mention the ‘Ludi’ film showcased opening night. This film competed for the Knights Made in MIA Award — a category for feature films that feature a substantial portion of its content in South Florida. It also competed for the Jordan Ressler First Feature Award. 

Directed by IFP Narrative Labs alum Edson Jean, ‘Ludi’ tells the story of Ludi Alcidor, a hardworking Haitian immigrant nursing assistant who scours MIami’s private care-taking world to send money to her family in Haiti. I pray for much success for Jean in the film industry.      

This year, due to the pandemic, the film festival featured a hybrid format with physical theater and online screenings. The festival was a tremendous success. I’m sure it will be a tremendous inspiration for film school students who maybe working on their first indie film and maybe dreaming of box office success. Congratulations to this year’s winners, and I look forward to next year’s nominees.


‘Quo Vadis, Aida?’ Wins Top Prize at Miami Film Festival. Variety. Accessed: 3/16/2021.

‘Quo Vadis, Aida?’ Takes Top Jury Prize at Miami Film Festival. Hollywood Reporter. Accessed: 3/16/2021.

Sandoval, Sandy. Película guatemalteca “1991” debuta en el Miami Film Festival. Emisoras Unidas. Accessed: 3/16/2021.

FILMMAKER JEAN EMERGING AT 38TH MIAMI FILM FESTIVAL. South Florida Times. Accessed: 3/16/2021.

Ludi (Opening Night Film). Miami Film Festival 2021. Accessed: 3/16/2021.


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