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Miami Film Festival Awards ‘Birds of Passage’ Top Prize

Birds of Passage,” Cristina Gallego’s and Ciro Guerra’s sprawling epic film tracing the origins of the Colombian drug trade, took home the $40,000 Knight Marimbas Award (the top grand jury prize) Saturday night at Miami Dade College’s 36th annual Miami Film Festival.

The south Florida gathering celebrated cinema with an eclectic and diverse slate of films, including “Screwball,” Billy Corben’s documentary about a Major League Baseball scandal. Produced by the Miami-based production company Rakontur, “Screwball” won the fest’s audience award for best feature.

The $40,000 Knight Made in MIA Award for films taking place and shot in south Florida from West Palm to the Keys, went to two films: $30,000 to “Pahokee,” directed by Ivette Lucas and Patrick Bresnan, which won best feature, and $5,000 each to Faren Humes’ “Liberty” and Jayme Gershen’s “Six Degrees of Immigration,” which tied for best short.

Other honors included the $5,000 HBO Ibero-American Short Film Award, which went to Brian Robau’s Pedro Pan drama “This Is Your Cuba,” and the $5,000 Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Family Foundation CinemaSlam Competition 2019 award, which went to Xiao Che’s “Happy to be Nappy.” “Chess” by Alejandro Gonzalez Valdes won best screenplay, in addition to being crowned Miami CinemaSlam Champion.

Additional awards were presented to “The Skin of Yesterday” by Andrew Garcia (Miami Dade College), Mariana Serrano’s “Escapé” (New World School of the Arts) and “The Chase” by Chantal Gabriel (University of Miami).

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