Jason Reitman's 'Tully' to Open Miami Film Festival

'Tully'

The festival, marking its 35th edition, will bestow its Icon Award on French actress and recent Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert ('Elle').

Following his film's sneak preview at the Sundance Film Festival in January, Jason Reitman will premiere Tully, his newest collaboration with Charlize Theron and screenwriter Diablo Cody, as the opening night selection of the Miami Film Festival.

The festival, celebrating its 35th edition, kicks off March 9 and runs through March 18.

“Charlize Theron’s fearless performance as a struggling suburban mother on the brink of losing mental control is made possible by another brilliant collaboration by the creators of Juno and Young Adult,” said Festival director Jaie Laplante. “Tully is both a parable and a salve for our stressed-out times — it reminds us all of who we are, and there is no more beautiful way to open our 35th edition than with this film.”

The festival will bestow its Precious Gem – Icon Award on French actress Isabelle Huppert, a recent Oscar nominee for Elle and the most-nominated actress in Cesar Award history with a total of 16 nominations from France’s Academy and a two-time winner. Over a career during which she has worked with some of the greatest directors of contemporary times, Huppert has twice won the best actress award at the Cannes Film Festival. She will be honored March 16.

“Isabelle Huppert has made profound contributions to cinema over the course of her illustrious career,” Laplante added. “With her recent performances in Things to Come and Elle, as well as Souvenir and Claire’s Camera, both of which we will be screening in conjunction with her festival appearance, Ms. Huppert reaches ever-new pinnacles that continually astonish us and add to her iconic status.”

The Festival will give its Precious Gem – Master Award to Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura to coincide with a new documentary about the auteur’s career and family life, Felix Viscarret’s Goya-lauded Saura(s) on March 11.

“Carlos Saura returns to Miami after receiving the festival’s Career Achievement Tribute Award at our 20th edition in 2003,” said Laplante. “At that time, he was 71. Now, he’s 86 and has made eight more brilliant films since his last visit to Miami — but with Saura(s), we see him in a new light, as both a filmmaker and a family-maker. He is a peerless master, and we celebrate the life that continues to nourish his art.”

An opening night gala dinner at East in Miami will follow, along with a simultaneous opening-night party at Miami Design District’s new Jungle Plaza.

In all, the Festival will present 148 feature narratives, documentaries and short films of all genres, from 50 countries, including three countries being represented in the festival’s official selection for the first time: Benin, Georgia and Swaziland. With the festival's emphasis on female-driven fare, 38 of the films are directed or co-directed by women. The festival will wrap up with an awards night gala screening of Curro Velazquez’s Spanish comedy hit Holy Goalie (Que baje Dios y lo vea), with star Alain Hernandez in attendance.

Oscar-winning filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) and renowned American screenwriter and director Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, Affliction) will attend the festival for Marquee presentations of their newest films. Hazanavicius will present Godard Mon Amour, his seriocomic look at Jean-Luc Godard’s love affair with the actress Anne Wiazemsky during the shooting of his classic films La Chinoise and Weekend. Schrader will present First Reformed, a dramatic thriller starring Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried and Cedric the Entertainer. They join previously announced participants Mateo Gil and Jean-Marc Barr in the Marquee section.

The Festival’s specialty programmers are Carl Spence, Thom Powers, Kiva Reardon, Lauren Cohen and Diana Cadavid.

Ten finalists were selected for the festival’s signature $40,000 Knight Competition, open to feature films directed by filmmakers who have presented at least one feature in a previous edition of the festival, sponsored by the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation. The finalists are:

Another Story of the World (Uruguay, directed by Guillermo Casanova)

April’s Daughter (Mexico, directed by Michel Franco)

In Love & in Hate (Argentina, directed by Alejandro Maci) *CINEDWNTWN GALA

The Laws of Thermodynamics (Spain, directed by Mateo Gil) *WORLD PREMIERE

My Love or My Passion (Argentina, directed by Marcos Carnevale) *CINEDWNTWN GALA

Sergio and Sergei (Cuba/Spain, directed by Ernesto Daranas)

A Sort of Family (Argentina, directed by Diego Lerman)

The Summit (Argentina/Spain, directed by Santiago Mitre) *CINEDWNTWN GALA

Time Share (Mexico, directed by Sebastian Hofmann)

The Warning (Spain, directed by Daniel Calparsoro)

Eleven finalists were selected for the festival’s inaugural $10,000 Knight Made in MIA Competition, sponsored by Knight Foundation, which is open to any film — short or feature, documentary or narrative — screening in the official selection that features a qualitatively/quantitatively substantial portion of its content in South Florida. The new award was inspired by the international success and 2017 best picture Oscar winner Moonlight, directed by former Miami resident Barry Jenkins. The finalists are:

#THECONNECTEDMAN, directed by Fabian Cardenas.

Ayita’s Dream, directed by Isis Masoud, Roger Ingraham

Fight Like a Girl, directed by Agustin Gonzalez, Nicole Wulf

Gladesmen: The Last of the Sawgrass Cowboys, directed by David Abel

Latinegras: The Journey of Self-Love Through an Afrolatina Lens, directed by Omilani Alarcon *WORLD PREMIERE

Love in Youth, directed by Quincy Perkins *WORLD PREMIERE

Make Love Great Again, directed by Aaron Agrasanchez.

Noa, directed by Angel Barrota *WORLD PREMIERE

Operation Odessa, directed by Tiller Russell

Roadside Attraction, directed by Ivette Lucas, Patrick Bresnan

Supermarket, directed by Rhonda Mitrani *WORLD PREMIERE

A complete festival lineup can be found at www.miamifilmfestival.com.