The Miami International Film Festival began in 1983 when Nora Swan, commissioner of film for the city of Miami, asked help from Dr. Steven Bowles, head of the film department at the University of Miami, and Nat Chediak, a Cuban exile active in the world of film with many international contracts and owner of the Cinemateque and the Arcadia art theaters. Chediak took over the film selection with the aid of Jerry Winters and Hank Kaufman. Together, they identified international films for consideration. Ms. Swan then put together an executive board and volunteered to manage the festival.
The festival, known as the premier Ibero-American film festival in the United States, has succeeded in presenting for 36 years the works of Martin Scorcese, Pedro Almodóvar. Fernando Trueba, and others. The festival introduced many films, such as Academy Award nominee Gatica-el Mono, as well as Bitter Sugar, Rafters/Balseros, El Benny, Mambo Kings, For Love or Country.and others.
The Miami International Film Festival (now Miami Film Festival) is now produced and directed by Miami-Dade College, attracting more than 70,000 film enthusiasts and 400 filmmakers and stars. The legacy of Cuba’s influence on the world of film endures.
MIAMI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL by Eloy Cepero and Sonia Frías
Excerpt from the book Cubans: An Epic Journey, the Struggle of Exiles for Truth and Freedom p. 415-416 published by Facts About Cuban Exiles by Sam Verdeja and Guillermo Martínez. English and Spanish editions are available in hard and paper back at amazon.com.