Miami Film Festival Opening Night Red Carpet sizzled with film stars and celebrities By Betty Alvarez

The Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), produced and presented by Miami Dade College (MDC), began with its Opening Night Gala, the World Premiere of Tom Gustafson’s musical tour-de-force Mariachi Gringo. The drama stars Shawn Ashmore (“Iceman” in X-Men) as a young man from Kansas who falls in love with the mariachi lifestyle, and travels to Guadalajara to prove that anything is possible. Ashmore and co-stars Mexican star Martha Higareda and recording artist singer Lila Downs, performed a song prior to the premiere.

Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), celebrating its 29th edition on March 2-11, 2012, is considered the preeminent Ibero-American film festival in the U.S. The annual Festival, produced and presented by Miami Dade College, attracts more than 70,000 audience members and more than 400 filmmakers, producers, talent and industry professionals. It is the only major festival housed within a college or university. In the last five years, the Festival has screened films from more than 60 countries, including 300 World, International, North American, U.S. and East Coast Premieres. MIFF’s special focus on Ibero-American cinema have made the Miami International Film Festival a natural gateway for the discovery of Ibero-American talent. Additionally, the Festival offers unparalleled educational opportunities to filmmakers and the community at large. For more, visit miamifilmfestival.com or call 305-237-MIFF (3456). Major sponsors of the 2012 Miami International Film Festival include: Lexus, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Miami Beach Visitors & Convention Authority, FPL, EGEDA, Downtown Development Authority of the City of Miami, Comcast, Miami New Times, The Historic Alfred I. Dupont Building, ABC Management Services, Screen International and the City of Miami Beach. The official headquarter hotel of MIFF 2012 is The Standard Spa, Miami; and the Festival is produced with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.

Miami Dade College has a long and rich history of involvement in the cultural arts, providing South Florida with a vast array of artistic and literary offerings including The Miami Book Fair International, the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, the MDC Live! Performing Arts Series, The MDC Tower Theater Cinema Series, nine visual arts galleries including The Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College and the School of Entertainment and Design Technology, in addition to the renowned Miami International Film Festival. MDC is the largest institution of higher education in the country and is nationally recognized for many of its academic and cultural programs. With an enrollment of more than 174,000 students, MDC is the nation’s top producer of degrees. The college’s eight campuses and outreach centers offer nearly 300 distinct degree programs including several baccalaureate degrees. It has admitted nearly 2 million students since it opened its doors in 1960. More at mdc.edu.

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