MIAMI -- The 17th Miami Film Festival, a leading annual cultural
event here, will take place from Feb. 18 to 27. The festival is
expected to attract more than 35,000 filmgoers to the 1,700-seat
Gusman Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami.
This year's event will feature a total of 26 films from 12
countries, including five U.S. premieres and six Oscar entries.
The festival will debut with the U.S. premier of "Bossa Nova,"
the new romantic comedy from Bruno Barreto, starring Amy Irving.
Barreto's previous film, "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands," won
major critical acclaim.
This year's festival host hotel is the Sheraton Biscayne Bay,
which will house many of the directors, actors and others in the
international film industry who will participate in the event.
Held yearly in February, at the peak of the winter tourism
season here, the festival this year faces a particularly tight
housing situation for visiting cinema enthusiasts, organizers
That is because the festival coincides with the the Miami
International Boat Show, which takes place from Feb. 17 to 22.
However, last-minute room availability is being promised by the
Miami Beach-based Florida Hotel Network, a member of the Greater
Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"It's the busiest time of the year," said network vice president
Bob Guilmartin, "but we have blocks of rooms everywhere."
He said the Florida Hotel Network pays agents a 5% commission
and maintains a travel agent desk. The network can be reached at
(800) 538-3616 or at its Web site, www.floridahotels.com.
Following the opening night premier of "Bossa Nova" on Feb. 18,
another U.S. premier is featured Feb. 25 as the Festival
Centerpiece: "Captain Pantoja and the Special Service (Pantaleon y
las Visitadoras)." The film, by director Francisco Lombardi, is an
adaptation of a novel by Mario Vargas Llosa.
The closing night attraction on Feb. 27 is "East-West," France's
entry to the Academy Awards, directed by Oscar winner Regis
France also has the distinction this year of furnishing the most
films of any country: seven. Spain follows with five. There are two
each from Denmark, Brazil, Italy and the U.S. Cuba, Japan, Peru,
South Korea, the U.K. and Bhutan contributed one film each.
Tickets are priced at $8 for each film for Miami Film Society
members, $10 for nonmembers. Special opening- and closing-night
film tickets are $25.
Tickets are available through TicketMaster, with an additional
service charge, by calling (305) 358-5885. Tickets can also be
reserved through the Gusman box office Mondays through Fridays
between noon and 5 p.m., by calling (305) 372-0925.