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What to see at the Miami Short Film Festival 2017

Miami Short Film Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Miami Short Film Festival

More than 1,000 short films from 20 countries around the world were narrowed down to 87 for the 16th edition of the Miami Short Film Festival. It’s a process that takes executive director and festival founder William Vela nearly eight months to complete (“I want to pick the best,” he says).

This year, organizers are inviting the public to participate in the festival’s launch. For the first time, Miami Short Film Festival’s opening night takes place at New World Center’s SoundScape Park, where 13 short films will screen for free outdoors on November 6 at 8pm. “Our kickoff event sets the tone for the rest of the week but it won’t be anything too deep,” says Vela, suggesting a lineup of lighthearted shorts. The 2017 installment also marks the first year MSFF pays tribute to film from a specific country: Iran. “One of my favorite directors, Abbas Kiarostami, was Iranian and a huge influence on me as a filmmaker and director,” he says.

Here, Vela gives his top picks of the movies to see at this year’s Miami Short Film Festival.

“Toddler Trump”

Dir. Ericka Kreutz. 3 minutes 42 seconds. USA.

“This film is a funny way to bring politics to the screen. It’s a very light comedy but Trump supporters might get offended.”

“A Samurai Story”

Dir. Philip and Gottfrid Helander. 6 minutes 19 sections. Sweden.

Vela describes the Claymation film about 17th-century samurais as a “comedy with a lot of meaning.”

“Terminal”

Dir. Christian Mieir. 15 minutes 43 seconds. Peru.

“This film will be special for Latin audiences, who know the director from his work in novelas. It’s his first time directing a short film.”

“Mi Dulcinea”

Dir. Max Barbakow. 3 minutes 20 seconds. USA.

“This first-time submission to the festival was shot in Cuba by an American film director. It’s a comedy from our short-short category.”

“Spin-Off”

Dir. Farid Salame. 15 minutes 34 seconds. Canada.

“This thriller is based on science fiction. It’s dark and shows the role technology plays in our lives. It’s shot magnificently.”

“Die Kleine Figur

Dir. Tobias Bergman. 10 minutes. Sweden.

“I love this film, and I’m in love with Northern European film. It’s by an award-winning commercial director and stars Lena Endre from the movie The Girl with the Dragon Tatto.

“To Build a Fire

Dir. Fx Goby. 13 minutes. France.

“This amazing animation was done by an award-winning director from Paris. The adaption commemorates the 100th anniversary of novelist Jack London’s death.”

“Shy Guys”

Dir. Fredric Lehne. 8 minutes 16 seconds. USA.

“Lehne has appeared in more 200 movies and TV shows but this is the first film he directs. It’s a very light, smart comedy.”

Miami Short Film Festival is at Cinépolis and Miami Beach Cinematheque. November 6–11, times vary; $15–$20.

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