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Satire and sharks to surface at 2018-2019 film festivals

GEMS 2018 and Miami Film Festival

Oct. 11-14; Miami-Dade College Tower Theater, 1508 SW Eighth St., Miami (for GEMS); and March 1-10 at multiple Miami and Miami Beach theaters (for MFF); ticket prices to be announced; 305-237-3456 or

A fall offshoot of the popular Miami Film Festival, GEMS takes a handful of Oscar hopefuls drawing critical acclaim on the film-festival circuit — often indies and foreign films — and screens them well ahead of Academy Awards season. (In 2017, for example, GEMS screened Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me by Your Name,” which went on to win Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars.) This year, GEMS films include “Diamantino,” Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt’s deranged political satire about a Portuguese soccer star who tumbles from grace. The movie picked up a 2018 award at the Cannes Film Festival. Also screening: “The Heiress” (Berlin Film Festival audience award winner), about two upper-class women, discreetly a couple for 30 years, who face a financial crisis; and “Boys Cry,” director Damiano D’Innocenzo and Fabio D’Innocenzo’s gangster drama following two teenage boys who fall in with the local mafia. All this, of course, is just an appetizer for March’s 36th annual Miami Film Festival, which has not yet announced its lineup.

Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival

Nov. 2-18; Savor Cinema, 503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale and Cinema Paradiso – Hollywood, 2008 Hollywood Blvd., with screenings at several other Broward venues; ticket prices to be announced; 954-525-3456 or

The full lineup for the 33rd edition Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival has not yet been released, but we expect it to be filled with the same red-carpet hoopla and celebrity-studded screenings as usual. The 2017 festival brought Burt Reynolds (he collected his second FLIFF Lifetime Achievement Award), filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky and actress Karen Allen (“Animal House,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark”). The closing-night film, according to the festival’s website, will be “Sharkwater Extinction” (Nov. 17 at Bailey Hall at Broward College), late filmmaker Rob Stewart’s probe into the illegal shark-fin industry and the political corruption behind it.

Popcorn Frights Film Festival

August 2019; Savor Cinema, 503 SE Sixth St., in Fort Lauderdale; ticket prices to be announced; 954-525-3456 or

The fright peddlers behind this growing horror-film festival decided to scare another county, Broward, in 2018, by relocating from Wynwood to Fort Lauderdale. For its fourth edition, co-founders Igor Shteyrenberg and Marc Ferman delivered yet another weeklong bloodbath, and not all of it on a silver screen. Between screenings of 22 feature-length movies (each paired with 22 short films), organizers premiered a “live musical talent show” in which members of a local theater troupe rampaged through the audience in full zombie regalia, comically spilling blood on attendees and the floor. Organizers expect 2019's lineup to be announced next spring, but horror fans needn’t wait that long. The festival will host a Popcorn Frights Wicked Weekend Oct. 4-7, with screenings of filmmaker John Carpenter's “Halloween,” “Christine,” “The Thing” and “They Live.” or 954-356-4364

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