Almodovar’s ‘Parallel Mothers’ to Open Miami GEMS film festival

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Pedro Almodóvar’s “Parallel Mothers” starring Penélope Cruz will open the the Miami Film Festival GEMS on Nov. 4. “King Richard,” produced by and starring Will Smith, is the centerpiece screening. Denmark’s Oscar submission shortlist candidate “Flee” will close the event.

The eighth annual edition of is expanding to seven days from its traditional four-day format. The screenings will be held at Miami Date College’s Tower Theater Miami from Nov. 4 to Nov. 10.

“Parallel Mothers” is also recipient of the Miami Film Festival’s highest honor, Precious Gem – Master Award, from the 38th edition of the festival earlier this year. It was played in competition at the Venice Film Festival, where Cruz won for the prize for lead actress. “King Richard,” screening on Nov. 6, tells the true story of the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serna Williams. The film is directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green. Closing the festival on Nov. 10 will be “Flee,” the animated documentary about an Afghani émigré with a secret. It is directed by Jonas Power Rasmussen.

Also raising early excitement for the festival’s official opening will be Pablo Larraín’s “Spencer,” the drama starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana at the moment she decides to leave her marriage to Prince Charles. “Spencer” will be featured as the GEMS Preview Night on Oct. 27. Other awards hopefuls in the lineup include Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast,” Eva Husson’s “Mothering Sunday” and Sean Baker’s “Red Rocket.” Many films expected to be submitted for the international film Oscar will also unspool at the fest including Audrey Diwan’s “Happening,” Asghar Farhadi’s “A Hero” and Joachim Trier’s “The Worst Person in the World.”

“This year’s GEMS program demonstrates the ongoing vitality and vibrancy of cinema – we expanded the festival due to the increasing number of outstanding films that GEMS has attracted,” said executive director Jaie Laplante. “We are grateful to return to our home theater, Tower Theater Miami, and are excited to welcome patrons back to share the communal theater experience.”

Other awards hopefuls vying for cash prizes include Jacques Audiard’s “Paris, 13th District,” for the $25,000 Marimbas Award, Claudia Huaiquimilla’s “My Brothers Dream Awake” for the Ibero-American Feature Film trophy and “A Date, With History” for the $10,000 Knight Made in MIA Short Film prize.

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