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May 2023 Newsletter


Hello Everyone!

Hello Everyone! It has been a while since we last connected and I hope that each of you are thriving and doing great so far during this glorious Spring season!

FFI has had a spectacular time working with our amazing CINEMA students. Seems like we just met everyone and started working/collaborating on projects together as a team – yet the 2022-2023 school year will be coming to a close only one month from now! I can officially and proudly say that our students have completed their Haiku Poem Videos, TV Commercials, Narrative Shorts and Micro Films. It was a lot of hard work for them but they had a lot of fun in the (sometimes) grueling process of film production. My staff and I always enjoy watching them flourish and grow creatively while they are learning the art and craft of filmmaking! From pre-production development to post-production editing the CINEMA students are some of the most special and beyond dedicated, young filmmakers in Miami!

There have been some exciting and surprising updates within the organization that we always look forward to sharing with all of you– including the most recent announcement that FFI has been funded for another 5 years through The Children’s Trust grant! This is absolutely fabulous news knowing that Cinematographers in Education and Media Arts (CINEMA) can continue to expand and enrich the arts educational platform for young adults! With this kind of generous funding, FFI will be able to provide an even more extraordinary hands-on learning experience that teaches the art, business and science of filmmaking! In addition to this exemplary news, FFI projects that were produced last school year and also during the ’22 summer film camp program have and are still being given many accolades on the film fest circuit. We are anticipating the same response when we submit the completed film projects that have been created this school year. This truly has been another terrific year for our award-winning programming and yet there is so much more to look forward to – including our annual CINEMA screening & awards show which will take place in-person @ MDC-N just two weeks from now and we are also gearing up the summer film camp @ CGAC which starts mid June.

Overall, it has been an exceptional experience for our after-school film program participants – and the very best is yet to come from FFI! Enjoy the newsletter below… and I kindly thank each of you for your loyal support to the arts in your own communities as well as to the FFI organization!

The Florida Film Institute Receives Funding from The Children’s Trust for Youth Development Programming

The Children's Trust

On April 17, The Children’s Trust Board of Directors approved funding recommendations for its Youth Development initiative, its largest investment area. More than 140 programs, including FFI, were selected during a competitive Request for Proposals and review process. These funds will help directly support children and families through after-school and summer programming in Miami-Dade County.

Trust-funded Youth Development providers offer high-quality programming for children and youth in kindergarten through 12th grade, as well as young adults involved in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems and/or living with disabilities. The Trust is investing over $76 million to allow for the increased cost of programming as well as expanding programming to existing and new providers.

To learn more about TCT’s Youth Development programming and more, visit

2022 – 2023 After School CINEMA Program Update

2nd SEMESTER – Students from the 3 CINEMA sites (Hialeah Gardens SHS, John A. Ferguson SHS and South Miami SHS) were extremely busy once resuming classes in January after the holiday break. After completing the projects that were created earlier in the school year (August through September: Haiku Poem Videos/TV Commercials) the students launched into full production mode for their Narrative Short and Micro Films. The last few weeks have been mainly focused on editing their projects and putting the final touches on them before they are sent to the judging panel of 8 film pros! Everything is currently being judged and winners will be announced at the red carpet end of year screening/awards show (see below for more info on this amazing event!).


FFI 2022-2023 CINEMA Screening & Awards Show

Lights, Camera… Summer FFI TEEN FILM CAMP JUNE 19th – JULY 28th, 2023 @ CGAC!

FFI Summer Film Camp 2023


Jose Raul Acosta

Jose Raul Acosta

Jose Raul Acosta has been an actor and coach for over 10 years, teaching Acting and Improvisation in international schools, including Zion Films Academy, ASC Company, Cumbres International School, and AVA Acting Studio. As an actor, he has performed the main character roles in plays and films like MacBeth, Hamlet, The Oresteia, The Passion of the Christ, and Death in the Forest, among others. He has received multiple international honors, including As Miamense as Possible, Florida, U.S. (2022); Royal Court Theater Award, London, U.K. (2017); Research University Award, Havana, Cuba (2016); and Acting National Award, Havana, Cuba (2014). He holds a master’s degree in Acting and Theater Education from the University of Arts, accredited by The Juilliard School in New York.

Film Fest News

Film Fest Updates


Many of the projects from the past year and a half have been entered into film fests locally, statewide and nationwide – and some are in consideration of being screened on a global scale. We are extremely proud of our student casts/crews. Listed below are some of the current film fest highlights but please go directly to the FFI website for updates on our recent and past projects:


3 CINEMA narrative short films have been accepted and will be screened at the 21st Edition of the MIAMI short FILM FESTIVAL!


MIAMIsFF will bring the 21st Edition of its annual festival, November 11-12-13, 2022. This year’s festival will present over 40+ cinematic shorts from local, national, and international filmmakers. It also features a film workshop, filmmaker Q&As, and the Official Awards Ceremony wrapping up the festival weekend.

For more info and complete fest schedule:

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT : Geovanhy Ruiz, FFI Ferguson Alumni from 2019

Geovanhy Ruiz

Geovanhy Ruiz

What CINEMA did for me?

Cinema for me started as just making skits with my older cousin who was in film class. I’ve always enjoyed the process of shooting and working the camera. I couldn’t wait to join the film program in high school. Once I did, it was everything I was hoping for and more. I enjoyed studying films, diving deep into what made a film a “film”. When I figured out that I can make film Making my full time career, I knew it was what I had to pursue. Juan Moreno at John A. Ferguson was and is the best teacher I have ever had. He did an amazing job of teaching me the craft and showed me a pathway into the industry.

What FFI did for me?

FFI gave me an amazing opportunity to pursue Film to a higher degree in high school. Not only did the program give me college credit while in high school, but the program also put me in a position to be taught by multiple industry professionals. The Film 1 course showed me what it was like to make a film from pre-production, production, and post-production, all with the help of amazing professors. I’m very grateful for the program for allowing me to take the class and having the knowledge passed down to me.

Current Update:

After graduating Miami Dade College, I moved to Atlanta, Georgia to pursue a career in the Camera Department. Also, I am pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Media Entrepreneurship at Georgia State University. While I can’t work full time on many sets, I try to find work where I can fit it. Between Miami and Atlanta, I shoot a lot of Music Videos, Branding Videos and also Interview work for people but I also will P.A, do Behind The Scenes photography, or be an Assistant Camera on any project or set if I get the chance too. While in Atlanta, I’ve worked with Starz, Disney, and worked on an independent feature film as well.



Follow FFI on our INSTAGRAM + FACEBOOK pages to check out some awesome behind the scenes production pics:

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FFI is always seeking financial and in-kind support. In the event that you would like to donate dollars (or maybe just some sense!) please click HERE or contact the FFI office directly and speak with Stephanie.


Sponsored By

Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and 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, The Children’s Trust, a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County, Miami Dade College North Campus, School of Entertainment & Design Technology (SEDT) and Coral Gables Art Cinema.

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