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October 2017 Newsletter


Hello Everyone!

I hope all of you are enjoying the Fall season…it is hard to believe that it is almost November and the holiday season is upon us. Where does the time go? The past few months have been extremely busy for my staff and I as we have entered our 25th year of inspiring filmmakers!

Before the school year ended in June, FFI produced the annual CINEMA screenings/awards event on June 3rd, 2017 at The Coral Gables Art Cinema. It was a huge success and all of the students and teachers enjoyed seeing the multiple silent/narrative films and TV Spots on the big screen. It truly was a special event for everyone involved in this year’s productions! You can see the complete list of CINEMA winners on our Facebook page- and if you haven’t done already please “like” us on FB and also “follow” us on our Twitter and Tumblr pages.

In mid June we started production on our yearly summer film camp which is held at The Coral Gables Art Cinema. The short film TUNED IN was written, produced and directed by our amazing stars, the teen filmmakers from around the local community. It was a great experience for all of the cast and crew. The project wrapped at the end of July and we began pre-production on our after school film programming. In late August we started the CINEMA program at three high schools around Miami-Dade county. Currently those students are working on the 1st of 3 projects that will be developed throughout the 2017-2018 school year. Of course I would not be able to do my job without the help of a great team, my staff. We have added 7 new crew members this year, please read all about them and many more exciting updates in this newsletter! As always, thanks for supporting FFI and our award winning programs. And please stay tuned for our weekly updates and news in the coming months!


FFI is producing the after school film program in three different sites: Miami Lakes Educational Center, Young Men’s Preparatory Academy & Westland Hialeah Senior High School. Currently, the students at each school are working on the first of three projects. The first project is a silent film. Each site will have 2 days in November to film their projects and then each set of editors will begin the editing process. In December each site will embark on a new creative project and learn all about writing, directing and producing a narrative film. The last and final phase of the full school year program will be focused on a TV Spot. The culmination of these projects will be at an end of the year celebration and screening @ CGAC……

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, June 2nd, 2018 @ 10am


LISA ESPINOSA, Assistant Site Coordinator
My professional career has taken me many places including back to NBC6 as an Assignment Editor, Bureau Chief for Florida’s News Channel and Executive Producer of Joule Entertainment. In 2002 I decided to become a public servant and work for the city I love so dearly, Hialeah. I eventually became the Supervisor for the Special Events Department. One of my duties as supervisor was hiring new employees for the department. Then one day I decided I would be serving my city better as a teacher. Currently, I teach Digital Media, levels 1-4. On any given day you will find my students filming scenes around the school for their projects, running around taking pictures, producing the morning announcements and photoshopping themselves onto renaissance paintings… it’s all in a day’s work.

I am a young Visual Arts artist. Originally from Cuba, I came to this country when I was ten years old and ever since then my passion for Visual Arts has just gotten deeper and deeper. Visual Arts for me is not just a career or a hobby, it is also a way of expressing myself and showcasing my emotions as an artist. As a kid I remember being the one wanting to always take the group picture or trying to film all the family moments with an old camera my dad had. I finally started pursuing my passion with the help of Florida Film Institute and the help of my High School teacher who inspired me and taught me that I can be anything and achieve anything I propose myself in life. “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still – Dorothea Lange”

JULIO LICONA, Music Production & Engineering
After graduating with an A.S. degree in Music Business from Miami Dade College, Julio earned his title as a studio engineer, mastering the art of recording and mixing. He has worked on the Latin Grammy nominated album “PALO! Live” (2015) and Emmy award winning documentary “Miami Boheme” (2014), which aired on national television. Since then, Julio has been a part of the filming and television industry as a location sound recorder and post-production sound mixer. His work is well-received at film festivals such as the Miami International Film Festival. He has also won multiple awards including Musical Score at the Global Music Awards. In 2015, Julio worked on a live show which featured popular video game scores adapted into orchestrated music. The program titled “Video Game Concert” won a Suncoast Emmy award in 2016. He continues working with this act and was the director of the 2017 show, which was recently nominated again for an Emmy.

I’ve been interested in the arts since I was a young child, as a dancer, artist. I attended Virginia Intermont College as an Art Major, and eventually completing my College Degree at New York School of Interior Design. I have been involved in filmmaking as a co-owner of CINEPRO Inc, for the many decades as we have produced films in all of Latin America and for the Spanish speaking commercial market in the USA. My duties covered mostly administrative work as executive producer, and as producer coordinating all the crews from set-designers to makeup- artists. As a volunteer I have been involved in coordinating children’s activities, including Shake-A-Leg Coconut Grove, and University Baptist Church Sunday School activities. And this summer I volunteer with FFI Summer Camp at Coral Gables Theater.

MONICA SORELLE, Assistant Site Coordinator
Assistant Site Coordinator Monica Sorelle is an alum of the Florida Film Institute, attending workshops at the age of 16. The experience led her to obtaining her BFA in Film at the University of Central Florida. She’s worked in various positions on micro-budget shorts and features as well as industry projects including the Academy Award winning Moonlight, FOX’s Rosewood, and MTV’s The Inbetweeners. Monica also works for film series & festivals such as the annual Third Horizon Caribbean Film Festival.

GUSTAVO HERNANDEZ, Director, Producer, Writer & Editor
Multi-award winning filmmaker with over 20 years of experience working for the entertainment industry, focusing on Features, Short Films, Series, Sitcoms, Game shows, Talk shows, Documentaries, Commercials, TV Promos, and Music videos. Among significant recognitions, Gustavo was honored as Best Latino Director of the year 2003 at the DGA Student Film Awards, became a Student Academy Award nominee the same year, and Best AFI Director of the year – Franklin J. Schaffner Fellowship Award. His most successful film “The Mexican Dream” won 13 international Film Festivals, was showcased at Cannes and Sundance, and was distributed on HBO for a programming rotation of two years. As Film Professor, Gustavo has over ten years of experience, where he has worked for various film schools in California, Iowa, and Florida.

MATT BRENOWITZ, Editor & Music Production & Engineering
Matthew Brenowitz got his first video camera at the age of 7. A decade later, he was already making films, Djing, & producing music. After graduating Cum Laude with a degree in Communications Media from State University of New York at New Paltz, Matthew polished his production skills working at several prestigious media companies, including Canvas Films. Matthew is experienced in all professional grade video, music, and graphic production programs. After producing several national commercials Matthew founded Up All Night Productions. Up All Night is a full service innovative Business Marketing Solutions company with a body of work including television commercials, radio advertisements, websites, and print. In 2004, Matthew built a music recording and video post-production studio facility. Shortly afterwards he Produced, Directed, and Edited the CBS Viacom nationally syndicated TV show “On the Mike with Mike Sherman”. Matthew’s expertise and experience is a huge asset contributing to the growth and success of the students at Florida Film Institute.


We are so excited that last years top FFI student film from MLEC, “Laura” will be playing at the Miami short Film Festival on 11/7/17 @ 7pm in Coconut Grove. Click HERE for tix and more info about this film and the festival!

THE CANDIDATE (short film produced at MBSHS) screened on 10/13/17
as part of the Teen Program at the 18th Woodstock Film Festival.


FFI’s summer film camp project TUNED IN premiered at The Coral Gables Art Cinema on 9/30/17. Thanks to all who attended the screening — we are so proud of our student filmmakers and can’t wait to submit this project in to local and national film festivals! Congrats to all of the cast and crew!

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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 in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, 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, is 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), Garnet Productions, Coral Gables Art Cinema, VideoLab Solutions, and Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

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