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December 2014 Newsletter


Hello Everyone!

Hope all of you are enjoying the holiday season so far. As we approach the end of 2014, I can’t help but look back and see how much FFI has accomplished this past year. As always, as a team we have worked quite hard but also had a wonderful time working together. My staff and I really have enjoyed and appreciated the good energy while producing such outstanding films with our summer film campers & CINEMA program students.

It has been yet another amazing year for short films and I am quite proud of the creativity, focus and teamwork our participants have demonstrated this year. Congrats to all of the actors and filmmakers for a job well done!

I want to personally wish all of you the very best Holiday season ever, and thanks to everyone for your continued support to the Florida Film Institute.


1st Semester Schools:

John Ferguson Senior High School (JFSHS)
Their film, UNDERGROUND ARTIST, was filmed on November 15th. The cast/crew worked very well together during pre- production and as a result they had a very successful filming day. The editors are now working on a first rough cut of the film which will be looked at by own FFI editor soon.

Miami Beach Senior High School (MBSHS)
Their film, MATCH.KOM, was filmed on December 6th. The cast/crew faced a lot of challenges during the pre-production phase (very detailed wardrobe/set dressing/locations, etc.) but they managed to also have a great filming day! The editing team is currently looking at the footage and their rough cut will be ready to look at early next month.

West Highland Senior High School (WHSHS)
Their film, THE OUTCAST, was filmed on December 13th. This was a new school for FFI and we truly enjoyed working with the lead teacher and cast/crew. Many of these students were new to the filmmaking process so it was gratifying to see how each of them learned so much in such a short amount of time. We look forward to reviewing their initial rough cut which will be ready after the new year.

South Miami Senior HS (SMSHS)
Their film, SIMPLE STEPS, is scheduled to be filmed on January 16th. The writers have had a challenging time cutting down the script. We applaud their ambition but, unfortunately, we have to stay within our production limits. Many of the Senior students in this class participated in CINEMA when they were Freshman so it is always encouraging to see how they have creatively changed from then to the present time. Currently, the cast and crew are in the middle of pre-production and rehearsals.

2nd Semester Schools:

Hialeah Miami Lakes Senior High School and Arthur and Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts are the next two schools that have been chosen to begin the CINEMA program. The filmmaking classes are slated to begin in January 2015 and the two filming days will take place at the end of March.


“MAD WORLD” a film produced at Coral Reef Senior HS last year has been given an Award of Merit: Filmmaker 17 and Younger from the Best Shorts Competition!

“MAD WORLD” was chosen as an official selection in the IIFC! More details to follow, in the meantime for more info please check out

“SILENCE”, a CINEMA project (produced at South Dade SHS), has received an award of merit for disability issues from IndieFEST! Judges based their decision on the quality and creativity of each submitted piece and winning means the craft and skill exhibited by our entry is outstanding and stands above other productions! For more info click on

“JARRED”, a CINEMA project (after school film program @ MOCA), was given the Bronze award in the high school category @ The Fort Lauderdale Film Festival (FLIFF)! In addition to this amazing achievement @ FLIFF, SORRY BRAH (ATMHS) and COMMERCIALS UNPLUGGED (RMSHS) received a Certificate of Participation in the High School Video Competition. For more info check out



FFI team member Michael Kingston recently inked a deal on his screenplay “The Man Who Made It Snow,” based on the true story of Max Mermelstein, a Jewish hotel engineer who transformed Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel from a small mom-and-pop drug organization into a billion dollar enterprise. IM Global and the Weinstein Co are set to produce the Miami-based project with Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler) and director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day).


For the second year in a row, FFI has been given the opportunity to bring our CINEMA participants to School of Entertainment & Design Technology (SEDT) at Miami Dade College, North Campus on May 13th, 2015 for the 2014-2015 CINEMA Awards and Screenings. This is a great way to bring all of the students together and have them meet each other and also have them watch the entire student films produced this year through FFI’s film program. In addition to the event, the students will be given a personal tour of the high tech music / film studio on campus.

Thank you for your continued support!

I want to send a special thanks to the wonderful organizations that provide us with the funding we need to operate, they are the real heart of our Institute. With their help we are able to create an increased educational awareness in hundreds of students a year, many of whom would never get the kind of life altering experience that our programs bring to them.

The Children’s Trust
Miami Dade College
Miami-Dade County
Florida Division of Cultural Affairs
Coral Gables Art Cinema
Miami-Dade County Public Schools


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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