Press Release

Dec. 6, 2022

9 Local Filmmakers Debut Their Love Letters to Miami Beach at Free Dec. 15 Event

The filmmakers won an open call by Oolite Arts and the City of Miami Beach to make short films highlighting their favorite Miami Beach places

MIAMI BEACH – South Beach arts pioneer Barbara Gillman. The gay night clubs of the early 2000s. The drum circle that continues to welcome the full moon. These Miami Beach hot spots and experiences are the stars of new, short films debuting at Miami Beach’s Culture Crawl on Dec. 15.

Earlier this year, Oolite Arts and the City of Miami Beach issued an open call to Miami-based filmmakers to show their affection for the city by entering the “Local Love Letters” film contest. Nine winners each received $5,000 to develop a 3- to 5-minute short film featuring Miami Beach as the backdrop.

The films will debut, free of charge, from 7 to 9 p.m. outdoors at New World Symphony’s SoundScape Park. Both narratives and documentaries, the films take the viewer through the sites, present and past, that make Miami Beach. One features three chapters of a Haitian family’s life, all played out on the shores of North Beach. In another, a couple reminisces about how they met when a parrot swooped too close to them on Lincoln Road, forcing them into each other’s path.

The contest, funded by the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Family Foundation, is one of several ways Oolite Arts helps advance the careers of local filmmakers.

“As an arts organization with a focus on the cinematic arts, we love to find ways to help fast forward indie filmmakers’ careers,” said Dennis Scholl, president and CEO of Oolite Arts. “Through a partnership with the city and the support of the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Family Foundation, we’re delighted to provide filmmakers with another platform to tell their stories.”

“Each of these films showcase aspects of Miami Beach that make our city unique,” observed Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. “Collectively, they highlight why Miami Beach is one of the world’s great cultural destinations.”

The films that are included are:

Fire Moon Rising (Felipe Aguilar): The heartbeat of Miami gets revitalized every full moon, as it illuminates a “secret” beach drum circle. Join an eclectic crowd on a powerful, percussive and fiery journey.

It Had to Be You (Juan Barquin): A couple reminisces about the wild night on South Beach that kicked off their 10-year relationship.

South of Fifth (Karla Caprali): This piece is an animated short documentary that showcases interviews with Barbara Gillman, a longtime Miami Beach resident and renowned art dealer.

Toxic Beach (Abhi Chatterjee-Dutt): This film uses the flags that fly on lifeguard towers warning swimmers about the tide as a metaphor to explore all that is to love about Miami Beach, and the city’s characteristics that offer a red flag warning.

I Care About Your Mailbox (Andres Gimenez): I Care About Your Mailbox follows Frey, a young man whose love for mailboxes lands him in the heart of suburban Miami, where he encounters outlandish characters and just as many eclectic mailboxes.

How to make a movie in Miami (Carla Jerez): A local filmmaker explains how to make a Miami movie in this surrealist desktop documentary.

La Vie (Al’lkens Plancher): Three chapters of a Haitian couple’s life are intertwined at the shore of North Miami Beach.

Letter From the Age of Ecocide (Shireen Rahimi): A woman thrives in her beloved underwater home when suddenly, the natural beauty around her begins to decay. A sage narrates her grieving process from another dimension, using the ancient poetry of her ancestors to reveal a universal story of radical acceptance.

Loveboat Takeout (Melanie Wu): The film is an experimental docu-fiction short about an immigrant family’s former business, a Chinese restaurant.

To RSVP to the free community event on Dec. 15, visit:

About Oolite Arts
Oolite Arts strives to empower artists and enrich communities. Established in 1984, Oolite’s mission is to support artists and advance the knowledge and practice of contemporary visual arts. Oolite Arts creates opportunities for experimentation and innovation and encourages the exchange of ideas across diverse cultures through residencies, exhibitions, public programs, education and outreach.

Exhibitions and programs at Oolite Arts are made possible 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 City of Miami Beach, Cultural Affairs Program, Cultural Arts Council; the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Jorge M. Perez Family Foundation at the Miami Foundation; the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Family Foundation; and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

For more information, visit Follow @oolitearts on social media.


Andrea Salazar, [email protected] or 954-756-0652
Rachel Pinzur, [email protected] or 305-725-2875