MIAMI BEACH (Nov. 28, 2018) – In an effort to develop the pipeline of Miami feature filmmakers, Oolite Arts has named its first two Cinematic Arts Residents, who will receive $50,000 each to create a microbudget feature narrative film.
In this unique initiative, Xavier Medina and Monica Sorelle will receive the support they need to shoot, produce and screen their projects from start to finish in Miami. Through the program, ArtCenter hopes to elevate the city’s internationally renowned short film community, by helping these filmmakers take the important step of making a microbudget feature that can display their talent and prepare them for large-scale projects.
“Audiences are hungry for the kinds of stories Xavier and Monica want to tell, authentic narratives that explore the real Miami,” said Dennis Scholl, president and CEO of ArtCenter. “We’re excited to help support their careers, and to offer diverse programming that helps strengthen Miami’s indie film community.”
A national jury of film experts chose Medina and Sorelle from among 142 applicants because of their extensive experience making short films, their authorship of projects that center on Miami stories, and because their proposed projects embrace the ethos of microbudget filmmaking: the idea that creative stories can be brought to the screen with a lean and inventive approach to production.
Andrew Hevia, producer of the Oscar-winning film “Moonlight,” and Kareem Tabsch of O Cinema, who both helped conceptualize this initiative, will work with the two residents in this program, which is led by ArtCenter’s Cinematic Arts Manager Jason Fitzroy Jeffers.
“When Kareem and I first discussed this project with Oolite Arts, the dream was to build a pipeline that allows Miami’s most innovative storytellers to make films within the community and ultimately screen them in local theaters,” Hevia said. “ArtCenter had an incredible response to the call for submissions and I’m excited to work with the residents.”
Medina’s project will tell the story of a seven-year-old boy living in a Miami trailer park, a boy who is determined to somehow get to the beach and see the ocean for the first time. Medina, a native of Puerto Rico, is an award-winning Miami-based creator of short films and commercials.
Sorelle will create a film about a Haitian construction worker facing the harsh realities of gentrification as he is tasked with demolishing his own neighborhood. Sorelle has a bachelor’s degree in film from University of Central Florida with a specialization in microbudget filmmaking, in addition to four years of experience producing films for HBO, PBS and Borscht Corporation.
Both artists’ bios are below.
In addition to providing support to the two filmmakers, ArtCenter will also provide development funding to three applicants who are receiving a special jury mention: Valerie Brooks, Jonathan David Kane and Terence Price II. Each will receive $1,000 to continue to develop their projects and pursue their ideas in filmmaking.
The ArtCenter juror panel included Andrew Hevia, co-producer, “Moonlight”; Jaie Laplante, executive director, Miami Film Festival; Edson Jean, writer and director, “Grown”; Celia Rowlson-Hall, director, “Ma”; Chanelle Aponte Pearson, producer, “An Oversimplification of Her Beauty” and director, “195 Lewis.”
The residency is just one aspect of ArtCenter’s new Cinematic Arts program, which seeks to strengthen and elevate Miami’s growing indie film community by becoming the city’s hub for filmmakers, producers and editors to connect, learn and exchange ideas. In the coming year, the Cinematic Arts program will offer master classes, workshops, film screenings and additional opportunities to help the filmmaking community advance and perfect their craft.
To find out more about the Cinematic Arts Program and the two new resident filmmakers, visit artcentersf.org/cinematicarts
About Oolite Arts
Established in 1984, Oolite Arts is a nonprofit that advances the knowledge and practice of contemporary visual arts and culture to an audience of approximately 80,000 people per year. Oolite Arts creates opportunities for experimentation and encourages the critical exchange of ideas through residencies, exhibitions, public programs, education and outreach. The residency programs include a Studio Residency Program, a Cinematic Arts Program, an International Exchange Program, a PRINTshop Residency Program and an Art in Public Life Residency. 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 Miami Beach Mayor and City Commissioners; the State of Florida, Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs; the Florida Arts Council; the National Endowment for the Arts; and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. For more information, visit www.artcentersf.org
About Xavier Medina
Medina, a native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, majored in audiovisual communications at the University of Puerto Rico, and later completed his Master of Fine Arts in directing for film at the Savannah College of Art and Design. In 2013 he collaborated as director of photography for an Axe commercial that was awarded the Silver Lion at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and since then has directed multiple award-winning short films and commercials for brands including Coca-Cola, T-Mobile and Medalla Light. After a 14-year career as an artist/filmmaker, Medina moved to Miami, where he continues to create and collaborate in the film industry as a writer/director, cinematographer and editor.
About Monica Sorelle
Sorelle is a Haitian-American filmmaker born and based in Miami. She has produced and worked on projects for Film Independent, Borscht Corporation, A24, HBO and PBS. Her work explores alienation and displacement, and preserves cultural traditions within Miami and the Caribbean, as well as the African and Latin diasporas that reside there. She is a member of the creative collective Third Horizon and is currently the associate director of programs and industry for their flagship initiative, Third Horizon Film Festival.