Words by Nneka Samuel

Miami takes center stage for the first annual Caribe Film Festival, an educational and creative platform showcasing independent short and feature-length films in three distinct categories: Competitive, By Invitation, and 72 Hour Film Challenge. Supplemented by a series of workshops that offer participants invaluable information on how to produce films in the state of Florida, SAG-AFTRA low budget contracts, choosing the right camera to shoot your indie film, and the ins and outs of the auditioning and casting process, the festival promises to be an engaging event.

From assembling crews to securing locations, renting equipment and catering sets, a lot of work goes into getting a film off the ground, whether it be a short or feature length film. But everyone from Spike Lee to your next door neighbor now has access to a wonderful thing called Kickstarter, a platform that helps fund creative projects. There are numerous sites like it that offer similar benefits, allowing unprecedented ease and access while offering those who’ve helped finance projects a little piece of the production pie.

One of the promising aspects of the Caribe Film Festival is that it intends to challenge the stigma of producing films, much like Kickstarter. It not only affords filmmakers a platform but in the case of the 72 Hour Challenge in particular, an opportunity to create work under a specific set of guidelines and in a very short amount of time. This invaluable challenge will undoubtedly aid participants with their next projects, arming them with the tools they need to go the cheaper, more effective route, creating solutions to production-based problems before they arise. This process puts power in the hands of writers, directors and producers alike – creating their own jobs and telling their own stories.

More importantly, the festival on the whole shines a light on Caribbean stories and artists, and at one of the few venues in Miami that showcases Caribbean art, culture and music: the Little Haiti Cultural Center. Taking place from February 27 to March 1, visit Caribe Film Festival for more information and to purchase tickets.