Miramar Cultural Center | ArtsPark Announces Inaugural Southern Circuit Independent Film Festival

MIRAMAR The Miramar Cultural Center | ArtsPark kicks off its fifth anniversary season by rolling out the red carpet for the first annual Southern Circuit Independent Film Festival featuring six independent films at the Miramar Cultural Center from Thursday, September 6 through Sunday, September 9.

The festival begins on Thursday, September 6 at 6 p.m. with a VIP red carpet ceremony highlighted by a cocktail reception, meet and greet with the presenting filmmakers and special guests and a screening of Joe Papp in Five Acts with a moderated discussion. The festival continues through the weekend with screenings of five other independent films hosted by the filmmakers and actors, as well as pre-show receptions with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Five of the films will also be presented a second time as part of a film series at the Cultural Center throughout the year.

“The Film Festival is a wonderful way to start off our fifth anniversary season,” said Camasha Cevieux, deputy director of the Miramar Cultural Center | ArtsPark. “We are delighted to be the only theater in South Florida participating in the Southern Circuit Film Festival and to have this opportunity to become a local venue for independent films.”

Southern Circuit is the nation’s first regional tour of independent filmmakers, providing communities in the Southeastern U.S. with an interactive way of experiencing independent films. Over the years, audiences have seen more than 200 films and have engaged filmmakers in post-screening discussions in more than 50 communities across the southern United States. The film festival at the Miramar Cultural Center | ArtsPark will feature question and answer sessions moderated by actress JoMarie Payton Downs of the sitcom Family Matters, among others.

Featuring a star-studded cast, Joe Papp in Five Acts launches the September festival and will be shown only once on Thursday, September 6 at 8 p.m. The documentary tells the story of New York’s champion of the arts who is best known for introducing interracial casting and founding The Public Theater, which produces the popular and free Shakespeare in the Park and was responsible for the original productions of Hair and A Chorus Line. Joe Papp in Five Acts features commentary from Meryl Streep, James Earl Jones, Kevin Kline, Martin Sheen, Olympia Dukakis, Mandy Patinkin, Christopher Walken and more.

In advance of the presidential election, the festival continues with the real-life coming of age story of three American boys with Presidential dreams in Follow the Leader on Friday, September 7 at 7:30 p.m. The late Senator Ted Kennedy has a small cameo in this film chronicling the political aspirations of three conservative high school class presidents who, over the course of three years, split into different political parties and must reconsider their ambitions. The film addresses society’s assumptions about tomorrow’s leaders and the impact that 9/11 and President Obama’s election had on them. The film will be screened again as part of the film series on Thursday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m.

The award-winning film *Bag It* will be screened on Friday, September 7 at 9:55 p.m. with the film’s star in attendance. Told with wit and humor, the film follows “everyman” Jeb Berrier as he embarks on a global tour to unravel the complexities of our plastic world and how people use and abuse it. Bag It will return to the Miramar Cultural Center | ArtsPark on *Thursday, November 8 at 7:30 p.m. *

The life of the French philosopher and political activist Simone Weil brings to light profound questions of moral responsibility in the film An Encounter with Simone Weil on Saturday, September 8 at 6:30 p.m. From the battlefields of the Spanish Civil War to anti-war protests in Washington D.C., from intimate exchanges between the filmmaker and her older brother, to captivating interviews with people who knew Weil, the film takes viewers on an unforgettable journey into the heart of what it means to be a compassionate human being. An Encounter with Simone Weil will be screened again as part of the film series on Thursday, October 11 at 7:30 p.m.

Eating Alabama will be presented at the film festival on Saturday, September 8 at 8:55 p.m. A thoughtful and often funny essay on community and sustainability, the documentary follows a young couple who set out to eat the way their grandparents did – locally and seasonally, yet they soon realize that nearly everything about the food system has changed. It returns as part of the film series on Thursday, February 21 at 7:30 p.m.

The film festival concludes with an examination of the life of Civil Rights activist Daisy Bates from her days as an orphan to newspaperwoman to activist in Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock on Sunday, September 9 at 4:30 p.m. In 1957, Bates became a household name when she fought for the right of nine black students to attend the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., culminating in a constitutional crisis that positioned a president against a governor and a community against itself. It will be screened again as part of the film series on Thursday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Ticket packages and individual seats are on sale now for the film festival from September 6 through 9. Gold level tickets are $100 for single tickets and $125 for a pair of tickets that includes admission to the VIP opening night events, all pre-show receptions and screenings for the entire weekend along with the moderated Q&As; silver level tickets are $51 and include admission to all six screenings and moderated discussions during the film festival; and daily tickets are $15. Tickets are available at (954) 602-4500 or select your seat online at www.miramarculturalcenter.org.

The Miramar Cultural Center | ArtsPark is located at 2400 Civic Center Place on Red Road, north of Miramar Parkway, in Miramar. Miramar Cultural Center | ArtsPark can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/MiramarCulturalCenter and on Twitter @MiramarCultural.