October 18th, 2017       Posted by Frederik       Display Comments

Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland’s upcoming drama from Sony Pictures Classics, The Leisure Seeker, was the big winner at Miami Dade College’s Miami Film Festival GEMS 2017 event, which wrapped in Miami Sunday night. A24’s The Florida Project, directed by Sean Baker, and In The Fade, Magnolia Pictures’ Oscar hopeful starring Diane Kruger, were the two runners-up in voting for the coveted Gigi Guermont Audience Award at the 3rd annual edition of the Festival’s fall awards-season event. The Leisure Seeker, directed by Italian maestro Paolo Virzi, was a late addition to the Miami GEMS program. After the devastation wrought on the neighboring Florida Keys by Hurricane Irma in September, Festival organizers collaborated with Sony Classics to screen the film in GEMS with all ticket proceeds from the screening going to the United Way of the Florida Keys to support relief and rebuilding efforts. GEMS audiences voted in record numbers at this festival, making the race for the Audience Award winner extremely competitive. Only a fraction of votes separated the top contenders – Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name and Agnes Varda & JR’s Cannes-winning Faces Places also deeply moved the Miami GEMS audience. The awards announcement capped a four-day weekend of superb cinema where the gems of the cinematic season were screened as Florida and Miami premieres. The GEMS Audience Award is named in loving memory of Genevieve “Gigi” Guermont, a brilliant, rare, and timeless individual, a passionate supporter of Miami’s cultural institutions, and was an especially dedicated friend to the Festival, serving actively on the Host Committee, before she lost her battle with Cystic Fibrosis in 2015.