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WANNA MAKE A MOVIE? MDC WILL GIVE YOU MONEY TO DO IT

Written By Michelle F. Solomon
February 16, 2024 at 9:09 AM

It’s hard to miss the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami. The grand architectural wonder, built in 1925, is opposite the big arena where the Miami Heat play. (I still call it the AAA, then it was  FTX Arena from 2019 until 2023 until the bankruptcy of FTX. . . now it’s the Kaseya Center, but moving on to the matters at hand.)

Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Miami Film Festival, Museum of Art and Design (MOAD) and The Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archive (Wolfson Archives) are having an open call for filmmakers to create short films celebrating the centennial anniversary of the historic Freedom Tower in 2025.

The Freedom Tower officially closed to the public in May of 2023 to prepare for a $25 million state-funded renovation of the historic structure at 600 Biscayne Blvd.

Three finalists will be selected to each create a two-minute sample documentary and get $5,000 to do it. From the three sample documentaries, one finalist will be selected to produce a 10-minute film incorporating new and historical footage available at the Wolfson Archives located at MDC Wolfson Campus.

The New World mural 1513, inside the Freedom Tower Miami, is the second New version, painted and completely recreated by Miami Artisans in 1988. (Photo courtesy of Miami Dade College)

Proposals will be accepted from March 4 through April 14. Download the request for proposals here.

Built as a new home for the Miami News, the Freedom Tower became an emblem of the ideal of America as a democratic haven for those seeking freedom and opportunity. From 1962 to 1974, it served as the Cuban Assistance Center, a crucial help center for hundreds of thousands of Cuban refugees fleeing communism and political persecution. These immigrants would transform Miami.

Following several decades of neglect, the Tower was rescued by Cuban American community leaders seeking to honor the Cuban legacy in Miami, who donated it to Miami Dade College in 2005.

So here’s the 305 on what the finalists will create:

The film should present a comprehensive history of the Freedom Tower, as well as its symbolic significance to the people of Miami. After watching the film, viewers should be convinced that “You can’t tell the story of Miami without telling the story of Freedom Tower.”

The film must present the following chapters in Freedom Tower history:

  • Freedom Tower architecture and design
  • Home of The Miami News
  • Press as a connecting thread across freedom and opportunity
  • The Cuban Revolution and the creation of the Cuban Refugee Assistance Center
  • Efforts to preserve and restore the Freedom Tower
  • Connection to Miami Dade College
  • Role as a civic plaza for the Miami community
  • Individual stories from local community and prominent figures connected to the Freedom Tower

    The Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College (MDC), currently closed for renovations, will reopen in 2025, the centennial of its first opening. (Photo courtesy of Miami Dade College)

Filmmakers will be able to propose creative visual treatments, illustration, animation, and original video capture in addition to using historical footage. The film will use the extensive visual archive in the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives at Miami Dade College at wolfsonarchives.org.

But first, you need to find out what to submit for consideration to make your Freedom Tower doc.

Go to miamifilmfestival.com/the-freedom-tower or email info@miamifilmfestival.com.

ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit media source for the arts featuring fresh and original stories by writers dedicated to theater, dance, visual arts, film, music and more. Don’t miss a story at www.artburstmiami.com. 

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