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Message from our Founder

Hello everyone.  Thank you all so much for the outpouring of well-wishes and messages of concern.  I wanted to give you an update on Miami Web Fest and our decisions regarding the way forward in light of the weather conditions in South Florida. 

As you may know, Hurricane Irma  is an extremely powerful storm on track to directly impact the Southeastern US as a Category 5 which has already caused significant damage (including loss of life) in the Caribbean.  The governor of Florida has called a state of emergency in light of the impending damage, which is extremely likely to include flooding, structural damage, and power outages.  After the hurricane, we expect swells and potentially more flooding.  We have also learned that Tropical Storm Jose Could impact the area Right After Irma.

When I began Miami Web Fest in 2014, I wanted to create an opportunity for independent filmmakers to come and enjoy the very best that South Florida has to offer…and to have opportunities to mingle with network executives and other South-Florida-based individuals who could potentially assist those filmmakers with increasing their worldwide exposure and developing as industry professionals.  I also wanted it to be an opportunity for the general public to enjoy web series and to meet the producers before those producers become famous and out-of-reach.  Over the last four years, we have been widely successful in these efforts, attracting vast numbers of attendees and filmmakers.  This success has allowed us to attract an all-star cast of special guests to the festival this year.  Bobby Roth (director of Prison Break, Miami Vice, Hawaii Five-O, Lost, MacGyver, and many more) is scheduled to give a directors masterclass.  We have some of the most prominent legal minds in the entertainment world scheduled to give an Entertainment Law panel.  We also have Karlee Perez (former WWE Diva and star of the Emmy-nominated show Lucha Underground) giving a seminar and Q&A about her experiences in Hollywood.  We have a number of prominent personalities and celebrities attending and showing content, including Beth Smart (of Smart Planet TV), Network TV producer Calibe Thompson of Blondie Ras Productions, fashion icon C Madeleine, Actress Stacy Rose (from the hit TV show Ballers) and Business Strategist LaVerne Daley.  This year, we have even added a pitching event called Miami Pitch Fest, where executives from HBO, Viacom, and TV One are schedule to speak on a number of topics.  For the Veteran Film Awards, we have scheduled documentary filmmaker and decorated Veteran General Bernard “Burn” Loeffke as our keynote speaker and selected a number of veterans for distinguished awards.  There are many more exciting speakers scheduled to give filmmakers and film enthusiasts and unforgettable experience.  The crowning event is even scheduled to be hosted by award-winning NBC 6 news correspondent Stephanie Bertini.

In addition to securing the right people, we have gone to great lengths to secure the right places.  We have secured an ideal rate at the Betsy Hotel, where we have scheduled check-ins and the casting for season 2 of my web series, THE CELL. We have the Wolfsonian Museum on South Beach for screenings and Q&A, the Dorchester Hotel for our Pool Party, and for the awards ceremony, we have secured the famous art-deco Colony Theater on Lincoln Road.  

I share this exhaustive detail with you so that you will know that we have secured these quality people and places at considerable economic cost and personal effort on the part of our board members and operational partners including, LaVerne Daley, Jessica Alvarez, Monica Valdes, Alexandra Bello, Errol Chung, Juan Duenas, Brigette Rock, Ron Gamble, Ronald Khadaran, Karen Aruj, Rich Logis, Lilian Taylor, Teana McDonald and Aileen Abella.  Consequently, any decision to modify our schedule in the slightest way must be made with exceptional precision.

Miami Web Fest could not exist without you.
So, when weighing the pros and cons of modifying our schedule, what we considered is YOU- your safety and your quality of experience.  It appears that it is not safe to travel to Miami at this time. We are in a state of emergency.  We are told there is a high  likelihood of power outages, infrastructure damage, and possible displacement for some folks during and directly following this unprecedented weather event. 
The quality of your experience is extremely likely to be impacted by this situation.  Even if the structural damage were to be minimal, the precautions and preparations for the storm pose unavoidable logistical challenges.  Many of our Miami-based TV and Film executives, celebrities, and personalities have been evacuated and others have done so voluntarily.  Their ability to return to Miami in time to participate in the festival is unclear at this point.  Those flying in from out of town are understandably reticent to attend under the circumstances.  Consequently, our filmmakers will not get the full quality of experience if we hold the event on September 14-17th as originally planned.  
As a result, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the Miami Web Fest until April 2018.  The exact dates will be April 26th - 29th, 2018.We did consider dates within 2017, but the event is quite complex and the ability to coordinate schedules amongst five popular venues and 29 very busy speakers requires more lead time than a few weeks and cannot be further complicated by the need to compete with the holidays.

I know that this creates several logistical challenges for people traveling in from out of town and I know that you will likely have many questions.  I will attempt to address a few of them now:

If you wish to keep your tickets, we will offer one FREE ADDITIONAL TICKET (same value) for the April 2018 event.If you wish to get a refund, all tickets purchased for the 2017 event will be refunded within the next 30 days.The structure and order of the festival will remain the largely same as the original planned schedule. 4-day fest, Thursday through Sunday.  April 26th - 29th. (The only change is that the Awards ceremony will take place on Saturday instead of Sunday due to venue availability.) All current nominees will remain the nominees for the April 2018 event.We will NOT be accepting NEW submissions until AFTER the April 2018 awards ceremony.Many airlines are offering FREE TRAVEL CHANGES, so check to see if your airline will do this for you.The BETSY HOTEL has agreed to move reservations made for September 14-17th to April 26th - 29th, 2018.  (You will need to call them to arrange this.)  

This information will be sent out via newsletter and posted on our scheduler app., shortly.

To all those in the Caribbean who have already been devastated by Irma, we wish you a speedy recovery.  To our fellow residents of Florida, we pray for your safety.  And to all the Official Selections of Miami Web Fest, and film enthusiasts who support us from near and far...thank you for your continued support.

I look forward to seeing you in April 2018!


Bryan Thompson
CEO/ Festival Director
Miami Web Fest/ Veteran Film Awards
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Thursday, April 26 • 10:00am - 11:55am

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Five strangers are gathered on an abandoned island by a mysterious landlord. They are all guilty of terrible crimes and for those they must die.

Thursday April 26, 2018 10:00am - 11:55am
The Wolfsonian-FIU 1001 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139