The Sundance Institute selected Key Biscayne native Daniel Cardenas’s short animation “Xemoland”, about a seven year-old boy who believes there is an alternate reality on Key Biscayne, for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival’s Short Film Program in January.
Sundance received a record 6,467 short film submissions for its 2011 festival. Xemoland was one of only four U.S. animated shorts chosen.
Xemoland was commissioned by the Borscht Film Festival as part of its CCCV Project (Roman numerals for the Miami area-code 305), which is dedicated to telling Miami stories by emerging Miami artists. It premiered as a “working cut” at the Borscht Film Festival in November 2009 at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami.
It is Borscht’s fourth commissioned film to screen at an international film festival in the last year alone, including Cannes Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, and the Guggenheim museums in New York, Berlin, Venice, and Bilbao. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation just awarded Borscht a $150,000 Arts Challenge Grant to continue “forging the cinematic identity of Miami both locally and globally,” in its mission to “redefine Miami in cinema.”
Borscht has completed its annual open call to local artists and is finalizing its selections for its 2011 festival commissions. Winners will be announced shortly.
Xemoland takes place on Key Biscayne, and draws entirely from Miami-area talent: 26 year-old Cardenas animated, wrote, and directed; South Florida comedian Adrian Mesa (Comedy Central’s South Beach Comedy Festival) and Key Biscayne native and actor Alex Fumero (Telemundo’s “Mas Sabe El Diablo”) provided the voices for Xemoland’s various characters. Cardenas and Fumero co-produced.
The Sundance festival is a proven launch pad for independent filmmakers, directors, and writers. Borscht hopes Cardenas, who has already developed a pilot for MTV, is next.
Xemoland tells the story of a seven year-old boy who is led to believe there is a portal to an alternate reality on Key Biscayne where all his dreams come true. However, the boy quickly realizes that Xemoland is not the place of his dreams, but of his nightmares.
Daniel Cardenas is a writer, animator and filmmaker. He created the hit animated web series “Sloth,” produced by “The Daily Show’s” Ben Karlin. He has developed a pilot for MTV, designed posters and titles for feature films, and animated graphics for award winning documentaries.
Currently in its 7th year, The Borscht Film Festival commissions and showcases films by emerging Miami artists that tell Miami stories that go beyond the typical portrayal of a beautiful but vapid party town.
The festival recently received a $150,000 Arts Challenge Grant from James L. Knight Foundation. It has also been awarded grants from: Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs, Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Development Authority, and Village Voice Media. The 2009 films received rave reviews from a capacity crowd of over 1,600 at the Gusman Center, and have gone on to play at international festivals such as Cannes, Tribeca, and Sundance, and the Guggenheim museums in New York City, Berlin, Venice, and Bilbao.
Borscht was recently named the “Best Film Festival in Miami” by the Miami New Times.
The Borscht Film Festival