When I was invited to the Miami International Film Festival, an obvious draw was to leave the cold Northeast for a sunny trip to Florida, even if I'd naturally be spending most of my time inside watching movies. I knew it'd be a little tough to keep off the beaches in favor of the assignment, however, and I was almost glad to find the weather chillier than expected. Did I eventually take in some cocktails poolside one day as I did some work? Of course. I'm only human.

The thing about the Miami fest is that its screenings are pretty much limited to evening show times. So attendees are able to hit the sand during the day, view any of 100 films in and out of competition at night, and then, if desired, still have the later hours reserved for the clubs. This year's event marked the debut of new executive director Jaie Laplante, formerly of the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, who upon appointment told the Miami New Times that the city's cinematic taste is for "a lot of passion, color, flare" and "works with grand emotions."