DIRECTOR & FOUNDER of
MIAMI SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (MsFF)
The Miami Short Film Festival (MsFF) came into being in 2002 when a veteran local TV actor and producer named William Vela produced a short film, "360˚", with film director Eric Rubalcava. Using thirty of his fellow actors and actresses friends, Vela spent 6 months shooting the production. When it was ultimately completed, Vela organized a "friends and family" screening to screen the finished project for all of the actors involved in the process.
Vela rented a space plus a projector and some fifty chairs to accommodate the cast. But soon the word spread around and more directors and producers came to ask if it was possible to participate with their material. The total of seventeen movies were collected to showcase what would ultimately become the first night of the Miami Short Film Festival. Three hundred and ten guests show up to view the short cinematic productions. There was an obvious hunger in the audience for more, and thus the Miami Short Film Festival was born on this night in 2002. Soon many directors, actor and other film professionals were asking about the next event or screening to participate in.
In the effort to provide the filmmakers and guests with a better venue to showcase all this talented creations, Vela convinced Miami Dade College Director Dr. Jose Padron to provide a venue for a project that would bring films from around the world to local audiences. Padron agreed to lend use of the College's Tower Theater and Vela immediately started working on the 1st annual edition of the event, the first of its kind showcasing only short films in south Florida. The Miami Short Film Festival held its 2nd and 3rd annual editions in the same location, attracting more than 2,000 patrons and the participation of short films from more than 21 countries from places as far as Australia, China, Italy, Israel, Argentina, Mexico and the USA. By 2006, MsFF was incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) in order to better serve its mission of ministering to the needs of Miami’s bourgeoning film industry and to connect the next generation to the art of great short film, and in 2007, the University of Miami's School of Communications through its support behind the Festival and became a major financial underwriter, as well as presenting sponsor of MsFF.
By 2008, the 7th annual edition of the Festival had expanded to include venues such as the Miami Science Museum's Planetarium, the Bill Cosford Cinema on the University of Miami campus, the Miami Beach Cinematheque and its traditional home at the Tower Theater, and celebrated record attendance. Film selections included prize winners at major Festivals such as Sundance and European Film Award winners.
The 10th annual year the Miami Short Film Festival promises to continue to support local and international filmmakers, with a philosophy that today’s short films lead to tomorrow’s world-renowned filmmakers. The organization has brought a powerful cultural voice to the city of Miami and created a positive influence on local film artists and aficiandos.