MIAMI – Miami Film Festival director Jaie Laplante, to whom Spain’s King Felipe VI awarded the Knight’s Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic, told EFE on Monday that he feels “very happy” because he received the honor for his support of Spanish film.
“I have enjoyed Spanish film all my life, since I was a teenager in Canada,” the Canadian-American said.
As Spain’s consulate in Miami announced on Monday, Laplante is deserving of the award “for being one of the firmest defenders of Spanish film and film in Spanish in Florida.”
Laplante – an actor and screenwriter, as well as being the executive director and chief curator of Miami Dade College’s Miami Film Festival since 2010 – said that he “never expected” the news from Spain’s consul general, Candido Creis, and that he felt very honored to receive the recognition.
Laplante, born in Alberta, Canada, 48 years ago, “has significantly restructured the personality of the festival’s program, deepening the festival’s commitment to being a main portal in the United States for emerging directors in Spain and Latin America,” the consulate said in a statement.
The 35th edition of the festival, which kicked off on March 9, featured a total of 148 films from 50 countries, the last of these the Spanish comedy “Que baje Dios y lo vea,” by Curro Velazquez, which closed the event on March 18.
At this year’s event, tribute was paid to veteran Spanish director Carlos Saura, who was also presented with the festival’s “Precious Gem – Master Award.”