Earlier this year, I was invited to attend and document the Miami International Film Festival. A few weeks after making the post on my blog, the director of MIFF, Jaie Laplante, asked me to visit the MIFF headquarters to sign prints of my photos that were hung up. I was ecstatic. After hanging out with Jaie and brand manager, Rachel Bleemer, they took interest in my work. Jaie commissioned me to be MIFF’s 2014 poster artist.


Miami International Film Festival (MIFF) has selected Manchester-born, Miami-based environmental portraiture artist & photojournalist Shayna Batya (aka Jenny Abrams) as the official poster artist for its 31st edition (March 7-16, 2014).  For the 4th time in MIFF history, a photograph will represent the Festival.

Shayna’s image is an homage to that great element of cinema syntax – the Close-Up.  The Close-Up tells us many stories – in this particular Close-Up, we can see a face that has been written on by time and many stories, the glory of experience. The photograph is a documentary shot from a fictional film set, using only natural light – which combines the 2 major forms that MIFF celebrates (features and documentaries).  And finally, it embodies MIFF’s theme of “Every Character Under The Sun” – there’s no doubt, that this man’s character is as deeply ingrained as his “scars”.

Artist statement: “One can tell so much or so little from a portrait photograph. Photography allows a viewer to guess if an image is “real” or not…Like film, a portrait photograph mirrors reality in a way that can be so convincing, it feels ‘real’. Everybody has a story, everyone is a character.”  – Shayna Batya

Shortly after the unveiling of the poster, NBC 6 asked to interview me about my work with the festival and my future endeavors. This was my first time on live TV! Check out the interview, here.

Thanks MIFF!

Can’t wait for this year’s festival, March 7-16.


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