“Since this was the first time in MIFF’s history that an animated film was being featured in the opening night party, we wanted to incorporate that into the decor,” said event producer Lourdes C. Balepogi of Chispa Marketing.
Working with Eric Trelles of ET Events, Balepogi's team designed simple black and white centerpieces, sponsor logos, and signage to evoke a Tropicana nightclub theme.
“We didn’t want to detract from the beautiful color of the movie,” said Balepogi, who also explained that the minimal signage helped keep costs down. Miami Dade College Sign and Banner and the Media and Technology Services departments also contributed to the decor and audiovisual production.
The design of the exhibition space allowed guests to roam from one alcove to another, sampling appetizers and desserts from restaurant and catering vendors, including Soi Asian Bistro, Mr. Yum, and SoBe Sweets, who served “Boom Boom Brownies” and “Cha Cha Guava Cheesecake. Bars serving Stella Artois, Estancia wines, Rums of Puerto Rico, and Illy coffee had their own booths, clearly marked with animation-inspired black-and-white signs.
The central, and largest, section of the event space was reserved for local band Havana Soul, who performed on stage in front of a large—almost always packed—dance floor. MIFF sponsor logos were projected onto the walls above the dance floor, and footage from previous festival events played on flat-screen TVs around the room.