Filmmakers, ready your cameras. This spring, Oolite Arts, an organization that advocates for the visual arts and hosts events like exhibits and arts residencies, will partner with the University of Miami to put on the ultimate film contest—The Block.

Miamians across the city are invited to pitch ideas for a documentary portraying the history and culture of one of the many eclectic neighborhoods here. Heading the partnership with Oolite at UM is Ed Talavera, an associate professor in the Department of Cinema and Interactive Media.

“As the premier film school in Miami, we want to encourage more local filmmaking, and what better way than to partner with Oolite to provide funds for emerging talent here in Miami,” Talavera said. 

The competition will heat up when five locals are chosen to present their storylines to a panel, as well as a live audience, on May 18. Three finalists will be awarded up to $14,000, free access to the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archive, and any assistance they need from UM SoC’s Department of Cinema and Interactive Media.

“We are going to coordinate the production of the films by providing creative, technical, and educational support to the filmmakers,” said Talavera. “We want them to make films that speak about the issues here in Miami.”

One of the main goals of the contest is to highlight some of Miami’s most talented indie filmmakers, as well as to communicate, through stunning and truthful visuals, the stories of these diverse communities. In Talavera’s eyes, this storytelling is the most important part of the contest.

“There are lots of great stories in Miami that need to be told—by collaborating in this competition, we hope to develop local voices to tell them,” Talavera said. 

To enter the contest, visit to pitch an idea for a Miami-centric documentary.