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Grammy winner and film authority Nat Chediak on fighting for his life in arts

 Miami Film Festival co-founder Nat Chediak sits in the Gusman Cultural Center (now the Olympia Theater) in downtown Miami in January 1997.
Jeffery A. Salter
Miami Herald File
Miami Film Festival co-founder Nat Chediak sits in the Gusman Cultural Center (now the Olympia Theater) in downtown Miami in January 1997.

Nat Chediak grew up being told his love of film and music wouldn’t amount to much.

A musician? A filmmaker? "These were not serious jobs," is what his father, who was a product of the Great Depression, told him.

Chediak's dad was a copyright attorney in Cuba. He’s the one who had the foresight to register Bacardi’s labels in the U.S. His uncles were doctors who had procedures named after them. People used to stop his dad on the street to ask if he was related to the famous doctors.

But Nat Chediak loved movies. He wanted others to see them. He opened several art-house theaters in South Florida. They focused on showing foreign and non-commercial films — "artsy" movies. And he founded the Miami Film Festival, one of the best-attended film festivals in the country.

He didn’t get into music until he was 50. Then he helped produce three Latin Jazz albums that won Grammys and Latin Grammys.

His dad came around. He eventually became a regular at the Film Festival — and in Miami he kept getting stopped and asked about his last name. This time not about the doctors, but about his son.

On the May 8 episode of Sundial, Chediak joined us to talk to us about fighting for this life in the arts.

On Sundial’s previous episode, Houston Cypress talked about how plant medicine and translation from Miccosukee to English made him a poet. His work combines art and environmentalism with the Love the Everglades Movement.

Listen to Sundial Monday through Thursday on WLRN, 91.3 FM, live at 1 p.m., rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Missed a show? Find every episode of Sundial on your favorite podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify.

Stay in touch with us by emailing us at sundial@wlrnnews.org.

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Carlos Frías is the host of WLRN's Sundial. He is a bilingual writer, a journalist of more than 25 years and the author of an award-winning memoir published by Simon & Schuster.
Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the lead producer behind WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.
Elisa Baena is an associate producer for Sundial.
Helen Acevedo is a grad student at Florida International University studying Spanish-language journalism, a bilingual program focused on telling the stories of diverse communities.