01/15/2013 02:13 pm ET

River Phoenix's 'Dark Blood': Actor's Last Film To Premiere At Miami International Film Festival

River Phoenix's final film, "Dark Blood," will make its North American premiere at the Miami International Film Festival.

Originally shot in 1993, "Dark Blood" halted production once its star, River Phoenix, died at the age of 23. Directed by George Sluizer ("The Vanishing"), the movie also featured Jonathan Pryce ("Pirates of the Caribbean") and Judy Davis ("To Rome with Love").

"We had shot 80% -- but it is not continuous, it is so many little pieces here and there," Sluizer said in October. He kept the footage for decades -- even hatching a plan to rescue the film when a legal dispute left it in danger of incineration.

In 2011, news broke that Sluizer was finishing the film. "A few years ago, I had an aneurysm and was told I was going to die quite quickly. I said, well I want to finish the film and to leave not a garbage bag of film, but something decent. And that's what I did in 2011, and the post production until today," he told BBC. "I did my best -- with the material I had -- to make it an understandable and plausible story. Apparently people say it works."

Phoenix, who quickly rose to fame with his appearance in "Stand by Me," starred in "Dark Blood" as a young man who lost his wife and was living on a nuclear testing site. His luck takes a turn when a wealthy couple who is traveling in the area gets stuck in the desert where he has been staying.

"Dark Blood" first premiered at the Netherlands Film Festival in September. It will arrive stateside at the Miami International Film Festival in March.

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