Havana Film Festival: Green Light… Action!

Havana Film Festival: Green Light… Action!
Fecha de publicación: 
9 December 2023
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Havana becomes the epicenter of the seventh art, and a contagious melody accompanies the days from the 8-17 of this month in the 44th edition of the International New Latin American Film Festival, like a proclamation that announces the green light and action! to enjoy a wide range of proposals.

Every December, thousands of moviegoers attend the cultural event in various theaters in the capital, but this time the event takes to the streets and occupies a place on the central corner of 23 and 12, in Vedado, where a giant screen has been placed which exhibits films, soundtracks and serves as a stage for exchanges with artists.

Alexis Triana, president of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC), invited the citizens of Havana and other provinces to enjoy the regional cinema festival and to actively participate in the programmed activities, while inviting the governments of the other territories to join the celebration, with similar initiatives in their squares.

Another novelty this year refers to the acquisition of passports to enter the screenings through La Papeleta mobile application, at Yara, Acapulco, La Rampa, 23 y 12 movie theaters, and Charles Chaplin there is a QR code to access the purchase of the ticket.

The event was born as a continuation of the festivals of Viña del Mar (1967 and 1969), Mérida (1968 and 1977) and Caracas (1974), in which films and filmmakers representative of the most innovative cinematographic trends in Latin America stood out.

In its imminent version, 199 films compete in all categories, chosen among the 1,922 works presented. Its themes cover family relationships, violence, gender, youth, adolescence, historical events and diversity, among others.

The films in competition for the different Coral Awards in each category come from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Chile, as well as from Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Cuba.

Some 30 posters, from 10 countries, also have their space in the festival, in the section that rewards this modality; as well as 231 scripts. In addition, this cultural event includes workshops, conferences, exhibitions and panels, among other activities.

The film festival will begin with the opening ceremony on Friday the 8th and will screen the film The Colonists, by Chilean director Felipe Gálvez.

Personalities that render prestige to the Festival

Since it was founded on December 3, 1979, which had the prominent intellectual Alfredo Guevara as its enthusiastic promoter, the International New Latin American Film Festival has brought together famous figures of the seventh art.

The first edition had more than 600 Latin American filmmakers. And so, successively, the number of works and personalities who have attended the contest each December grew.

The 2023 call will be attended by prominent French filmmakers Agnès Jaoui and Dominique Clément, who will discuss the conception of the scripts and about the French actor and director Max Linder, in that order.

In previous years, relevant figures such as Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert de Niro, Robert Redford and Danny Glover, among others, have honored the event.

Tributes to Juan Padrón, Luis Buñuel, and Max Linder

An important space opens up on this occasion, when the Juan Padrón in memoriam Latin American and Caribbean Animation Forum will take place, which will meet from December 9-11 at Animados ICAIC, and will serve for reflection and learning, with scheduled activities that will approach developing projects, talks, conferences, short film screenings and others activities planned to promote this cinematographic art.

Among the projects presented (short film, medium-length film and animated feature films), one will be chosen that will be worthy of a prize that consists of a pass to the Stop Motion Our Fest Animation Festival (SMOF) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Other new awards will be announced during the forum.

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the death of filmmaker Luis Buñuel, his cinematographic legacy will be remembered this time in the festival. He was the creator of renowned films such as “Los olvidados”, “Subida al cielo”, “Simón del desierto”, and “El ángel exterminador”.

A space will also be dedicated to the French actor and director Max Linder to praise his contributions to cinema.

“Strawberry and Chocolate”, Oscar-nominated in 1993 and produced by Cuba, Spain,and Mexico, will also have a tribute at the Havana film festival. It was directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabio. Its cast included Jorge Perugorría, Vladimir Cruz, Mirtha Ibarra and Francisco Gattorno.

Other important moments of the festival program are a panel on Julio García Espinosa and the Thought Seminar: Cultural Identity vs. Globalization?, along with the theoretical panels scheduled to discuss screenwriting, as well as the activities organized to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Ítalo Calvin.

The music that identifies the film festival in Havana

Hummed by many who immerse themselves in the chords of its melody, the piece Desde la Aldea, by José María Vitier, has identified the festival of the seventh art since 1990. It was up to him and José Galiño, musician and researcher, who has been working since 1963 at ICAIC Sound Department, this musical gift.

It's a catchy theme and it’s identified as very Latin American. Vitier composed it, as he explained shortly afterwards, for the television serial La Frontera del Deber, made by Cuban television in 1986, and it was recorded at Egrem studios.

Since its origin, the International Havana Film Festival has recognized and disseminated works that contribute to the enrichment and reaffirmation of the cultural identity of the region and constitutes the response to the urgent demand for a space that guarantees the systematic encounter between the cinematography of the continent and their creators.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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