Screen Cuba: Films to change the world / Festival of Cuban Cinema

Screen Cuba: Films to change the world / Festival of Cuban Cinema
Fecha de publicación: 
11 March 2024
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Screen Cuba: Films to Change the World brings to London for the first time an exceptional line-up of films by some of Cuba’s most revered directors, alongside newly emerging talent. For two weeks, audiences will be treated to a unique and diverse celebration of Cuban cinema since 1959 – showcasing award-winning and iconic features, documentaries, animation, and shorts. The programme includes films, Q&As with film specialists and a Gala Reception on 13 March.

The Festival also aims to help address the scarce resources and distribution avenues open to filmmakers on the island due to the US blockade, by raising funds for projects underway at the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC) such as the restoration of classic films from their archives in Havana.

Two film specialists from Cuba will participate in Q&A sessions, and other aspects of the Festival programme. Tania Delgado Fernandez is the Director of the International Festival of New Latin America Cinema, and Gladys Gonzalez of the Cuban Film Institute, ICAIC, in Havana. 

The Festival opens with the classic comedy The Death of a Bureaucrat (1966) by the late Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, often cited as Cuba’s father of cinema. The film, much loved by Cuban audiences, satirises how red tape in the revolution affects the everyday lives of its people. It is accompanied by NOW!, a hard-hitting documentary short about the civil rights movement in the US. This short was directed by Santiago Alvarez, one of the most influential documentary filmmakers the Cuban revolution produced.

A highlight is the recently restored One Way or Another (1974). It is an outstanding example of politically engaged cinema by Sara Gómez, the first black female director of a feature film at ICAIC. Gómez incorporates music, documentary and newsreels to address themes of racial identity, class, and gender with passion and energy. Another film by Gomez, who died when she was just 31 is …And we’ve got flavour (1967). This documentary presents the origins of Afro Cuban music through a skilful mix of images, rhythms and sound.

The Life of Martí: The Eye of the Canary (2010), a historical drama, is an engaging account of the little-known early years of José Martí, the great nineteenth-century Cuban poet, father of Cuban independence and national hero. It is by one of Cuba’s most highly respected contemporary directors, Fernando Pérez. 

Another film by Pérez will be premiered in the UK. Tales of One More Day (2022) is the first co-production of the ICAIC with independent film collectives. This award-winning film, under the general direction of Fernando Pérez, presents six self-contained fictional shorts set during the pandemic. Each has its own young director, four of them women, providing an opportunity to view the work of contemporary women directors.

Tomás Gutiérrez Alea worked alongside Juan Carlos Tabío to create the Oscar nominated and multiple award-winning Strawberry and Chocolate (1993). It will be screened on the night of the Festival’s Gala Reception.  Exploring tolerance, inclusion, and homophobia with great humour, it was hugely popular in Cuba 30 years ago and affirmed an important right – that everyone should be able to participate equally in society and in the revolution. 

Violence against women and girls is the focus of Supergal (2022), Cuba’s first ever animation superhero feature. Directed by Ernesto Piña, it tells the story of Yudeisi, a young chemistry teacher who becomes a superhero able to transform violent men by clarifying their thoughts. The animation format gives distance to a difficult subject and injects humour. 

Two further multiple award-winning films, The Brothers (2020) and Yuli: The Carlos Acosta Story (2018), are not by Cuban directors but place Cuban music and dance at the very heart of their productions.
Screen Cuba is the project of Music Fund for Cuba UK charity and Cuba Solidarity Campaign supported by the Cuban Embassy in the UK and in collaboration with the Cuban Film Institute, ICAIC. The project is also supported by the National Education Union, Equity union and individual donors.

The festival poster is designed by young Cuban designer Emilio Cruañas who lives in Havana.

“The Festival gives us all a great opportunity to enjoy the many voices of Cuban cinema all under one roof.” Frances de la Tour, festival patron and actor

“I remember performing in Havana … How wonderful now to see that love of the arts through Cuban film” Adjoa Andoh, festival patron and actor

Venue: The Garden Cinema, 39-41 Parker Street, London WC2 5PQ, UK    
Tickets: On sale now at

For more details contact Trish 0044 790 555 3725 
Or Dodie 0044 7958 169 627 

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