Days of film, fiesta and intelligence in Havana

In a press conference at the Hotel Nacional, traditional headquarters of the event, Guevara affirmed that the Festival plays two roles: "bringing together Latin American filmmakers, incorporating new directors with a higher profile… and a second current which is of much interest to us, to give days of satisfaction, of a fiesta of intelligence, of the population seeing cinema."

He reiterated that Cuban people have a passion for cinema and "that is the greatest gift that Latin American filmmakers can make them."

The Festival president made particular reference to two traditional seminars, the "Audiovisual universe of Latin American childhood," and "Bridges and more bridges," and another one, "Intellectuality and the Planet."

In relation to contemporary Cuban cinema, Guevara, a founder member of the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC), commented that it wasn’t his place "to evaluate a cinema that is in competition," and went on to comment on the new technologies that make it possible for young directors to make an independent cinema. "We have two in the Festival," he said, in reference to the movies Afinidades, co-directed by Jorge Perugorría and Vladimir Cruz, and Molina’s Ferozz, by Jorge Molina, both in competition as first works.

Iván Giroud, Festival director, gave some general figures related to the 515 films to be screened and said that Argentina, Mexico and Cuba are the most represented countries, with 88, 78 and 78 films in all genres and sections.

The Official Section (films in competition) of full length features is presenting 24 movies from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, by known directors such as Argentine Pablo Trapero (Carancho), Brazilian Sandra Werneck (Sueños robados), Chilean Pablo Larraín (Post Mortem), Cuban Fernando Pérez (José Martí: El ojo del canario), Mexican María Novarro (Las buenas hierbas) and Venezuelan Fina Torres (Habana Eva).

Competing for the Coral Prize in medium and short fiction movies are 21 films and another 24 were selected in the first work category, while 16 documentaries and 18 animated films are in competition.

In addition to the traditional sections, Latin American Panorama (22 films), Short Films Time (27), Latin America in Perspective (38), Made in Cuba (42), Latinos in the USA (6), among others and highly relevant in this Festival edition, are Our America in the Bicentenary of Independence and 100 Years after the Mexican Revolution.

Film buffs can also enjoy the International Contemporary Panorama, and screenings of German, British (Stephen Frears, and Jane Campion from New Zealand), Spanish (Fernando Trueba, Ventura Pons, Carlos Saura), Italian, Polish films, finesse animation and a tribute to the National Film Board of Canada with close to 50 films.

Innovations? The Vanguard Section, included, according to Giroud, "having noted the need to show more experimental films, which is however, difficult for a fiction competition," and Fantasy and Horror Cinema in Latin America, "in order to diversify the range of genres."

But the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema is much more because, as always, it unites the arts with exhibitions of paintings and posters, concerts and book launches.