Independent movie making in Cuba


New regulations for independent film and video makers in Cuba were announced at the end of June by Ramón Samada, president of the Cuban Institute of Film Art and Industry (ICAIC).

The  main law is Decree-Law 373, and recognizes primarily, the labour status of independent film and video makers.

The new law is important in the cultural policy of the island to promote creative development and film and video production, and give these artists a legal status and recognize the work they do.

Samada specified that as economic entities they can now be hired by or hire, Cubans and foreigners, to carry out their work.

They will be able to “open bank accounts to develop their work, be legally recognized by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and by the agencies of the Central Administration of the State, mainly the Central Bank”.

The new regulations, in addition to Decree-Law 373, also are in Agreement 8613, which approves the Development Fund, the Film Commission and an Office of Attention to Production, and resolutions of the Ministries of Culture, Labour and Social Security and Finance and Prices; ICAIC and the Central Bank.

Samada referred to the changes brought about by the new policy regarding the recognition and regulation of the work of independent filmmakers, who will have a Registry that will formalize their legal capacity, and the creation of groups of filmmakers, a Fund for the Promotion of Cinema, a Film Commission to facilitate national and foreign production and three new categories of self-employed work.

Decree Law 373 gives the mandate for film and videomaking policies in Cuba to the Film Institute ICAIC, which is also responsible for administering the Registry. ICAIC will register those who work in cinema, while the TV Institute ICRT will register those who work in television.

“To work, filmmakers have to come together. Video is a big industry, many people working together, and so a ‘collective’ category has been created with its own identity. The collective consists of up to three people already registered in the Registry and other people who are part of it”.

He stressed that the collectives participate in all stages of film/video production, seek funding, participate in preparation, filming, post-production and marketing of the works, primarily for the development of Cuban cinema.

Original report in Spanish by