Minnesotan Cuban Film Festival

Posted on February 9th, 2012 by

Minnesota Cuban Film Festival (2/23/12-3/29-12)

Each Thursday evening, from February 23 to March 29, the Minnesota Cuba Committee, in partnership with the Film Society of Minneapolis/St. Paul, will present an outstanding collection of Cuban cinema. Most of the films are contemporary, with some vintage offerings. Each film will be accompanied by a bonus short feature.This year, the festival is co-curated with Cuba’s world renowned film institute, ICAIC (Instituto Cubano del Arte y la Industria Cinematográficos). Coordinators have also been working closely with Cuba’s international film school, EICTV (Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión), co-founded by Colombian writer and journalist Gabriel García Márquez.Screenings will take place at St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 SE Main Street, Minneapolis. All films are in Spanish with English subtitles. Each film will be followed by a discussion at Pracna on Main led by a member of the Minnesota Cuba Committee or the Cuban-American community, or others with a particular interest in the subject matter of the film.

On March 29, the festival will conclude at Pracna on Main with dancing and live music provided by the all-Cuban band Cubaníá, with Viviana Pintado, piano and vocals; Frank Rivery Garcia, percussion & vocals; and Gloria “La Niña” Rivera, vocals.

The festival line-up is as follows:

February 23, Habanastation
by Ian Padrón (2011; 94 minutes). Cuba’s Academy Award submission (2012). During the course of a May Day celebration, two young boys pushed by their social and economic differences come into conflict.The cast features members of the internationally known children’s theatre company La Colmenita, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors. Accompanied by For the First Time, a documentary from 1967 about campesinos’ first ever glimpse of a movie.

March 1, Boleto al Paraíso
Ticket to Paradise, by Gerardo Chijona (2011; 90 minutes). Goya Award nominee (2012; Spain). Set during the “special period” after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The story follows disaffected youth fleeing abusive families as the AIDS crisis begins to loom, and provides a look at how Cuba controlled the spread of the disease.

March 8, Nosotros, la Música
We are the Music, by Rogelio Paris (1964, 66 minutes). Mesmerizing black and white footage of 1960s Cuba, the iconic performers indivisible from the audience. Paired with Alabbá (2010), an exploration of the Santería religion, past and present.

March 15, En el Cuerpo Equivocado
In the Wrong Body, by Marilyn Solaya (2010, 52 minutes). Documentary about Mavi Susel, the first sex reassignee in Cuba, in 1988. A close examination of what it’s like to be transsexual in a country that?s grappling with gender issues in a way quite different from the U.S. Accompanied by a short feature, Cuba?s Campaign Against Homophobia, a CENESEX production.

March 22, Casa Vieja
Old House, by Léster Hamlet (2010, 94 minutes). ALBA opener (2012; Belgium). Stunning and timely version of a classic Cuban play. An expatriate returns to his family home and his dying father; old conflicts emerge against the backdrop of his long absence. Accompanied by a short from the international film school, Black Neck Swan, White Neck Swan.

March 29, Yo Soy, del Son a la SalsaFrom Son to Salsa, by Rigoberto López (1996, 100 minutes), Grand Coral award (1996; Cuba). A joyous exploration of 100 years of Cuban and Caribbean music starting in the mountains of Oriente province. Interviews with the great salseros!

Photo from my August 2011 visit to Cuba to evaluate a study abroad program.

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