30th Havana International Festival of the New Latinamerican Cinema

Cuba, December 2 - December 12 2008

The jury

Wolfgang Hamdorf (Germany), Xavier-Daniel (Spain), Diego Gustavo Trerotola (), Lucy Virgen (Mexico), Mayra Alvarez ()

Awarded films

The Havana Film Festival is an ideal place to catch up on the latest in Latin American cinema; over more than thirty years, the festival has become the most important assessor of new trends in independent South American cinema. Havana is a festival with a strong identity rooted in its special history and the dream of a new, independent Latin American cinema — the movement of Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano in opposition to Hollywood, protesting the “colonization” of images with a new “imperfect cinema”, as the Cuban filmaker Julio Garcia Espinosa put it in his celebrated manifesto “Por un Cine Imperfecto”. Looking for a new realism, a new way to reflect the social realities of the South American subcontinent through a new way of filmaking — as the Brazilian fimmaker Glauber Rocha famously put it, telling stories with nothing more than “a camera in your hand and an idea in your mind”.

In the opening ceremony, two charismatic veterans took the stage to receive the “Coral de Honor” — Chilean filmmaker Miguel Littin, and his Mexican collegue Paul Leduc. Havana represents the different generations of Latin American cinema; the festival also hosts a special section with an award for first features — a selection of surprising quality. Our jury screened the Official Competition of twenty features: Five from Argentina, three from Brazil, two from Chile, three from Cuba, four from Mexico, one from Peru, and two from Venezuela. Our winner was Anger (La rabia), the fourth feature from the young Argentinean director Albertina Carri — a strong story of a family conflict played out in the deeply lonely Argentine countryside. The main jury, presided over by Peruvian director Francisco Lombardi, awarded its top prize to the Chilean feature Tony Manero, which was one of our favorites in our jury discussions; Albertina Carri also received the Best Director prize.

In a special screening, more than 1.800 spectators made the most of the opportunity to watch Ché, Steven Soderbergh’s feature about the revolutionary leader Ché Guevara, in the presence of its star, Benicio del Toro. (Wolfgang Hamdorf)