37th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema, Havana
Cuba, December 3 - December 13 2015
From December 3 to 13, La Habana wears the mantle of the capital city of Latin American cinema. The 37th edition of the Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano was the first to take place after the re-establishment of relations between Cuba and the US, and there was a lot of anticipation as to what changes might occur. Last year’s festival was marked by the move from film to digital projection. Up until then, Havana was one of the few – and perhaps the biggest – festival to persist with film projection.
The first festival took place in 1979, an intense week featuring Gabriel García Márquez as president of the fiction jury and Santiago Álvarez as head of the documentary and animation jury. Over 600 Latin American directors were present. Since then, this magnificent event has been extended to 11 days, and it has everyone in Havana talking about cinema – not just in the theatres.
This year’s festival opened at the Karl Marx Theatre: the biggest in all of Latin America, with more than 5000 seats. The competition featured numerous sections, including fiction, documentaries, animation, debut films and original screenplays. There were also over 100 meetings, workshops and seminars on cultural topics, attended by students from Cuba’s cinema schools.
The festival hosts a wide selection of international films, but the Official Section shows only Latin American and Caribbean titles. Various awards are given by juries composed of cinema experts and renowned intellectuals. Geraldine Chaplin was president of the fiction jury. The top prize is the Gran Coral, representing the great coral reefs of the Caribbean Sea.
As often occurs at film festivals, the most interesting titles were to be found in the non-competitive sections. The Perspective on Latin America section was the richest hub, featuring categories such as Colours of Difference, Music, Camera, Action, Cities and Other Landscapes, Migrations, Avant-Garde Memory, Latin American Film Library, For All Ages, Art and Tradition, Full Theatre, At Midnight and Histories of Violence.
This year’s retrospective was dedicated to the great Marco Bellocchio – a director highly valued in Cuba and presented as “a peculiar figure of the postwar Italian cinema, a master.” (Furio Fossati, edited by Lesley Chow)
International Festival of New Latin American Cinema, Havana: