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The Havana Film Festival celebrates its 18th anniversary
By Sandra Escallón
Once again The Havana Film Festival comes back to The Big Apple to celebrate the talent, voice, and beautiful work of Cuban and Latin America films. Over the years the festival has shown an unique program with movies, short films and documentaries that brings to new yorkers the opportunity of experience the creative work of of latino directors throughout their movies.
This year the festival has brought more than 35 movies and besides that is paying tribute to Juan Padrón, one of Cuban’s foremost forces in animation and storytelling, and to Argentine director Elisea Subiela. Most of the films are projecting stories that show the history of Cuba throughout its music, religion and dance. It will also make the public get to know the history of Cuba throughout retrospectives on music, religion and dance. In addition, the public has the opportunity of meeting the directors and producers of the movies during the Q&A sessions.
The opening night was on March 30th with the movie Esteban. The film by Jonal Cascuela tells the beautiful story of Esteban, a little kid that teach the audience the importance of fighting for their dreams and never give up on them despite the circumstances. Esteban leaves with his mother, who works really hard in order to maintain her family. The beauty of this film is when Esteban discovers his gift of being able to play the piano by ear. In that moment he decides he wants to learn to play the piano taking classes with Hugo, a great pianist that finds in this 9 year old kid a reason to leave. Besides the beautiful script, the music of the movie was composed by the great latin-jazz musician Chucho Valdés, who improvised the scores of the movies, including the song Diego. During the Q & A the director said that he felt identified with Esteban because he also came from a low income family and wanted to be a filmmaker and in order to do that he had to overcome a lot of obstacles.
Another beautiful film is Salsipuedes by Ricardo Aguilar Navarro & Manolito Rodríguez. This is a movie about a young man who had to leave his homeland of Panama to move to the USA and had to come back to his country after his grandfather passed away. When he comes back he starts to find himself and answered all the questions about his family and his roots. A beautiful movie inspired by the musical work of Rubén Blades.
The Festival will close on Friday 7th with the premier of Canadian Ron Chapman’s musical documentary The Forbidden Shore. In this movie the director shows a portrait of Cuba’s people, culture and politics experienced through the diversity of its music. The director and rapper Telmary will be present at the closing.
Here is our list of recommendations:
Director: Ron Chapman
2. El Buen Cristiano
Director: Izabel Acevedo
Director: Ricardo Aguilar Navarro & Manolito Rodríguez
4. Ya no es antes
Director: Lester Hamlet
Director: Leonard Zelig
6. El Soborno Cielo
Director: Lisandro Duque
7. Fatima o El Parque de La Fraternidad
Director: Carlos Enrique Almirante
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