New York, 31 March 2010. The Havana Film Festival New York (HFFNY) launches its second decade, April 16-23, with a program of award-winning films, panel discussions, and Q&A sessions with noted international filmmakers, actors and producers. Special events are scheduled for April 7th at El Museo del Barrio and April 9th at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Over 40 highly anticipated and influential films from and about Latin America, the Caribbean and Latinos in the U.S. will be screened.
A variety of genres and themes from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, U.S. and Uruguay, ranging from comedy, thrillers, drama, film noir and children's tales, as well as films and documentaries about the influence of music and dance are all part of this year's Festival.
On April 16th, HFFNY opens with the New York premiere of the Brazilian film, Veronica, 1 pm at the Quad Cinema, the Festival's primary screening venue. The Opening Night Ceremony and Screening takes place at the New York Directors Guild Theatre, 110 West 57th Street, at 7 pm with the New York premiere of Los Dioses Rotos, the box office sensation and award-winning film by Cuban director Ernesto Daranas. Actress Silvia Aguila will present the film.
Since its inception, HFFNY has recognized and celebrated some of the most illustrious Latin American filmmakers in the industry. Continuing this tradition, HFFNY 2010 honors renowned Cuban writer, director, poet, actor and dramatist Enrique Pineda Barnet, who has given the public more than 4 decades of unforgettable cinema. HFFNY pays him tribute with screenings of Cosmorama, considered the precursor to the contemporary video art movement, and today is part of the permanent collection at the Centro Reina Sofia de España (Queen Sofia of Spain Center); La Bella de la Alhambra, Best Picture winner of the prestigious Goya award; and La Anunciación, his most recent film about the reunion of state-side Cubans and their families.
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As the festival enters its second decade, HFFNY established the Havana Star Prize to recognize the work of outstanding filmmakers in the categories of Best Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. The first Havana Star prizes will be awarded at the Closing Night Ceremony on April 23rd at 7 pm at the New York Directors Guild Theatre. Internationally renowned Cuban artist, Yoan Capote, designed the Havana Star Prize especially for HFFNY.
The recipients will be chosen by three prominent members of the film industry, producers Michael Hausman (Gangs of New York, Brokeback Mountain, The People vs. Larry Flynt), and Sandy Lieberson (The Rolling Stones' Rock and Roll Circus, Stardust) and director Louis Perego (President of National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) NY Chapter, owner of Skyline Features, a bilingual (English and Spanish) multimedia and educational production company.
The fifteen films competing for the first Havana Star Prize are:
Los Dioses Rotos (Broken Gods) - a love triangle within the modern day Cuban underworld recalls the life of famous politician and pimp Alberto Yarini. Director Ernesto Daranas, Cuba
Dawson Isla 10 (Dawson Island) - the harrowing ordeal of deposed President Allende's cabinet after the 1973 coup who are determined to survive political imprisonment. Director Miguel Littin, Chile
La Pasión de Gabriel (Gabriel's Passion) - a young priest, caught in the middle of a civil war he doesn't understand, struggles with his love for the church and a young lady. Director Luis Alberto Restrepo, Colombia
Hermafrodita - a touching story about a young girl's struggle in the 60's to keep her dual sexuality a secret. Director Albert Xavier, Dominican Republic
La Bodega (The Warehouse) - a young man and his best friend seek to avenge his sister's brutal assault. Director Ray Figueroa, Guatemala
Huacho - a beautifully conceived story about the struggles of a peasant family in Chile. Winner of the Opera Prima prize at the Festival del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano de La Habana (New Latin American Cinema of Havana). Director Alejandro Fernandez, Chile
La Tigra, Chaco - a sweet and touching story of a young man who, while visiting his father, finds love with an old childhood friend. Directors Federico Godfrid and Juan Sasiaín, Argentina
Memories of Overdevelopment - the long-awaited sequel to Tomás Gutierrez Alea's classic Memorias del Subdesarrollo (Memories of Underdevelopment). Director Miguel Coyula, Cuba
Miente (Lie) - an edgy, visually stunning psychological thriller told through the eyes of a young artist. Director Rafi Mercado, Puerto Rico
Castro - based on a Samuel Beckett novel, a woman searches for her wayward husband with the help of three hapless men. Director Alejo Moguillansky, Argentina
Veronica - the story of an elementary school teacher who while escorting one of her students home, discovers his slain parents and they are forced to go on the run to try to save themselves. Director Mauricio Farias, Brazil
El Premio Flaco (The "Booby" Prize) - a comedy about how to laugh at despair when a woman is lifted out of poverty after winning a lottery. Directors Juan Carlos Cremata and Iraida Malberti, Cuba
Crónicas Chilangas (Chilango Chronicles) - the intersecting lives of three people in Mexico City - an honest retired teacher, a young man who believes in extraterrestrials and a woman addicted to porn. Director Carlos Enderle, Mexico
Libertador Morales, El Justiciero - an honest motorcycle-taxi driver and law-abiding citizen, Libertador Morales becomes El Justiciero, an avenging hero who foils the crime spree of a local Caracas street gang. Director Efterpi Charalambidis, Venezuela
Historias Extraordinarias (Extraordinary Stories) - a visually stunning and award-winning film that weaves together three separate and seemingly unconnected stories. Director Mariano Llinas, Argentina
FREE AND SPECIAL EVENTS
One of HFFNY's main goals is to reinforce the educational component and accessibility of the Festival. Running parallel to the screenings, HFFNY 2010 continues to collaborate with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, El Museo del Barrio, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Queens Museum of Art, and NYU's King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, Cantor Center, and Tisch School of the Arts to bring free or low cost screenings, panels, and programs for all ages integrating different communities in celebration of Latin American and Latino cultures.
To kick off the Festival, HFFNY collaborates with two major museums to present several events:
April 7th, Nuevo Cine at El Museo del Barrio with the NY premiere of the Colombian documentary, Desterrados about the mounting tension of the more than one million Afro-Colombians violently displaced since the 1990's, and El Play, a documentary about a small city in the Dominican Republic famous for producing some the world's best baseball players. Pablo Medina, El Play's director, will be present for Q&A. On April 9th at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, we will have the U.S. premiere of 20 Años, a Cuban animation film, and the world premiere of Homo Erectus, a comedy about a young man coming out to his macho dad. Homo Erectus' director Alejandro Lora and producer Alberto Gonzalez will be on hand for a Q&A session followed by a party with DJ Asho and a live performance by Pepito Gomez and his sextet (Traditional, Son and Timba) celebrating the music of Cuba.
On April 17th at 4:30 pm, the Queens Museum of Art will present Fantasma de Buenos Aires, the latest full-length feature produced by Fundación Universidad del Cine (Argentina), a well-crafted story of a 20th century ghost awakened by accident in 2009 Buenos Aires. On April 20th, at 6 pm, the Festival presents Teaserland, an entertaining program of fake movie trailers by well-known directors such as Isabel Coixet (Elegy, The Secret Life of Words), Jaume Balaguero (Rec), and J.A. Bayona (The Orphanage), and other up-and-coming filmmakers. This program is sponsored by TD Bank.
The Festival returns to world-renowned The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Saturday, April 17th, 12:35 pm, with the series Latin American Films For Children. This year, HFFNY offers children aged 5 to 12 four shorts from Colombia, El Salvador and Spain. These screenings are offered in collaboration with the Museum's El Primer Contacto con el Arte program.
For the first time, HFFNY has partnered with the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce to proudly celebrate Mexico's Bicentennial of Independence and Centennial of its Revolution on April 20th at Quad Cinema, 6:15 pm with the presentation of Crafts, Humors and Short Stories of the Mexican Independence and Revolution, a collection of 26 ninety second film shorts made by five of the best known Mexican animation directors.
Continuing to serve the filmmaking industry and film aficionados, HFFNY has organized the panel, The Business of Filmmaking: LATIN AMERICA-U.S., the legal and business aspects of motion picture development, finance, production, and distribution at NYU'S King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center on Tuesday, April 20th, 7 pm. Key industry figures will discuss the director, distributor and lawyer perspectives: Alfredo Calvino, Maria Marta Antin, Fernando Ramirez and Jeff Levy-Hinte and moderated by Sandy Lieberson, Chairman of Film London. This free event is made possible with the support of NALIP, Mexicana Airlines, and LART.
Some highlights of this year's festival are the films about music and dance. Giselle, a beautiful ballet film by this year's honoree, Enrique Pineda Barnet, celebrates the 90th birthday of Cuba's prima ballerina, the great Alicia Alonso. The Extraordinary Journey of Fernando Bujones by Israel Rodriguez is about the life of the choreographer and dancer who died at the prime of his career. Mundo Alas is a documentary about a group of disabled artists who tour Argentina accompanied by Argentina's most important folk rock singer/songwriter Leon Gieco, who will be on hand for a Q&A session after the film.
In its world premiere, Mambo City by Bette Wanderman, gives a personal account of soulful Puerto Rican singer Awilda and the band, Grupo Latin Vibe. Além Da Luz by Ivy Goulart is an intimate look at the lives of six blind Brazilians and their struggles, dreams and desires. Cooking Up Dreams by Ernesto Cabellos is a journey to the kitchens of Peru's coast, highlands and jungle, as well as Peruvian expatriate communities in Paris, London, Amsterdam and New York. Anécdotas sobre Fidel, directed by Estela Bravo, interviews international luminaries, as well as top members of the government and military about their experiences with Fidel Castro. In Crítico by Brazilian Kleber Mendonça, 70 critics and filmmakers discuss the conflict between the artist and the observer. Diary of the End, directed by Juan Alejandro Ramirez, is a visceral account filled with brutally honest, yet liberating confessions of a Peruvian woman.
HFFNY 2010 closes on Friday April 23rd at the New York Directors Guild Theatre with the special presentation of award-winning Uruguayan film, Gigante at 5 pm. The Closing Night Ceremony and Awards Presentation begins at 7 pm followed by the U.S. premiere of Eso que Anda, an entertaining documentary by Ian Padrón follows the band Los Van Van on their most recent tour in Cuba, attended by more than 1 million people. Director Ian Padron will be attending. The Closing Night party will be at LQ.
SPECIAL GUESTS OF THE FESTIVAL
Returning after several years of absence is the Cuban delegation:
Enrique Pineda Barnet - Director, La Anunciación Silvia Aguila - Actress, Los Dioses Rotos Hector Noas - Actor, Los Dioses Rotos Juan Carlos Cremata and Iraida Malberti - Directors, El Premio Flaco Ian Padron - Director, Eso Que Anda / Van Van Fever Susana Molina - Vice President, ICAIC Rosa Maria Molina - Director of International Relations, ICAIC
Other guests include: Leon Gieco - Director, Mundo Alas, Argentina Diego Vasquez - Actor/Writer, La Pasión de Gabriel, Colombia Albert Xavier - Director, Hermafrodita, Dominican Republic Rafi Mercado - Director, Miente, Puerto Rico Miguel Coyula - Director, Memories of Overdevelopment, U.S.-Cuba Carlos Enderle - Director, Crónicas Chilangas, Mexico Alejandra Villasmil - Artistic Director, Huacho, Chile Efterpi Charalambidis - Director, Libertador Morales, Venezuela Ernesto Cabellos - Director, De Ollas y Sueños, Peru Mariano Llinás - Director, Historias Extraordinarias, Argentina Ignacio Rey - Producer, La Tigra, Chaco, Argentina Ray Figueroa - Director, La Bodega, Guatemala Estela Bravo - Director, Anecdotes about Fidel, Cuba Alfredo Calvino - CEO, Latino Fusion Maria Marta Antin - Universidad del Cine, Buenos Aires Talent Campus Pablo Medina - Director, El Play, U.S-Dominican Republic Alejandro Lora - Director, Homo Erectus, Cuba Israel Rodirguez - Director, The Extraordinary Life of Fernando Bujones, U.S Ivy Goulart - Director, Beyond the Light, Brazil
The presenting sponsor of HFFNY 2010 is NBC 4 / Telemundo 47. Additional sponsorship is provided by El Diario La Prensa, The National Arts Club, WBAI, TD Bank, Latino Artists Round Table (LART), NY Remezcla, Xael Charters, U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Mexicana Airlines, LICP Graphics, Cine Latino en NY, NALIP, Havana-Cultura.com, Marazul Charters, Rockamedia, Copacabana Pizza & Grill, Giovanna's, Bardolino, Il Buco, and Brazil Brazil. Official hotel sponsors are the Maritime Hotel, the Bowery Hotel, and the Gershwin Hotel.
HFFNY is made possible with public funds from the NYS Council on the Arts, a state agency and supported, in part, by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. Mayor Bloomberg's Latin Media and Entertainment Commission (LMEC) supports the festival. HFFNY is included in New York City's Immigrant Heritage Week celebration.
The Havana Film Festival New York is a project of American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba (AFLFC), a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization building cultural bridges between the U.S. and Cuba through programs in the arts.
For a complete schedule of events and venues, please log on to www.hffny.com/2010