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On Location in Cuba

Street Filmmaking during Times of Transition

Ann Marie Stock

Publication Year: 2009

The 1990s were a time of dramatic transformation for Cuba. With the collapse of its Cold War relationship with the Soviet Union, the island nation plummeted into an era of scarcity and uncertainty known as the Special Period, a time from which it emerged only slowly in the new century. ###On Location in Cuba# views these pivotal decades through the lens of cinema. Ann Marie Stock conducted hundreds of interviews and conversations in Cuba to examine individual artists' lives and creative output--including film, video, and audiovisual art. She explores the impact of the Cold War's end, the economic crisis that ensued, and the decentralization of the state's political, economic, and cultural apparatus.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Series: Envisioning Cuba


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. ix-xvi


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pp. xv-xviii

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pp. xix-xxii

I did not set out to write this book. That is to say, when I first traveled to Havana for the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema in 1989, I had no way of knowing where that trip would take me. I never suspected I would return to the island nearly fifty times over the next twenty years, ...

Abbreviations and Acronyms

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pp. xxiii-xxvi

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Introduction: Screening an Island Nation in Transition

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pp. 1-32

The camera frames a faded newspaper clipping that depicts a tremendous gathering. The place is Havana, and the time is the 1960s. Tens of thousands of people crowd together in Revolution Square. Zoom out to a woman moving a magnifying glass over the photo. She seeks to focus on familiar faces, but the attempt is futile; ...

Dolly Back

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1. Documenting Tumultuous Times: New Culture Organizations Proffer Alternatives

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pp. 35-76

Filmmaking activity in Cuba’s national film institute declined dramatically in the 1990s. In the midst of the economic crisis and concomitant scarcity, it became exceedingly difficult to sustain the resource-intensive production. The Noticiero ICAIC Latinoamericano (ICAIC Latin American Newsreel) ceased to exist, ...

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2. Establishing Community Media in the Mountains: Televisión Serrana Strengthens Highland Identity

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pp. 77-105

As Cuba’s economic crisis worsened in the early 1990s and the ICAIC’s film production continued to plummet, a new community-based media organization came into being. In 1993, Televisión Serrana put down roots in the Granma province of the Sierra Maestra. Its mission: to “rescue the culture of peasant communities” in the region ...

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3. Balancing Tradition and Innovation: The National Animation Studio Negotiates the Global Marketplace

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pp. 106-146

Memories of my first visit to the ICAIC’s Animation Studio are alternately bright and dim. It was in 1994, during the depths of the Special Period, when I first entered this modest facility. As I walked through it, the lights flickered on and off. Each time the darkness engulfed us, we stopped and waited. ...


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4. Opening New Roads: Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti Redefines Revolutionary Filmmaking

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pp. 149-174

A made-in-Cuba road movie competed in the 2005 Cannes International Film Festival. And it met with remarkable success. Viva Cuba came away with the Grand Prix Ecrans Juniors, marking the first time a Cuban film had obtained an award at this prestigious event.1 Upon collecting the coveted prize, director Juan Carlos Cremata received a phone call from Cuba. ...

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5. Promoting Popular Genres: Pavel Giroud Revises Conceptions of Cuban Cinema

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pp. 175-205

It is customary for Cuban filmmakers working in the industry to get feedback from their peers while developing their projects. This exchange of ideas takes place informally, for the most part, but the ICAIC generally presents each new film in progress at some stage and facilitates a discussion afterward. ...

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6. Filming in the Margins: Esteban Insausti Explores Life and Art amidst Chaos

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pp. 206-234

In the summer of 2006, a Florida television program aired a short film made in Cuba. Miami viewers tuned in, as did the scores of Havana residents with access to one of the many unauthorized satellite dishes. This transnational audience heard the commentator frame the film Existen (They Exist, 2005) as counterrevolutionary and its maker as anti-Castrista. ...

Jump Cut

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7. Making Space for New Interventions: A Montage from the National Exhibit of New Filmmakers

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pp. 237-278

“You have arrived in the capital that belongs to all Cubans.” An image of a billboard displaying these words opens Buscándote Havana (Searching for You, Havana, 2006), a poignant documentary juxtaposing hope with harsh reality. In this work Alina Rodríguez Abreu zooms in on Cuban campesinos who make their way to Havana. ...

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Epilogue: Reflections on Cuba, Filmmaking, and the Times Ahead

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pp. 279-288

For Cuba’s culture workers, the past two decades of accelerated change have been both arduous and exhilarating, due to the convergence of an economic crisis, new media technologies, and an entrepreneurial generation of new cineastes. Industry filmmakers once wary of these developments now express hope for the island’s audiovisual future. ...


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pp. 289-316

Works Cited

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pp. 317-328


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pp. 329-340

E-ISBN-13: 9781469605852
E-ISBN-10: 1469605856
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807832691
Print-ISBN-10: 0807832693

Page Count: 368
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Envisioning Cuba
Series Editor Byline: Edited by Louis A. Pérez Jr., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 435630828
MUSE Marc Record: Download for On Location in Cuba

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Motion pictures -- Cuba -- History -- 20th century.
  • Motion pictures -- Cuba -- History -- 21st century.
  • Motion pictures -- Study and teaching (Graduate) -- Cuba.
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