On Location in Cuba
Street Filmmaking during Times of Transition
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
Series: Envisioning Cuba
Title Page, Copyright Page
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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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Introduction: Screening an Island Nation in Transition
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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; ...
1. Documenting Tumultuous Times: New Culture Organizations Proffer Alternatives
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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, ...
2. Establishing Community Media in the Mountains: Televisión Serrana Strengthens Highland Identity
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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 ...
3. Balancing Tradition and Innovation: The National Animation Studio Negotiates the Global Marketplace
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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. ...
4. Opening New Roads: Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti Redefines Revolutionary Filmmaking
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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. ...
5. Promoting Popular Genres: Pavel Giroud Revises Conceptions of Cuban Cinema
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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. ...
6. Filming in the Margins: Esteban Insausti Explores Life and Art amidst Chaos
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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. ...
7. Making Space for New Interventions: A Montage from the National Exhibit of New Filmmakers
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“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. ...
Epilogue: Reflections on Cuba, Filmmaking, and the Times Ahead
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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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Page Count: 368
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2009
Series Title: Envisioning Cuba