Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The 19th Havana Film Festival in New York April 6-17

Celebrating the Cultural Richness and Diversity of Cuban and Latin American Voices
Homage to Cuban Screenwriter Senel Paz, Tribute to Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Remembering Fernando Birri

14 Films Competing for the Havana Star Prize

The 19th Havana Film Festival in New York (www.HFFNY.com), a project of The American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba (www.AFLFC.org), presents an exceptional program celebrating the diversity of voices and cultural expressions of Cuba and Latin America through inspiring stories told on the big screen, April 6 to 17 2018. All foreign language films will be subtitled in English.
The Festival's program includes a tribute to writer and screenwriter Senel Paz (Strawberry and Chocolate, A Girlfriend for David), the presentation of Cuban classics A Cuban Fight against Demons and The Survivors, restored by the Academy Film Archive and the Cinemateca de Cuba on the occasion of the 90th birth anniversary celebration of one of the most influential directors of the last century-Tomás Gutiérrez Alea; a tribute to the late Argentine filmmaker Fernando Birri, widely considered the father of New Latin American Cinema and a fundamental pillar in the development of cinematography in the continent; the roundtable discussion New York Loves Film by Steven Pelton Senior Project Manager and Laura Berning, Location Manager from the Governor's Office of Motion Picture & Television Development , regarding the incentives NY State gives to productions made within the state; screenings of documentaries about Cuban music as well as World, U.S., and NY premieres of award-winning films at international festivals from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Spain, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Latino-Americans.
The Festival will take place at several venues: Directors Guild Theater (DGA), AMC Loews 34th Street, King Juan Carlos I of Spain at NYU (KJCC), School of Visual Arts, Columbia University, CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan, The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, and The Bronx Museum of the Arts, in the Bronx.
"Women who take the reins of their destiny, young people who lose their innocence- sometimes comically, other times dramatically, on the way to adulthood, journeys wherein music becomes our companion, a serial killer turned our Robin Hood and many more complex characters visit us on this 19th anniversary of the festival," said Diana Vargas, HFFNY artistic director, who added: "In our 2018 program, we offer the boldness and daily life of filmmakers who invite us to look at these vast geographical landscapes and diverse thoughts which make up our Latin America."
HFFNY kicks off on Friday April 6, at 6:00 pm with the free film screening of Mariem Perez and Carlitos Ruiz's From Puerto Rico For the World as part of the program First Fridays! at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. This music documentary produced by Banco Popular explores the Puerto Rican diaspora within the US as well as those in Hawaii, St. Croix and the Dominican Republic, followed by a live performance by Flaco Navaja and the Razor Blades.
Queens Borough joins HFFNY with presentations at the Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI) on Saturday, April 7 at 2:00 p.m. of the Cuban classic recently restored by the Academy and seldom seen on the big screen, A Cuban Fight Against Demons. At 4:30 p.m., Carmen Guarini's documentary, Tie Your Plow to a Star, which intertwines two decades of images in a story immortalizing the spirit of Fernando Birri-a free and honest man who reminds us that utopias are essential for our human survival. Guarini will be present for a Q&A. On Sunday, April 8, 2:00 pm, HFFNY screens The Survivors, another classic restored by the Academy and part of the Festival homage to Tomás Gutiérrez Alea "Titón". At 4:30 pm MOMI hosts the premiere of the Cuban filmmaker Gerardo Chijona's newest filmThe Good Demons, the tale of a serial killer (Carlos Enrique Almirante) who seeks to become the Robin Hood of his neighborhood.
On Wednesday, April 11, 2:00 pm at the AMC Loews 34th, the Festival's main venue, HFFNY officially opens the Havana Star Prize competition with the presentation of The Desert Bride, an Argentine-Chilean co-production with the well-known actress Paulina Garcia (Gloria) and at 3:45 pm the New York premiere of Indestructible, the soul of salsa, a documentary showcasing famous singer Diego El Cigala's musical quest through Latin America for his most recent album Indestructible.
At 6:00 pm, HFFNY rolls out the red carpet to officially welcome the directors and filmscompeting for the Havana Star Prize, with the premiere of Ernesto Daranas's third film,Sergio & Sergei, winner of the Audience Award at the 39th Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana, which tells the true story of a Russian cosmonaut trapped in space during the fall of the USSR and his unlikely friendship with a Cuban philosophy professor who sets out to save him. Tomás Cao, the film's protagonist, will be present.
On Tuesday, April 17 at 6:30 p.m., at the DGA Theater, HFFNY closes with the Havana Star Prize Award Ceremony, followed by the New York Premiere of Cuban Food Stories, a uniquefilm about Cuban food, society and culture. Through 9 stories, Cuban director Asori Soto explores the current culinary landscape of his homeland and offers an idea of what the future may hold. Soto will be in attendance.
This year a total of 14 films compete for the Havana Star Prize in the categories of BestFilm, Director, Script, Actor, Actress and Documentary.


Pablo Solarz | Spain-Argentina | 2017 | Fiction | 86min | NY PREMIERE
An elderly Holocaust survivor decides to undertake a trip from Argentina to Poland to tie up some unfinished business in this charming, funny and notably poignant new film from Argentine director Pablo Solarz.
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST: 4/12 @ 5:00PM
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST: 4/14 @ 7:00PM - Director present for Q&A
Cecilia Atán & Valeria Pivato | Argentina-Chile | 2017 | Fiction | 78min | NY PREMIERE
A delicate tale about the empowerment of a woman who has lived her whole life in the shadow of others, The Hollywood Reporter calls The Desert Bride "a captivating two-hander, as soothing as a desert breeze."
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST: 4/11 @ 2:00PM
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST: 4/15 @ 1PM
Marcelo Gomes | Brazil | 2017 | Fiction | 97min | NY PREMIERE
From acclaimed director, Marcelo Gomes chronicles in a partly fictional, partly historical tale, the life of Brazil's national hero Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, alias Tiradentes.
AMC LOEWS 34ST 4/12 @ 3:00PM
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST 4/15 @ 7:00PM
Marcela Said | Chile | 2017 | Fiction | 94min | NY PREMIERE
Screened at Cannes' 56th Critics' Week, Marcela Said's second feature centers on the complex and compelling figure of Mariana as she dives into the brutal legacy of the Pinochet era through an affair with an older man.
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST 4/13 @ 2:30PM
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST 4/15 @ 9:20PM
Laura Mora | Colombia-Argentina | 2017 | Fiction | 100min | NY PREMIERE
This award-winning feature tells the story of Lita, who a few months after witnessing the murder of her father, crosses paths with a young man she believes to be his killer. Laura Mora's sophomore feature is based on true events.
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST 4/12 @ 1:00PM
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST: 4/16 @ 7:00PM- Director present for Q&A
Gerardo Chijona | Cuba | 2017 | Fiction | 88min | US PREMIERE
A hilarious dark comedy about a modern day Robin Hood (if Robin Hood were a serial killer) starring some of Cuba's biggest names including Carlos Enrique Almirante, Isabel Santos, Enrique Molina and Vladimir Cruz.
Museum of the moving image 4/8 @ 4:30PM
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST: 4/14 @ 9:00PM- Director present for Q&A
Ernesto Daranas Serrano | Spain-Cuba-USA | 2017 | Fiction | 93min | NY PREMIERE
Winner of the Premio Coral del Público at the 39th International Film Festival in Havana, this clever, lovable comedy tells the true story of a Russian cosmonaut trapped in space during the fall of the USSR, and his unlikely friendship with the Cuban philosophy professor who sets out to save him, featuring the award-winning Ron Perlman and two of Cuba's hottest actors, Tomás Cao and Hector Noas.
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST: 4/11 @ 6:00PM- Actors Tomas Cao & Idalmis Garcia present for Q&A
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST 4/16 @ 5:00PM
Juan Carlos Maneglia & Tana Schémbori | Paraguay | 2017 | Fiction | 102min | NY PREMIERE
Following the success of their highly acclaimed debut 7 cajas, Paraguayan directors Maneglia & Schémbori return with Los buscadores, a hilarious high-action comedy about two young boys searching for a buried treasure.
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST: 4/15 @ 4:45PM, Director Juan Carlos Maneglia present for Q&A
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST: 4/16 @ 9:15PM, Director Juan Carlos Maneglia present for Q&A
Judith Escalona | USA | 2016 | Fiction | 103min | NY PREMIERE
For Maria and Mona, graduation means fulfilling a dream. For Michael, it means dashing all hope of a better future. You either make the grade or you don't- in academics or love- and that makes all the difference.
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST: 4/12@ 8:30PM, Director Judith Escalona present for Q&A

David Pareja | Spain | 2017 | Documentary | 78min | NY PREMIERE
This musical documentary follows Spanish flamenco singer Diego "El Cigala" as he embarks on a journey to make a salsa record. With stops in Cali, Havana, Punta Cana, San Juan, Miami and New York, Indestructible is a musical tour-de-force, enlisting the likes of Omara Portuondo, Larry Harlow and the Fania All-Stars as our guides.
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST: 4/11@ 3:40PM
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST: 4/13@ 6:50PM, Director David Pareja present for Q&A
Freddie Marrero Alfonso | Puerto Rico-Venezuela | 2017 | Documentary | 75min | NY PREMIERE
The story of a professional musician who abandons his trumpet and family to live the clandestine life of an armed revolutionary for Puerto Rican independence. Filiberto follows the tragic tale of Filiberto Ojeda Ríos.
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST: 4/13 @ 1.00PM
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST: 4/14 @ 2:45PM, Director Freddie Marrero Alfonso present for Q&A
Cruz Gustavo Pérez & Oneyda González| Cuba | 2016 | Documentary | 66min | NY PREMIERE
Following the life of Cuban writer Severo Sarduy, this is the true story of a man ahead of his time, deceived by his circumstances.
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST: 4/12 @ 6:45PM- Director present for Q&A
Carmen Guarini / Argentina / 2017 / Documentary / 82 min / NY PREMIERE
Do utopias still exist? This is the question Argentine filmmaker Fernando Birri asked everyone. Guarani, in her inspiring documentary, weaves two decades of footage together in a story that immortalizes the spirit of a free, honest man who reminds us how essential utopias are to our survival as humans.
AMC LOEWS 34TH ST 4/14 @ 1:00PM
Dacio Malta | Brazil | 2016 | Documentary | 2016 | 87min
Dacio Malta chronicles the long, fascinating story of Havana's most famous jazz club, Gato Tuerto, in all its bohemian glory and creative bliss in this captivating, star-studded documentary.
AMC LOEWS 34ST 4/15 @ 2:45PM- Director present for Q&A
Additionally, HFFNY will host the world premiere of I Killed My Husband! from director Francisco Lupini; a hilarious and charming black comedy starring superstars María Conchita Alonso and Assumpta Serna who live up to their reputation in a story of murders, deceptions, lavish parties and female friendships.

Special Programs - Free and Open to the Public
HFFNY is proud to be able to collaborate with the Cuban Program at the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) at Columbia University, for the presentation of the first segment of the Television Serrana (TVS) program celebrating their 25th anniversary, entitled "Rhythms of the Rural Landscape," curated by Ann Marie Stock, professor and Vice-Provost at the College of William And Mary, in collaboration with Carlos Rodriguez, a TVS filmmaker. This program seeks to introduce audiences to a wide range of styles and themes, which make up the work of the organization, as well as the achievements of participating filmmakers. Carlos Rodriguez and Ann Marie Stock will be present.
On Tuesday, April 9, the tribute to TV Serrana continues at the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center (KJCC) of New York University, entitled "Portraits of Mountain People," with 6 winning documentaries at different festivals. HFFNY also presents the talk, New York LovesFilm, where representatives of the Governor's Office of Motion Picture and Television Development will explain the benefits offered by the state to productions made in New York.
On Wednesday, April 11, 4:00 pm, as part of the tribute to the late Fernando Birri, HFFNY presents, together with the Bildner Center of the CUNY Graduate Center, his classic film A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings followed by a conversation between Professor Jerry Carlson and screenwriter Senel Paz, who is the main honoree of the 19th HFFNY, and an expert of Gabriel García Marquez's work.
On Monday, April 16, 6:30 pm at the School of Visual Arts, Cuban actress Mirtha Ibarra (Hasta cierto punto and Strawberry and Chocolate), Cuban actor and director, Jorge Perugorría (Strawberry and Chocolate, Amor crónico) and Colombian actor and scriptwriter Sebastian Ospina, will speak about the challenges actors face regarding scripts, different directing styles and their opinions about non-professional actors.
More information and details of the festival as well as the complete program is available atwww.hffny.com.

HFFNY 2018 is grateful for the support of NBC/Telemundo 47, El Diario/La Prensa, the Cuban FilmInstitute (ICAIC), Aguijón Films, Consulate General of Spain in NY, Consulate of Paraguay in NY, Consulate General of Argentina in NY. As well as our collaborators Queens Latino, Ron Barceló and Roger Smith Hotel.
HFFNY is made possible with the generous help of public funds granted by the New York State Council on the Arts and the Honorable Governor of the State of New York, Andrew Cuomo, the legislature of the State of New York and the support, in part, of the Public Funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in collaboration with the City Council of New York.


The 19th Havana Film Festival NY announced the Havana Star Prize Winners during its Closing Night Ceremony at the New York Directors Guild Theatre in Manhattan. Joaquim by Marcelo Gomes (Brazil) won the Havana Star Prize for Best Feature as well as Best DirectorBest Screenplay went to Ernesto Daranas and Martha Daranas for Sergio & Sergei (Cuba), Best Actor to Argentinean marvel Miguel Solá for The Last Suit (El último traje)and Best Actress to Antonia Zegers for Los Perros (Chile)Best Documentary went to Filiberto directed by Freddie Marrero (Puerto Rico). Special Jury Mentions went to feature film The Desert Bride (La novia del desierto) by Valeria Pivato and Cecilia Atan (Argentina) and to the documentary Severo Secreto by Cuban filmmakers Gustavo Perez and Oneyda Gonzalez. The jury in the fiction category included director Rafi Mercado,actors Laura Gomez and Sebastian Ospina, while the jury in the documentary category consisted of Cuban film critic Luciano Castillo and director Julian Troksberg.

Source: Havana Film Festival in New York

(updated 4/18/2018)
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