Havana Film Festival New York 2015 Premiere


April 9, 2015


New York City


This week, the Havana Film Festival New York (HFFNY) will celebrate its sixteenth year, featuring over 45 films from across the Americas. From April 9 to 17, venues across New York City will showcase panels, discussions with directors and producers, and films from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, the U.S., and Venezuela.

Music is the theme of this year’s festival—with a particular focus on Cuban music, as this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Cuban Director Rogelio París’ groundbreaking film, Nosotros La Música (We Are the Music). According to the artistic director of the HFFNY, Diana Vargas, “Cuban music has a very unique voice, [with] roots in jazz, pop and rock. So we wanted a program that [showcased] that, with many singers and many voices.”

This year’s festival will also feature a special panel and screenings in honor of renowned Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez. Two Cuban films, Alejandrito y el Cuco (Alex and the Boogie Man) and Fernanda y el Extraño Caso de Dr. X y Míster Jai (Fernanda and the Strange Case of Dr. X and Mr. Jai) , as well as the Argentine film Choele, will also be part of a special program for children.

Eighteen films will compete for the Havana Star Prize for Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Documentary. This year’s contenders include productions such as Boccaccerías Habaneras (Boccaccio in Havana), the opening night film from acclaimed Cuban director Arturo Sotto, and Llévate Mis Amores (All of Me), a documentary paying homage to the Mexican citizens working tirelessly to provide food and other provisions for the Central Americans travelling on la bestia, the network of freight trains making the journey north to the U.S., among others.  

Since its inception, the Havana Film Festival, in partnership with American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, has aimed to create cultural bridges between Cuba and the United States. The festival will be more relevant than ever in the context of the renewed diplomatic relations between the two countries, announced in December 2014. Along with the normalization of relations, many filmmakers and cinema fans from both countries are hopeful for new opportunities for collaboration.

“The announcement in December 2014 was, for us, a natural thing; it reflects the times we're living in. One thing for sure is that we'll have more people interested in knowing about Cuba. We'll have many filmmakers coming, and we hope people will enjoy the possibility to talk with them,” said Vargas. However, she also notes, “this festival is not only about Cuban cinema but a celebration [of] Latin American cinema; Latinos in the U.S. and their peoples, their stories.”

The HFFNY will close on Friday April 17 with the Havana Star Prize ceremony and a screening of the Mexican production Gloria. For a full schedule of film screenings, visit the Havana Film Festival New York website (http://www.hffny.com/2015/).

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