Arts & Culture

Havana Glasgow Film Festival – Celebrating 60 years of Cuban Cinema

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Now in its fifth year, the Havana Glasgow Film Festival (HGFF) which runs from November 12-16 in Glasgow, continues to celebrate the twinned cities’ shared passion for cinema, music and politics with a vibrant program of film, discussion, workshops and special events.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of ICIAC – Cuba’s institute for Cinema – whose main mission was to use film as a powerful communication tool to educate, mobilize and improve the lives of Cubans. With this in mind, this year’s program will view the history of ICIAC and ask “can film change the world?”

A central focus of the Festival will be the film repertoire of work of a pioneering Cuban filmmaker Tomás Gutiérrez Alea – instrumental in earning Cuban cinema international recognition. His award-winning Strawberry and Chocolate was a groundbreaking film in liberalizing Cuban attitudes towards homosexuality.

Up To a Certain Point is a sharp satire on machismo in Cuban society and the 1960s black comedy Death of a Bureaucrat pokes fun at the Communist bureaucracy. HGFF will pay tribute to the work of Titon, as he was affectionately called, with the screening of a documentary on the life of this prolific film director.

Eirene Houston, HGFF’s director told the press, “I’ve been waiting for the perfect moment to pay tribute to this icon, not just of Cuban cinema but of World Cinema,” “The 60th anniversary of ICAIC and our 5th festival is that moment. And what could be better than having his widow, Mirtha Ibarra, joining HGFF as our special guest. This is something you do not want to miss.”

This year’s guest of honor, Mirtha Ibarra – star of two of the above films and one of the best loved actors in Cuba – will join us , to present her own documentary on her husband.

Jorge Perugorría, star of Strawberry and Chocolate, is another icon of Cuban cinema. Member of the Hollywood Hall of fame and one of Cuba’s most popular actors, he has also had a parallel career as a director, which the festival will focus on with screenings of two of his films – Fatima of Fraternity Park – which tells the moving story of a trans sex worker and For Sale – a dark comedy about contemporary Cuba, where people are forced to go to extreme measures to make a living.

The screenings are part of a wider program – including a Cuban Feast in partnership with Küche, a family percussion workshop, a screenwriting talk with the Festival’s Cuban co-Director Hugo Rivalta and a salsa dance party.

“Community is at the heart of both the cities of Glasgow and Havana. Our festival creates a space where everybody feels welcome, and celebrates our shared humanistic values, and love of culture,” adds Houston.

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