Cuba: A different look from the Antilles

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To exhibit Cuban cinema in most of the world’s screens is one of the main goals of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC) that for over fifty years has had a permanent presence in the most important audiovisual markets and has promoted the work of several generations of Cuban filmmakers.

A kind of cinema produced for the consumption of an intelligent and informed audience, with a wide taste and critical eye, marked the audiovisual style of our industry with very few historical precedents in the region. It gained strength and recognition since early sixties of the past century.

Characterized as auteur and as a broad social communication at a national level, the Cuban cinema has had to cope with an international environment where, to a large extent, the concept of cinema as entertainment spectacle has primacy over the film as an artistic product. Films produced by ICAIC in these five decades have systematically been present and had succeed in far corners.

For over thirty years the first international Cuban film distributor: ICAIC Group of International Sales and Production, has fulfilled this role within the Cuban film institute with a catalog of more than five hundred fiction features and more than a thousand documentaries and animated films, covering all genres, from comedy to war drama, through musicals and with paradigmatic titles within the Latin American audiovisual spectrum.

Among its most important titles are the works of Tomas Gutierrez Alea (Memories of underdevelopment, Death of a bureaucrat, The Twelve chairs, Strawberry and Chocolate) by filmmaker Humberto Solás (Lucia, A successful man, Cecilia, Honey for Oshun) and animated films made by Juan Padrón (Vampires in Havana, Elpidio Valdes).

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The possibility of making available to filmmakers around the world one of the most completed film archives is one of the luxuries offered by the national cinematography, among its jewels it should be highlight the Noticiero ICAIC Latinoamericano (Latin-American newsreel) founded and directed by filmmaker Santiago Alvarez, who with his work left testimony of the third world history from the sixties until the nineties. This outstanding work been listed by UNESCO as Memory of the world and currently its restoration and preservation is undertaken in collaboration with international organizations.

The Havana International New Latin-American  Film Festival, which took place last December, released three ICAIC films: Cuba Libre, by Jorge Luis Sanchez, Dancing with Margot, by Arturo Santana and The human thing by Gerardo Chijona.

Distribution of Cuban cinema has not been the only goal of the work of ICAIC Group of International Sales and Production, the searching for production funds through mechanisms such as, presales or co-production agreements have also been among the achievements of this team of work for many years. Many Cuban films have been produced in co-production: for instance, the emblematic Soy Cuba by Mikhail Kalatosov.

On the other hand, there are also countless audiovisual services to foreign film producers who have been successively selected Cuba as a location for shooting and ICAIC has an audiovisual service provider.

The possibility that audiences around the world enjoy the taste of the Caribbean islands through films produced in the Greater Antilles is an attractive offer provided by ICAIC Group of International Sales and Production.

By Gustavo Fernández