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From Cuba to Gotham: Havana FF Comes To New York

 

The Havana Film Festival New York (HFFNY) launches its second decade, April 16-23, with a program of award-winning films, panel discussions, and Q&A sessions with noted international filmmakers, actors and producers. Over 40 highly anticipated and influential films from and about Latin America, the Caribbean and Latinos in the U.S. will be screened. A variety of genres and themes from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, U.S. and Uruguay, ranging from comedy, thrillers, drama, film noir and children’s tales, as well as films and documentaries about the influence of music and dance are all part of this year’s Festival.

 

On April 16th, HFFNY opens with the New York premiere of the Brazilian film, Veronica, at the Quad Cinema, the Festival’s primary screening venue. The Opening Night Ceremony and Screening takes place at the New York Directors Guild Theatre, 110 West 57th Street, with the New York premiere of Los Dioses Rotos, the box office sensation and award-winning film by Cuban director Ernesto Daranas. Actress Silvia Aguila will present the film.

Since its inception, HFFNY has recognized and celebrated some of the most illustrious Latin American filmmakers in the industry. Continuing this tradition, HFFNY 2010 honors renowned Cuban writer, director, poet, actor and dramatist Enrique Pineda Barnet, who has given the public more than 4 decades of unforgettable cinema. HFFNY pays him tribute with screenings of Cosmorama, considered the precursor to the contemporary video art movement, and today is part of the permanent collection at the Centro Reina Sofia de España (Queen Sofia of Spain Center); La Bella de la Alhambra, Best Picture winner of the prestigious Goya award; and La Anunciación, his most recent film about the reunion of state-side Cubans and their families.

As the festival enters its second decade, HFFNY established the Havana Star Prize to recognize the work of outstanding filmmakers in the categories of Best Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. The first Havana Star prizes will be awarded at the Closing Night Ceremony on April 23rd at 7 pm at the New York Directors Guild Theatre. Internationally renowned Cuban artist, Yoan Capote, designed the Havana Star Prize especially for HFFNY. The recipients will be chosen by three prominent members of the film industry, producers Michael Hausman (Gangs of New York, Brokeback Mountain, The People vs. Larry Flynt), Sandy Lieberson (The Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus, Stardust) and director Louis Perego (President of National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) NY Chapter, owner of Skyline Features, a bilingual (English and Spanish) multimedia and educational production company.

 

The fifteen films competing for the first Havana Star Prize are:

  • Los Dioses Rotos (Broken Gods) – a love triangle within the modern day Cuban underworld recalls the life of famous politician and pimp Alberto Yarini. Director Ernesto Daranas, Cuba

  • Dawson Isla 10 (Dawson Island) – the harrowing ordeal of deposed President Allende’s cabinet after the 1973 coup who are determined to survive political imprisonment. Director Miguel Littin, Chile

  • La Pasión de Gabriel (Gabriel’s Passion) – a young priest, caught in the middle of a civil war he doesn’t understand, struggles with his love for the church and a young lady. Director Luis Alberto Restrepo, Colombia

  • Hermafrodita – a touching story about a young girl’s struggle in the 60’s to keep her dual sexuality a secret. Director Albert Xavier, Dominican Republic

  • La Bodega (The Warehouse) – a young man and his best friend seek to avenge his sister’s brutal assault. Director Ray Figueroa, Guatemala

  • Huacho – a beautifully conceived story about the struggles of a peasant family in Chile. Winner of the Opera Prima prize at the Festival del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano de La Habana (New Latin American Cinema of Havana). Director Alejandro Fernandez, Chile

  • La Tigra, Chaco – a sweet and touching story of a young man who, while visiting his father, finds love with an old childhood friend. Directors Federico Godfrid and Juan Sasiaín, Argentina

  • Memories of Overdevelopment – the long-awaited sequel to Tomás Gutierrez Alea’s classic Memorias del Subdesarrollo (Memories of Underdevelopment). Director Miguel Coyula, Cuba

  • Miente (Lie) – an edgy, visually stunning psychological thriller told through the eyes of a young artist. Director Rafi Mercado, Puerto Rico

  • Castro – based on a Samuel Beckett novel, a woman searches for her wayward husband with the help of three hapless men. Director Alejo Moguillansky, Argentina

  • Veronica – the story of an elementary school teacher who while escorting one of her students home, discovers his slain parents and they are forced to go on the run to try to save themselves. Director Mauricio Farias, Brazil

  • El Premio Flaco (The “Booby” Prize) – a comedy about how to laugh at despair when a woman is lifted out of poverty after winning a lottery. Directors Juan Carlos Cremata and Iraida Malberti, Cuba

  • Crónicas Chilangas (Chilango Chronicles) – the intersecting lives of three people in Mexico City - an honest retired teacher, a young man who believes in extraterrestrials and a woman addicted to porn. Director Carlos Enderle, Mexico

  • Libertador Morales, El Justiciero an honest motorcycle-taxi driver and law-abiding citizen, Libertador Morales becomes El Justiciero, an avenging hero who foils the crime spree of a local Caracas street gang. Director Efterpi Charalambidis, Venezuela

  • Historias Extraordinarias (Extraordinary Stories) a visually stunning and award-winning film that weaves together three separate and seemingly unconnected stories. Director Mariano Llinas, Argentina

For a complete schedule of events and venues, please log on to www.hffny.com/2010

Sandy Mandelberger, Film New York Editor

 

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The Ultimate Guide to the New York Film, Video and New Media Scene.

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