Havana Film Festival. The Cuban event first took place in 1979 with the aim of encouraging the work of Spanish language filmmakers.
The Havana Film Festival takes place every year during the first two weeks of December and is one of the most important events in the cinematic calendar for film directors, producers and actors from all over Latin America.
Also known as the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema, the Cuban event first took place on 3rd December 1979 with the aim of encouraging the work of Spanish language filmmakers. With more than 600 Latin American film directors responding to the first call of the Cuban Institute of the Cinematographic Art and Industry, the Festival has gone from strength to strength and built a sturdy reputation over the years as a promotional device for Latin films, as well as a stage for Latin American culture. What’s more, the 34th edition of the Festival was held in Cuba and three of the twenty-one Latin American features presented in the primary competition category were Cuban, making the annual event a particularly special occasion.
The Cuban Film Festival in Havana not only presents feature productions, but also documentaries, animation films and short films, ensuring all bases of the Latin American film world are covered. The program of events consists of six separate categories, which include Official Section in Competition, Latin America in Perspective and International Forum of Childhood and its Audiovisual Universe. The latter has a special significance due to its role in furthering the education of children and adolescents in cinema and inspiring potential new talent in the industry. Furthermore, while the principal purpose of the Festival is to promote Latin American cinema, audiences are also given the chance to view films from countries all across the world; French, German, Serbian, Polish and Spanish productions have previously played a role in the proceedings, serving to enhance the cinematic repertoire of Latina America’s audiences.
As well as Cubans, there is also a wealth of other representatives at the Festival who travel to Havana from countries all over Latin American, including Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Chile. Due to the immense diversity of the films shown, many well-known faces in the cinematic world have attended the prestigious event, such as Pedro Almodóvar, Jack Nicholson, Robert de Niro and Steven Spielberg. What’s more, the respected Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez acted as one of the judges at the very first event in 1979. With such a variety of famous faces on the list of attendees, the Cuban Festival has garnered international recognition and acclaim.
From its promising beginnings in the late 1970s to its ongoing success in the present day, this two-week film extravaganza in Cuba continues to delight and excite audiences from all over the world and draw an immense crowd of producers, directors, actors and enthusiastic fans to its doors.