14th Havana Film Festival New York announces lineup


The 14th annual Havana Film Festival New York (HFFNY), presented by the American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba (AFLFC), announced its lineup. More than 45 films from and about Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinos in the U.S. will screen April 12-19 at six venues in three New York boroughs.

The festival will showcase 28 New York premieres, five U.S. premieres, and three world premieres from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua, Spain, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and the U.S.

"We are very proud to have built a solid presence in New York City's busy cultural landscape as a convergence point for established and emerging Latino filmmakers. Every year, we offer our audience a passport to Latin American film realms that allow them to step outside of their comfort zones and explore uncharted narratives," stated HFFNY's artistic director Diana Vargas.

Carole Rosenberg, president of AFLFC, noted, "Our mission, to develop cultural ties between the U.S. and Cuba as well as its Latin American context, is brought to life by each one of the wonderful films included in our festival. As Cuba continues its transition process, new opportunities for interaction are opening up, and this year's films definitely reflect it."

A kick-off screening of Havana, Havana! will take place on April 5 as part of First Fridays! at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. The documentary depicts a special concert by an outstanding lineup of Cuban music stars including Descemer Bueno, Kelvis Ochoa and David Torrens. The artists, who had left Cuba many years ago, return to add a new spirit to Cuban music.

On April 12, HFFNY's official opening night will feature the New York premiere of Amor Crónico (Chronic Love), the directorial debut of Cuban star Jorge Perugorría. The film documents New York-based, Grammy-nominated Cuban singer CuCu Diamantes’ musical tour, as she return to her roots while performing in several Cuban cities. Both Perugorría and Diamantes will present the screening, followed by a party at Iguana Restaurant. The singer will perform the film's soundtrack at a special concert at Joe's Pub on April 13.

HFFNY will wrap up on April 19 with the Havana Star Prize awards ceremony and the New York premiere of 7 Cajas (7 Boxes), the Paraguayan festival hit by Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schembori. The film depicts the story of Víctor, a poor delivery boy at Municipal Market No. 4 in Asunción, Paraguay, whose life hinges on the seven mysterious boxes in his wheelbarrow. 7 Cajas was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Premios Goya (Spain's Oscars) and won awards at Festival de San Sebastián and Cartagena Film Festival. Director Juan Carlos Maneglia will present the screening, and a party at Copacabana Nightclub will follow.

This year festival's honoree, Argentinean filmmaker, writer and painter Fernando Birri, is considered the father of New Latin American Cinema. A retrospective of his work will include the New York premiere of his latest film, Fausto Criollo; Vanishing Landscapes, directed by Eliseo Subiela and featuring Birri as the main character; and Tire Die and Che The Death of the Utopia.

“A Flashback at the History of Cuban Cinema: Films Before the Revolution,” a series of Cuban films made between 1906 and 1958 and mostly unseen in the U.S., offers a panorama of the pioneers of Cuban filmmaking. The program, curated by Cuban film critic and writer Luciano Castillo, foregrounds the work of Enrique Diaz Quezada, known as the "Father of National Cinematography”; the prolific Ramón Peón; and Ernesto Caparrós, creator of the first motion picture with sound in the history of Cuban film.

For the full festival schedule, visit www.HFFNY.com.