Part two of the series begins with the rescheduled screening of The Hands and the Angel and They Exist on Thursday, April 7th at 5:00 pm in Haskell Hall, Room 315.  Director Esteban Insausti and his editor and collaborator Angélica Salvador will present these two short documentaries followed by an open discussion with the filmmakers.

The series concludes with a screening of short digital films from young contemporary Cuban filmmakers on Friday, April 8th at the Film Studies Center at 7:00 pm. Cuban filmmakers Alina Rodríguez Abreu, Esteban Insausti, and Angélica Salvador will present these works and talk about their own experiences with independent digital filmmaking in Cuba.

For more information about these screenings, please view the postings below for the rescheduled workshop and digital shorts screening.

Actress Annia Bu presents Long Distance on February 25th at 7:00 pm at the University of Chicago Film Studies Center. She will discuss her work on the film and the impact of digital technologies on Cuban filmmaking today. Unfortunately, Esteban Insausti and Angélica Salvador will be unable to attend at this time. As a result, the February 24th screening is postponed until further notice. Stay tuned to this blog site for more information and updates to the program.

Still from They Exist. Courtesy of Esteban Insausti.

A Workshop with Cuban Filmmakers Esteban Insausti and Angélica Salvador

Thursday, April 7th
5:00 PM
Haskell Hall 315
University of Chicago

Cuban director Esteban Insausti and his editor and collaborator Angélica Salvador present the independent documentary shorts, Las manos y el angel (The Hands and the Angel) and Existen (They Exist).

Insausti made the independent short, The Hands and the Angel, using cameras borrowed from friends and colleagues. The end result is a beautiful homage to Cuban jazz musician, Emiliano Salvador. Merging six different video and sound formats with archival footage, the short’s stunning experimental language provides the visual expression of Salvador’s avantgarde music.

(Esteban Insausti, 2002, mixed video, 27 min.)

In They Exist, Insausti interviews Havana residents considered crazy by most, weaving their moments of lucidity and insight into a moving meditation on contemporary Cuba. This independent documentary combines footage shot on Hi8, Betacam, and mini-DV with 35 mm archival footage.

(Esteban Insausti, 2005, mixed video and mini-DV, 27 min.)

This event is co-coordinated with the Caribbean Studies, Latin American History, Mass Culture, and New Media Workshops.

Still from Long Distance. Courtesy of Esteban Insausti.

Special Director’s Preview and Evening with Cuban Film Actress Annia Bu Maure
Friday, February 25th
7:00 pm
Film Studies Center
University of Chicago

* Seating is limited. Please click here to reserve seat(s) for this event at the Film Studies Center website.

Introduction by Laura-Zoë Humphreys, Ph.D. candidate, Departments of Cinema & Media Studies and Anthropology.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba entered a long economic crisis designated the “Special Period in Times of Peace” by Fidel Castro. Cubans, especially youth, left the country in vast numbers for the United States and other nations.

Esteban Insausti’s first feature, Larga Distancia (Long Distance), explores the emotional impact of this mass exodus on his generation. Based on Insausti’s own experience, Long Distance tells the story of a woman who on her 35th birthday finds that she has lost all of her friends to this crisis. To console herself, she spends an evening reinventing the best of her past life and friendships.

With Long Distance, Insausti takes the skills and techniques he learned through independent filmmaking back into work at the state film institute. Using an affordable HD P2 camera and a minimal budget, Long Distance takes part in Cuba’s return to nationally funded cinema after a long period of dependence on foreign co-productions.

(Esteban Insausti, 2010, HD, 90 min.)

Still from El patio de mi casa. Image courtesy of Patricia Ramos.

An Evening with Cuban Filmmakers Alina Rodríguez Abreu, Esteban Insausti, and Angélica Salvador.

Digital Shorts by Young Cuban Filmmakers

Friday, April 8th
7:00 pm
Film Studies Center
University of Chicago

* Seating is limited. Please click here to reserve seats for this event at the Film Studies Center website.

Introduction by Laura-Zoë Humphreys, Ph.D. candidate, Departments of Cinema & Media Studies and Anthropology.

For most of the Cuban Revolution, the state film institute (ICAIC) has produced and distributed almost all Cuban films. Since the late 1990s, however, digital technologies have enabled both the decentralization of film production and an explosion of work by new Cuban filmmakers. Drawing on new production methods, subject matter, and film styles, emergent filmmakers are producing short fictions, documentaries, and even features either independently or under the auspices of Cuba’s two film schools. Cuban filmmakers Alina Rodríguez Abreu, Esteban Insausti, and Angélica Salvador, key figures in this wave of Cuban digital filmmaking, will present some of the best of these works. Ranging from documentaries to fiction, comedies to contemplative dramas, these shorts reveal young Cubans’ varied perspectives on life and art.

Arturo Infante’s Utopia. A group of domino players, three women, and a teacher and his student engage in a conversation about art that becomes lively in unexpected ways. (Arturo Infante, 2004, Guagua & Co, MiniDV, 13 min.)

Alejandro Ramírez’s DeMoler (Demolition). After centuries in which Cuban economic and social life was organized around sugar production, the Cuban government closed half of its sugar mills in 2002 and 2003. This beautiful elegy for the mill registers the feelings of workers as they watch their way of life disappear. (Alejandro Ramírez, 2004, FAMCA and Producciones CANEK, DVCam, 12 min.)

Alina Rodríguez’s Buscandote Havana (Looking for Havana). Every year, Cubans from the Eastern part of the island (orientales) immigrate to Havana in search of a better life, defying state laws that restrict where people can live. This compelling documentary offers a revealing glimpse into their lives and struggles in their illegal settlements on the outskirts of the capital. (Alina Rodríguez, 2006, Estracaza, MiniDV, 21 min.)

Patricia Ramos Hernández’s El patio de mi casa (My Patio). A woman washes her family’s laundry and dreams. In the midst of grandparents, children, and clotheslines, dreams and reality intermingle. (Patricia Ramos Hernández, 2007, Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial Center, DVCam, 13 min.)

Alina Rodríguez’s El color de Elisa (The Color of Elisa). Lucas and Elisa are united by their love for the cinema. Believing that in Elisa he has found his muse, Lucas films her every instant until his obsession pushes their relationship to its limit. (Alina Rodríguez, 2010, Producciones Adrenalina and Cinergia, MiniDV, 18 min.)

Still from They Exist. Courtesy of Esteban Insausti.

Esteban Insausti’s Existen (They Exist). In They Exist, Insausti interviews Havana residents considered crazy by most, weaving their moments of lucidity and insight into a moving meditation on contemporary Cuba. This independent documentary combines footage shot on Hi8, Betacam, and mini-DV with 35 mm archival footage.  (Esteban Insausti, 2005, mixed video and mini-DV, 27 min.)