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.)