The Havana Film Festival NY, a project of American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, returns to theaters to present an exceptional program celebrating the diversity of voices and cultural expressions of Ibero America and its diaspora through stories inspiring on the big screen, November 5-11, 2021.
All screenings, panels and special events are held in person at the Village East Cinema (181-189 2nd Avenue, NYC). Festival guests, attendees and staff must be fully immunized and must wear a mask at all times except when eating.
“Over the past 18 months, the world has appreciated the vital importance of art and the creativity of artists who have kept us at home in quarantine in a kinder way, but we have also realized how much film festivals are fundamental in their social function which is to bring together different voices in a close space like the cinema This edition of the Havana Film Festival NY wants to present films that represent, not only a dozen Ibero-American countries, but also themes that can produce laughter, create uncomfortable moments or deep reflections perceive and relate to the realities of Latin America or/and immigrant Latinos,” explains Diana Vargas, Artistic Director of HFFNY.
HFFNY makes its long-awaited return to theaters on Friday, November 5 at 6:30 p.m. with a red carpet to celebrate its opening ceremony and the New York premiere of the multi-award-winning Colombian film El Olvido que seremos/Memories of my Father, featuring the courtesy of Cohen Media Group. Directed by Oscar-winner Fernando Trueba and starring beloved actor Javier Cámara, it tells the true story of a Colombian doctor who cares for both his own children and those of the underprivileged in the violent 1970s in Medellin. Based on the book of the same name by acclaimed author Hector Abad Facilionce who will be present at the screening to discuss the film and its story, and answer questions from the audience. In collaboration with NYU’s King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center (www.KJCC.org)
On Thursday, November 11 at 6:30 p.m., the Festival will close with the Havana Star Prize award ceremony, followed by the New York premiere of acclaimed Spanish filmmaker Icíar Bollaín’s powerful new film, Maixabel, the inspiring true story of a woman (Blanca Portillo, Volver) who decides to take a brave step towards coexistence and peace by agreeing to confront the imprisoned ETA terrorist behind the murder of her husband (Luis Tosar, Cella 211). After the screening, there will be an in-person Q&A with Bollaín. The evening is co-presented in collaboration with NYU KJCC.
The Festival program includes a tribute to two beloved Cuban filmmakers who died earlier this year: Enrique Pineda Barnet (1933-2021), the genius behind films that offered a rich introspective and experimental perspective as a path to generations of Latino filmmakers -Americans interested in exploring the concept of avant-garde cinema, and Juan Carlos Tabío (1943-2021), who proved that comedy in cinema is serious business that can teach us about ourselves and society in which we live without relying on political rhetoric. In memory of these iconic artists, the Festival will screen the newly restored versions of Giselle (1965) by Pineda Barnet on Sunday, November 7 at 8:00 p.m., accompanied by a Q&A with Cuban actor Hector Noas, and Se permuta / House Swap by Tabío (1983) on Tuesday, November 9 at 3:00 p.m. Also included is the Writing Inspiration: From Ideas to Storytelling panel, in which filmmakers from across the Ibero-American Diaspora discuss the process of coming up with ideas for their films and the difference between an idea and a story. This panel, free and open to the public, takes place on Tuesday, November 9 at 5:00 p.m.
Along with a stellar lineup of documentaries and feature films, the 21st HFFNY celebrates Ibero-American stories told in short form with a series of shorts featuring experimental, animated, documentary and fictional works, including: willard morgan‘s Vestiphobia Cuba, which follows and builds on a Cuban-American collaborative live art extravaganza; Flying Pigoen by Daniel Santoyo, a Cuban thriller that unpacks the intergenerational divides of two assailants waiting to commit a robbery; Ivan Kotevski’s The Angel’s Cave, an out-of-this-world sci-fi animation; Carlos Barba’s story of an eye-opening mother-daughter journey through Cuba, Las Polacas/The Polacks; the biting vignette by Alberto Ferrera on the consequences of a crazy party, lesson n°4; Cristian Peña’s chilling story about a man driven to extremes by his bizarre obsession, Dante; and El Cine libertario / The Libertarian Cinema, a revealing documentary on Spanish anarchist cinema.
This year, a total of 19 films are competing for the Havana Star Prize in the Best Film, Director, Screenplay, Actor, Actress and Documentary categories.