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Cuba’s Film Library to face new challenges

By Luciano Castillo
Source Granma 16.02.2016

Cinemateca de Cuba
Cuba's Cinematheque

Although during  2015, a year commemorating the institution’s 55th anniversary, the Film Library did not propose  among its multiple plans the digitalization of its new seat  at the 23 y 12 movie theatre, thanks  to the efforts of Iván Giroud, director of the New Latin American International Film Festival, last December was inaugurated the most modern equipment of its kind in Cuba as per contribution of the Istituto LuceCinecittà and the Dirección General de Cinematografía del Ministerio de Bienes y Actividades Culturales of the Italian Republic with the collaboration of the Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo.

Parallel to its internal reorganization stage, the Film Library intends to recover its foundational principles to treasure the whole Cuban cinema and not only ICAIC’s production. In this sense, was stimulated the agreement to restore two important Tomás Gutiérrez Alea films: Una pelea cubana contra los demonios and Los sobrevivientes, already in process at the Hollywood Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Contacts with the Bologna’s Film Library, consecrated to the restoration of the world film patrimony and the formation of specialists in this subject are very soon expected due to their interest in assisting in this undefeatable effort.

The monthly Cine Club Orson Welles—co-sponsored with the Cuban Association of the Cinematographic Press—offers important premieres while at the Joris Ivens space, Antonio Mazón, critic and program specialist of the Film Library presents relevant international documentaries.

Ojeada al cine cubano offers each Tuesday a recall of the history of the national cinema with the presence of filmmakers and actors of the programmed titles and for the period February-April announces the cycle Otras miradas a la década prodigiosa de los sesenta, formed by non-very known documentaries and feature films.

The presence of the great Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami to inaugurate a retrospective of his work was the first visit of a group of relevant figures of the contemporary cinema; for the next months were scheduled the Japanese Naomi Kawase and the Russian Serguei Lotnitsa. The 18th French Film Festival has several surprises while is being evaluated the possible celebration in a near future of an important Italian Film Festival.

A cardinal purpose of the Film Library is to conclude the remodeling of the 23 y 12 movie theatre—lighted sign restored by the contribution of visual artist Kadir. The center includes the Café Buñuel (in collaboration with EGREM recording house), the book store Gérard Philipe, first of its kind in Cuba, specialized in cinema (by ICAIC National Distribution Films and the French Film Library), and the preparation of an arts exhibition gallery and a small film screening room with the support of the Ministry of Culture.

Other projects in different stages are the opening of the Media Library “Héctor García Mesa”, the recovery of the Cinemateca en TV program and the encouragement of the old dream to have a cinema museum. Also in project are the publication of several books coordinated with different editorial houses: La Palma, from Spain (Bitácora del cine cubano, in three volumes and El cartel cubano llama dos veces); Letras Cubanas publishing house (50 años de cine cubano: 1959-2008); Oriente publishing house (Coordenadas del Cine Cubano and El nacimiento de una pasión.El cine en Cuba 1897-2014, from María E. Douglas) and Ediciones La Memoria publishing house from the Centro Cultural Pablo de la Torriente Brau (Los días de Manuel Octavio Gómez, from Jorge Calderón).  

Institution and essential reference in the program of promotion of the audiovisual culture, the Cuba’s Film Library will give special attention to the re-design of the program of the children and juvenile film archives for its incidence in the formation of the today and tomorrow new publics.

Translation: Liana Fleitas (Cubarte)

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