Friday, March 28, 2014


Press Release


Photo courtesy of HFFNY

45-Latin American Film Line-Up Features a Record 24 Cuban Films Spanning 55 Years of Filmmaking in the Island
16 Films Compete for the coveted Havana Star Prize

NEW YORK - Havana Film Festival New York (HFFNY), a project of American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba (AFLFC), will celebrate its 15th anniversary April 3-11, 2014, with a first-rate program showcasing 45 films from and about Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinos in the United States. This year's line-up includes a record 24 Cuban films spanning 55 years of filmmaking in the island. The festival also features films from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Spain, Guatemala, Panama, Puerto Rico and the U.S., screening throughout Manhattan, Queens, and The Bronx, with Quad Cinema in Manhattan as the main venue. All foreign language films are subtitled in English.

"We want to celebrate our 15th anniversary by emphasizing the need to strengthen that meeting point where Latin America and the United States are perceived beyond the clichés and stereotypes usually assigned to each region through programming that highlights divergent and daring genres," said Diana Vargas, artistic director of HFFNY. "Along these lines, we welcome a unique open dialogue with the presence of over 17 Cuban filmmakers that represent the different generations and ways of producing films in today's Cuba."

Photo courtesy of The Bronx Museum of the Arts

HFFNY will warm up its engines on March 28 at 6pm with a free screening of 100 Sones Cubanos by composer and musician Edesio Alejandro as part of the First Fridays! event at The Bronx Museum of the Arts. This entertaining documentary traces the roots of Son, one of the most popular music rhythms in the island, through a travelogue to identify the 100 most representative songs of the genre.

"The strength of our 15th edition clearly reflects the continuity and endurance of American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba's mission," said Carole Rosenberg, President of AFLFC. "By sharing with our New York audience and visiting filmmakers such a wide range of cinematic stories from all over the continent, HFFNY continues developing cultural bridges between the United States and Cuba within a Latin American context," added Ines Aslan, Executive Director of AFLFC.


On Thursday April 3, starting at 5:45pm at the Director Guild Theater, HFFNY will roll out the red carpet to officially start off its 15th year anniversary with the U.S. premiere of Conducta / Behavior, the second feature by acclaimed Cuban director Ernesto Daranas (Los Dioses Rotos). Conducta, a box-office hit that had moviegoers flocking to theaters in Cuba for weeks, sending attendance records through the roof, tells the story of Chala, an 11-year-old boy who faces a difficult family situation. Fortunately he can count on Carmela, his six-grade teacher, who is convinced that Chala should have a second chance through education. Actors Alina Rodríguez, Armando Valdés, and Idalmis García will attend the screening, followed by a party at the Copacabana Nightclub.

Photo courtesy of Copacabana


On Friday, April 11, at 6:30pm, HFFNY will wrap up with the Havana Star Awards ceremony and the NY premiere of the Argentine film The German Doctor / El doctor alemán, written, produced and directed by Lucía Puenzo. The film chronicles the time period that Josef Mengele, the Nazi officer and physician known as the "Angel of Death," spent in Argentina's Patagonia region. In that remote land Mengele meets a local family with whom he might continue his human experiments in search of the "pure race." The German Doctor was Argentina's submission for this year's Foreign Language Oscar. The Closing Night party will feature live performances by Cuban luminaries Kelvis Ochoa and CuCu Diamantes, and her band members coming from Cuba.

Sixteen films will be competing for Havana Star Awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Documentary. The Best Picture winner will receive atheatrical run at Quad Cinema, our main hosting venue. 

Fiction Competition: Los dueños (Agustín Toscano, Ezequiel Radusky, Argentina), O lobo atrás da porta (Fernando Coimbra, Brasil), Las analfabetas (Moisés Sepulveda, Chile), Esther en alguna parte (Gerardo Chijona, Cuba), Conducta (Ernesto Daranas, Cuba), Melaza (Carlos Lechuga, Cuba), Se vende (Jorge Perugorría, Cuba), No robarás... A menos que sea necesario (Viviana Cordero, Ecuador), Tercera llamada (Francisco Franco, México), and La jaula de oro (Diego Quemada Díez, México-Guatemala).

Documentary Competition: La Gorgona, historias fugadas (Camilo Botero, Colombia), Hay un grupo que dice (Lourdes Prieto, Cuba), Angels and Dust (Héctor Herrera, Panamá), Of Kites and Borders (Yolanda Pividal, U.S. - México), I Will be Murdered (Justin Webster, Guatemala - U.K.), and Sobre las olas: A Story of Flamenco in the U.S. (Carolina Loyola-Garía, U.S).

Photo courtesy of HFFNY

Other festival attractions include the special presentation of Heli, the latest feature by Mexican festival-circuit darling Amat Escalante. The film, which garnered awards at Cannes and other important international festivals, depicts the struggles of a young couple whose love gets intertwined with Mexico's drug traffic violence. Cuban Indie Jirafas, by Kiki Álvarez, is the story of 3 youngsters who while sharing an apartment in La Habana get to know unexpected aspects of each other.


This year's HFFNY will pay tribute to Cuban cinema with New Cuban Cinema: 55 Years of a Shared Dream, a sidebar featuring 14 works spanning over five decades of production by the renown ICAIC. Curated by film critic and director of Cinemateca de Cuba Luciano Castillo, this special program presents a wide panorama of film production in the island through emblematic works little known in the U.S., some of which were subtitled and restored to near mint-condition especially for this occasion. The festival will also honor Cuban filmmaker Daniel Díaz Torres, who died last September, by showcasing two of his most famous works: his latest feature La película de Ana, whose leading actress Laura de la Uz will attend the NY premiere, and the classic Hacerse el sueco, a hilarious comedy.

The Borough of Queens will get its share of the festival with screenings at the Museum of the Moving Image. On Friday, April 4 at 7:00pm, O lobo atrás da Portaby Brazilian Fernando Coimbra, will have its NY premiere followed by a Q&A with the director. On Saturday, April 5 at 6:30pm, Esther en alguna parte, by Cuban Gerardo Chijona, pays homage to stars of Cuban cinema such as Reinaldo Mirabales. OnSunday, April 6 at 5:00pm, a Guatemala - Mexico co-production directed by Diego Quemada-Diez that has won over thirty awards, La jaula de oro is the story of three Guatemalan kids trying to cross the border into Mexico.

Opening Gala at Copacabana (Photo courtesy of HFFNY)

On April 4, HFFNY will welcome to Quad Cinema three US-based Latino filmmakers: Yolanda Pividal, whose moving documentary Of Kites and Borders tells the lives of children living close to the border between Tijuana and San Diego; Cuban-American Lina Sarrello brings her Lobo, un cuento orisha, her own version of the Little Red Riding Hood with a tinge of santería; and the second short film by actress and director Laura Gómez, Hallelujah, where love might get a divine intervention that was probably not asked for. 


HFFNY is proud to welcome one of the most prestigious educational entities in the city: School of Visual Arts (SVA) and its BFA Film and Video Department. On Monday, April 7, SVA will present a special program on contemporary Cuban cinema. At 6:00pm, a retrospective of short films by young Cuban directors that exemplifies the work of a new generation of filmmakers will include Camionero by Sebastián Miló, La Trucha by Luis Ernesto Doñas, and Tarde para Ramón by Daniel Chile. At 7:30pm, an exceptional open dialogue discussing the modes of production in today's Cuban cinema for the first time in the U.S., New Horizons of Contemporary Cuban Cinema will feature Cuban directors Gerardo Chijona (Esther en alguna parte), Carlos Lechuga (Melaza), Jorge Perugorría (Se vende), Kiki Álvarez (Jirafas) producer Claudia Calviño (Juan de los muertos), and casting director Libia Batista (7 Days in Havana, Ché).


On Tuesday, April 8, at NYU's King Juan Carlos of Spain Center, two films will share unknown chapters in Latin American history. Starting at 6:00pm, Cesó la horrible noche, by Ricardo Restrepo (Colombia), uses virgin footage to depict the heated climate and events that led to the violence on April 9 in Bogotá; and Coro de Silencio, by Roberto Rodríguez (Cuba - Puerto Rico), shares the director's experience as part of Operation Peter Pan. At 7:30pm, the round table Meet the industry: A look at the State of the Film Industry: International Markets and Distribution in the U.S., will feature industry experts Alfredo Calvino, director of Habanero Films, Elliot S. Kanbar, author of the book You Finally Finished Your Film. Now What?, and Louie Perego, director of Prime Latino Media.

Last but not least, in association with Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies at CUNY, HFFNY presents three iconic works of Cuban cinema included in the sidebar New Cuban Cinema: 55 Years of a Shared Dream: the Historias de la revolución by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Now! by Santiago Álvarez, and El Cowboy by Jesús de Armas. The screening will be followed by a talk by Luciano Castillo, curator of the series and director of Cinemateca de Cuba; and Jerry Carlson, Bildner Center Senior Fellow.

Detailed information about all festival screenings and special programs is available at

Photo courtesy of HFFNY

About the American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba

American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba (AFLFC) is a leader in cultural exchange between the U.S. and Cuba. Its programs, including visual arts, film, and dance initiatives, enable American and Cuban artists, art students, professionals, and academics to interact with each other, providing rich and rewarding experiences that are fundamental for the development of their careers while building cultural bridges between both nations. For more information, visit

About the Havana Film Festival New York

AFLFC's flagship project, Havana Film Festival New York (HFFNY) annually premieres exceptional films from and about Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinos in the U.S.HFFNY collaborates with Havana's International Festival of New Latin American Cinema to introduce its audience to prominent and emerging filmmakers by showcasing the latest award-winning films and classics from and about Latin America, the Caribbean and the U.S. Latino community. HFFNY seeks to cultivate audience-artist dialogue through panel discussions designed to give a behind-the-scenes look at an industry that continues to gain global recognition. The festival program offers directors, actors and producers an opportunity to exchange ideas, enriches and expands the vision of Latino culture and provides a multi-cultural experience for a diverse audience.


Directors Guild Theater - 110 West 57th St. (Bet. 6th & 7th Aves.), Manhattan
Quad Cinema - 34 West 13th St. (Bet. 5th & 6th Aves.), Manhattan
Museum of the Moving Image - 35th Ave. at 37th St., Astoria, Queens
The Bronx Museum of the Arts - 1040 Grand Concourse at 165th St., The Bronx
King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, NYU - 53 Washington Square South, Manhattan
SVA (School of Visual Arts) Theatre - 333 West 23rd St., Manhattan
CUNY Graduate Center - 365 Fifth Ave. (Bet. 34th & 35th St.) #C204, Manhattan

Download PDF program here
Passes & Ticket information

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