Monday, March 13, 2017


Press Release

30 March - 7 April 2017

Photo courtesy of HFFNY

Celebrates the Diverse Voices of Cuban and Latin American Cinema 
HFFNY Pays Tribute to Masters Juan Padrón and Eliseo Subiela

Thirteen Films Competing for the Havana Star Prize

NEW YORK, FEBRUARY MARCH, 5, 2017 - The 18th Havana Film Festival New York (HFFNY) showcases the diversity of Latino voices and stories in a program that includes over 35 films. This year, HFFNY pays homage to one of Cubas foremost forces in animation and storytelling, Juan Padrón, and treats NY to the history of Cuban rhythms with a cinematic retrospective focused on the music of the island. The Festival also pays tribute to the late Argentine director Eliseo Subiela. Plus, our NY audience can look forward to screenings of critically acclaimed films, many in their World, US and NY debut accompanied by panel discussions, Q&A sessions, and other special events hosted by leading figures in Latino cinema.

HFFNY, a project of the American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba (AFLFC) runs March 30 – April 7, 2017 and includes films from Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Panama, Spain, United States and Venezuela.

“This year, HFFNY takes to the streets! Our main slate of screenings takes place at some of New Yorks most important venues. Composing our program are stories notable in their honesty, told with an urgency that leaves an emotional imprint on the audience,” says HFFNY Artistic Director Diana Vargas

Video courtesy of José María Cabral

HFFNY will be in Manhattan at the DGA Theater (March 30 & April 7), SVA Theatre (March 31-April 2), The Clemente (April 3, 5, & 6), the New York Film Academy (April 3-4), and AMC Loews 34th Street (April 5-6).  It travels to Queens for a program at the Museum of the Moving Image (March 31-April 1) and to The Bronx for a screening and concert at Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture (March 24th).  All foreign language films are subtitled in English.

HFFNY gets the party started with our ever-popular kick-off event First Fridays! with The Bronx Museum of the Arts at Hostos Center for the Arts & CultureMarch 24th at 6pmThe program, free and open to the public, opens with a reception, followed by the screening of Pavel Giroud and JuanMa VillarPlaying Lecuona, a documentary about celebrity Cuban composer and pianist Ernesto Lecuona.  The film explores Lecuonas musical impact in an exceptionally inventive way- through the lenses of three contemporary megastars: Chucho Valdés, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and Michel Camilo. Sit tight after the movie for a musical performance by Contino y Los Habaneros, named by NPR/WNYC as Manhattans best band in 2015with music by DJ ASHO.

Thursday, March 30th, starting at 5:30pmthe Directors Guild of America Theater (DGA) once again hosts HFFNY Opening Night & Red Carpet for its 18th edition with the New York premiere of Esteban, the story of a young boy who, with no resources but his raw talent, pursues his dream of becoming a pianist. The film, featuring original music by Afro-Latin jazz superstar Chucho Valdés, has won the hearts of audiences and critics alike on the festival circuit.

Friday, April 7, the 18th HFFNY closes with the NY premiere of Canadian Ron Chapmans musical documentary The Forbidden Shore, a cinematic portrait of Cubas people, culture, politics experienced as never before through the incredible diversity of its music. Over the course of its 40+ performances and interviews by the islands top artists, a musical history emergesa stunning chronicle of the pulse, rhythm and the very heartbeat of this nation.

Video courtesy of Miami Film Festival

Friday, March 31st3:00pm at the SVA Theatre, is the NY premiere of SalsipuedesOriginally designed as a TV series inspired by the work of the great Panamanian singer Rubén Blades, the film was Panamas official entry to this years Academy Awards. At 5:00pm the program continues with some black humor from Argentina: El ciudadano ilustre /The Distinguished Citizen, from directors Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat, a story of a jaded Nobel Laureate who returns home after 40 years, setting off an absurd series of events. José María Cabral, widely considered one of the Dominican Republics top directors, will be present for a Q&A after the screening of his newest film, the first from that country to enter the world competition at the Sundance Film Festival; Carpinteros/ Woodpeckersat 7:15pmHFFNY presents its last screening of the day at 9:30pm with the U.S. Premiere of Ya no es antes / Not Like Before starring darling on-screen couple Isabel Santos and Luis Alberto García, in this tropical romance directed by Lester Hamlet.

HFFNY visits the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, 7:00pm, for the screening of the 1986 groundbreaking film Hombre mirando al Sudeste / Man Facing Southeast as part of the tribute to one of our most cherished Latin American filmmakers, Argentinean director Eliseo Subiela, who passed away last December.

Saturday, April 1st HFFNY wakes up at 12:30pm with a selection of films from the Universidad del Cine de Buenos Aires, a school that has played a central role in creating and supporting the new generation of Argentine filmmakers, followed by a Q&A with co-founders María Marta Antin and Mario Santos. This program is free and open to the public.  The NY Premiere of El buen cristiano / The Good Christian, an eye-opening documentary offering a new perspective on the intervening roles of God, church, and state in the genocide of Guatemalas Ixchil people in the early 80s and the trials taking place today, follows at 3:00pm. Director Izabel Avecedo will be present for a Q&A.  At 5:20pm, HFFNY screens an encore of its Opening Night filmEsteban. Continuing at 7:35pmis the NY Premiere of Jeffrey plus a Q&A with director Yanillys Pérez. Described as "a true collaboration between subject and storyteller," Jeffrey  occupies a space between documentary and fiction, telling the story of a 12-year-old boy from the streets of Santo Domingo who dreams of hip-hop/reggaeton stardom. At 9:15pm HFFNY screens the US premiere of El soborno del cieloa black comedy about religious intransigence by prolific colombian director Lisandro Duque, who will join us after for a Q&A with actor Germán Jaramillo.

At the Museum of the Moving Image, we start at 2:00pm with the NY premiere of El Amparoa film based on the true story covering the unsettling deaths faced by the fishing village of El Amparo, Venezuela. Then, at 4:30pm, is the US premiere of tima o el Parque de la Fraternidad / Fátimabased on the story of the same name by the prestigious cuban writer Miguel Barnet.Writer Miguel Barnett will be present for Q&A. HFFNY follows with the NY Premiere of Cuban maestro Fernando Pérezs latest film Últimos días en La Habana / Last Days in Havana at 7:00pm including a Q&A with actor Patricio Wood. Pérez took home the Special Jury award at the Havana Film Festival last December.

Sunday, April 2nd beginning at 12:30pm at the SVA Theatre, HFFNY pays tribute to the International School of Film and Television of San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba (EICTV) in its 30th anniversary with a selection of shorts from some of its most distinguished alumni followed by a Q&A with EICTVs new director Susana Molina. The movie marathon continues at 2:45pm with Salsipuedes, at 4:45pm with El ciudadano ilustre / The Distinguished Citizen and at 7:00pm with Últimos días en La Habana / Last Days in Havana.  The weekend ends at 9:00pm, with the US Premiere of the Ecuadorian drama Translúcido / Translucid, a transmedia experience that pushes viewers to ask themselves what they would do if given only one more day to live. Director Leo Zelig and actor Roberto Manrique join us after the screening for a Q&A.

Monday, April 3rd, HFFNY travels to the New York Film Academy for its main slate of screenings.  At 4:30pm theres a special program on Cuban music, Historias de la música cubana/Stories of Cuban Musicfeaturing the U.S. premieres of two documentaries: Rebeca ChávezDecir con feeling and Patricia Ramos’ Ampárame! La Religiosidad en la música cubana, preceded by an introduction by the Director of the Cuban Film Archives Luciano Castillo. At 6:45pm HFFNY remembers the late Argentine director Eliseo Subiela with a screening of El lado oscuro del corazón/The Dark Side of the Heart, a masterpiece of poetry and magical realism in which a narcissistic poet trades words for food and falls for a prostitute who can fly. At 9:00pm, HFFNY screens the NY Premiere of Enrique (Kiki) Álvarezs newest docu-fiction hybrid Sharing Stella, an evocative meditation on changing relations between the US and Cuba as experienced by Cuban actors prepping for a performance of “A Streetcar Named Desire.” The film will be preceded by Claudia Muñiz Pérezs short film, Con sana alegría/With Wholesome Joy. Both Álvarez and Muñiz lead a Q&A following the screenings.

Tuesday, April 4th, at the New York Film Academy, beginning at 3:00pmthe presentation of Ya no es antes / Not Like Before.  At5:00pmthe NY Premiere of El Techo / On the Roof, a fresh Cuban film about three kids trying to find themselves and their futures on the rooftops of todays Havana. Director Patricia Ramos will be present for a Q&A to follow.  At 7:15pm we pay tribute to guest of honor Juan Padrón and screen his cult classic film Vampiros en La Habana/Vampires in Havanawho joins us after for a Q&A. At 8:45pm, HFFNY screens Santa y Andrés/Santa & André, Carlos Lechugas portrait of an unlikely friendship between two very different characters in Havana in the early 1980sfollowed by a Q&A with Lechuga.

Wednesday, April 5th HFFNY screens its main program at the AMC Loews 34th Street, beginning at 1:00pm with El buen cristiano/The Good Christian followed by Q&A with the director.  At 3:00pmEl amparo;  5:00pmCarpinteros/Woodpeckers, and at 7:00pm Santa y Andrés/Santa & Andrés. At 9:15pmthe US Premiere of tima o el parque de la fraternidad / Fátima, followed by a Q&A with director Jorge Perugorría and actor Carlos Enrique Almirante.

Thursday, April 6th HFFNY returns to the AMC Loews 34th Street, beginning at 1:00pm with Jeffreycontinuing at 3:00pm withSharing Stella and Con sana alegría/With Wholesome Joy; 5:00pmPlaying Lecuona; 7:20pm with El techo/On the Roof and 9:20pm with Translúcido/Translucid.

Video courtesy of HFFNY

Special Events

HFFNY honors Juan Padrón, the father of Cuban feature film animation. To celebrate his 70th birthday, the festival screens three of his most beloved films and partners with The Clemente to exhibit a collection of drawings and paintings he created over the course of his illustrious career. On Monday, April 3 6:30pm at The Clemente there will be a cocktail reception and art exhibition opening “Juan PadrónHavana to New York.” In conjunction with the exhibition, HFFNY will screen Padróns cult classic Vampiros en La Habana/Vampires in Havana at the New York Film Academy at 7:15pm on Tuesday, April 4. Its sexy sequel, s vampiros en La Habana/More Vampires in Havana at The Clemente at 7:00pm on Wednesday, April 5and kid-friendly Elpidio Valdés at The Clemente at 6:30pm on Thursday, April 6All presentations at The Clemente are free and open to the public.

Compelled by the untimely death of one of our most beloved directors, Eliseo Subiela, HFFNY screens two of his cinematic masterpieces: Hombre mirando al sudeste/Man Facing Southeast at 7:00pm at the Museum of the Moving Image on Friday, March 31 and El Lado oscuro del corazón/The Dark Side of the Heart at 6:45pm at the New York Film Academy on Monday, April 3.

To talk about the changes taking place in Cuba today, on April 4, 7:00pm at the New York Film Academy, Screening Room 521the panel Cuban Cinema Today features legendary Cuban actor-director Jorge Perugorría, alongside Enrique (Kiki) Álvarez, Carlos Lechuga, Lester Hamlet, Iván Giroud, Patricia Ramos, and Jonal Cosculluela. Moderated by film professor Michelle Farrell. All panels are free and open to the public.

About The American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba (AFLFC)

AFLFC is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. Since 2000, we have been working with our partner, the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba (LFC), a non-governmental, autonomous, non-profit art and cultural institution in Havana, founded in 1995. Together we have been building cultural bridges between the U.S. and Cuba through art programs that include visual and performing arts, educational and cultural exchange, professional development opportunities for artists, art professionals and students, and the annual Havana Film Festival NY. We inspire artists, assist researchers, disseminate art information, provide instruction on new technology and software, excite audiences and facilitate communication between the art communities in both countries. We offer unique cultural travel programs to the island that expose American travelers to Cubas cultural riches while generating meaningful personal connections.

About the Havana Film Festival New York (HFFNY)

AFLFCs flagship project, HFFNY, collaborates with Havanas 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 Cuba, Latin America, the Caribbean and Latinos in the U.S. 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. 

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