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19 films compete for the Havana Film Festival New York

The 13th annual Havana Film Festival New York (HFFNY) runs April 12-20 with more than 40 highly anticipated and influential films from and about Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinos in the U.S. including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Spain, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and the U.S will be in the festival's five venues and 3 boroughs. They span a variety of genres and themes, ranging from comedy, thrillers, action, drama and documentaries to children's tales, as well as films from and about indigenous peoples from Guatemala, Mexico, and Colombia. All foreign language films are subtitled in English.
The Opening Night Ceremony will be held on April 12th, 7pm, at the Directors Guild Theatre, with the Cuban box office hit Habanastation. Ian Padrón's opera prima is a witty film that depicts Havana today through the eyes of two kids from different social backgrounds. Habanastation is also part of the family programs at the Quad Cinema, April 15th, 12:30pm and at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, April 21st, 12pm.
Closing Night Film: HFFNY closes on April 20th, 7pm at the New York Directors Guild Theatre with the N.Y premiere of the first "zombie movie" made in Cuba Juan of the Dead, Alejandro Brugués' second feature film. A series of strange events start to develop. At first, Juan believes that it's just another stage of the Cuban revolution but then he realizes that the culprits are not human and killing them would be very difficult.
HFFNY opens its full schedule of activities on Friday, April 13th, 1 pm for a week of screenings at the Quad Cinema 34 W. 13th Street with the N.Y premiere of the Venezuelan film, La hora cero / The Zero Hour (Diego Velasco).
Proud to pay tribute to those influential figures of the Latin American cinema, the festival honors Cuban actress Eslinda Nuñez. For more than 40 years, Eslinda has participated in some of the most important films made in Cuba including Lucía by Humberto Solás, Memorias del subdesarrollo by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea. She will be in NY presenting the films Amada, Cecilia (these two directed by Humberto Solás) and Bailando Cha Cha Cha (Manuel Herrera.)
HFFNY is also honoring one of the masters of the art of photography, cinematographer Raúl Perez Ureta. The collaborator of directors like Fernando Pérez (Madagascar, La vida es silbar, Suite Habana), Daniel Díaz Torres (Otra mujer, Alicia en el pueblo de Maravillas, Hacerse el sueco), Gerardo Chijona (Boleto al paraiso, Perfecto amor equivocado), he is the head of the Photography Department at the San Antonio de los Baños, International Film and TV School. Pérez Ureta is described as a cinematographer "who has created a contrasting, paradoxical aesthetic by beautifying unhappiness and casting a shadow over joy." Pérez Ureta will be presenting two films in which he has been awarded Best Photography: José Martí: The Eye of Canary (New York Premiere) and Madrigal (both directed by Fernando Pérez).
19 films will be competing to receive the third Havana Star Prize for Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay, as well as the second Havana Star Prize for Best Documentary, which will be awarded on April 20th at the Closing Night ceremony.
The films competing for the Havana Star Prize in Fiction are:
1. El Páramo - Jaime Osorio, Colombia-Argentina
2. Habanastation - Ian Padrón, Cuba
3. Juntos para siempre - Pablo Solarz, Argentina
4. Los Marziano - Ana Katz, Argentina
5. José Martí: El ojo del canario - Fernando Perez, Cuba
6. Distancia - Sergio Ramirez, Guatemala
7. La Hora Cero - Diego Velasco, Venezuela
8. Ulises - Oscar Godoy, Chile
9. Sal - Diego Rougier, Chile-Argentina
10. Trabalhar Cansa - Marco Dutra / Juliana Rojas, Brazil
11. Alguien ha visto a Lupita - Gonzalo Justiniano, Mexico-Chile
12. La lucha de Ana - Bladimir Abud, Dominican Republic-Mexico
The films competing for the Havana Star Prize in Documentary are:
1. Con mi corazón en Yambo - Fernanda Restrepo, Ecuador
2. Nacimos el 31 de diciembre - Priscilla Padilla Farfán, Colombia
3. Caminando Aragon - Tane Martinez, Cuba-U.S
4. El professor Saharaui - Nicolas Muñoz, Cuba-Spain
5. Ser un ser humano - Russell Porter / various directors, EICTV
6. Las Carpetas - Maite Rivera. Puerto Rico.
7. Los 100 sones cubanos - Edesio Alejandro, Cuba-Dominican Republic
HFFNY is proud to announce the new partnership with the Instituto Cervantes. This important cultural institution will host the festival on April 16, 18 and 19 with a variety of free events:
On Monday, April 16th, 6pm, Omar de la Cruz, director of the Dominican Global Film Festival presents a series of Dominican short films that were selected to participate in their 2011 edition. At 7:30 pm, the panel From-Script-To-Screen, which includes four professionally diverse screenwriters (Pablo Solarz, Ana Katz, Jairo Carrillo, Marco Dutra) and is moderated by Ángel Lara, will discuss, among other topics: genre vs. auteur cinema; the audience (the spectator) and the elements involved in the creative process and the importance of the 'triangular' writer-director-producer relationship. Following the panel, HFFNY celebrates the creation of Fundación para las Narrativas Audiovisuales en Español (FUNAVE) New York with a cocktail party.
Wednesday April 18th is the night for documentaries. At 6pm, the Grammy nominee, The 100 Cuban "Sones" directed by Edesio Alejandro (Cuba) will have its NY Premiere. Its director will be present for Q&A. At 7:40pm, Ser un ser humano / To Be a Human Being, a film series produced by the International School of Film and TV of San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba (EICTV) in collaboration with students from seven schools around the world. There will be a Q&A with Rafael Rosal, Director of EICTV.
Thursday April 19th at 7 pm, as part of the indigenous film series, HFFNY will present a showcase of short films selected from Totonacapan en corto, the festival organized by Cumbre Tajin in Veracruz, Mexico and a showcase of Mayan Cinema made by Mayan students from Casa Comal Film School in Guatemala. Following the screenings there will be the panel, "History and Social Memory, A Self-Reflection from Latin American Cinema." The panel of filmmakers, moderated by Javier Rioyo of the Instituto Cervantes, will discuss, among other topics: Indigenous communities and political ideology; subaltern voices and hegemonic discourses; visibility and representation of subgroups in the media; reconciling war crimes and restorations from ethnic, religious, and gender perspectives.
Highlights of the 2012 Festival include the special presentation of El estudiante (Santiago Mitre, Argentina), winner in major film festivals around the world. The Student is the story of Roque who arrives in Buenos Aires to attend the university, but ends up finding his true calling as a political militant and student leader. Argentinian director and actress, Ana Katz will present two of her films, her well received second feature film, A Stray Girlfriend (2007) which she co-wrote, acted in and directed and her newest film, Los Marziano (2011). She will be available at both screenings for Q&A. Four short documentaries will be part of the line-up: Simply Korda by Cuban Director Roberto Chile, in which Cuban artist Alberto Korda, perhaps known around the world mostly for his iconic Che Guevara photo, shares his fascination with feminine beauty and early years of the Cuban Revolution. Also included by the same director, I Am Tata Nganga, the life of Enrique Hernández Armenteros popularly known as "Enrique of La Hata," a 93 year old priest of Afro-Cuban religions and of the mystical world of Palo Monte, who has dedicated close to 60 years of his life to helping others. U.S. director Catherine Murphy will present The Teacher, the Cuban Literacy Campaign of 1961, which changed the nations literacy levels within one year. More than half of the volunteers were women. This film relates their life stories.
An exciting program, bringing Latin American Cinema to Queens, is set for the weekend at the magnificently renovated, Museum of the Moving Image,
36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, beginning Friday, April 20th, 7pm with the NY premiere of El páramo / The Squad (Colombia) Producer Ignacio Rey will be present for Q&A. On Saturday, April 21st, 12pm, a family program with the film Habanastation will be screened. Director Ian Padrón will be present for Q&A. Sunday, April 22nd, 7:00pm The Student (Santiago Mitre, Argentina) will be screened, followed by a Q&A with actress Valeria Correa.
On April 20th, 6pm, HFFNY presents at the Bronx Museum of the Arts Caminando Aragón, a Tané Martínez documentary about Orquesta Aragón. The 72 year-old band is one of the jewels of Cuba's musical heritage. In this documentary members of the orchestra share their anecdotes and success stories on a musical journey from Havana, Cienfuegos, and New York during two concerts in 2011. A party with DJ Asho and a live performance by Gerardo Cortino y sus Habaneros follows the screening celebrating the music of Cuba.
The presenting sponsor of HFFNY 2012 is NBC / Telemundo 47. Additional sponsorship is provided by El Diario La Prensa, TD Bank, Xael Charters, Marazul Charters, Tespis Magazine, Enrola TV, Rockamedia, Copacabana Pizza & Grill, Sombrero, Il Buco, and Brazil Grill. Official hotel sponsors are the Maritime Hotel, and Paramount. HFFNY is made possible with public funds from the NYS Council on the Arts, a state agency and supported, in part, by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. HFFNY is also supported by Mayor Bloomberg's Latin Media and Entertainment Commission (LMEC).
The Havana Film Festival New York is a project of American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba (AFLFC), a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization building cultural bridges between the U.S. and Cuba through programs in the arts.

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