29th Annual Miami International Film Festival Presents New Program, Cuba³, Highlighting Documentaries from the Island
Miami, February 15, 2012 -
Riding the recent wave of documentaries highlighting the reality of life in Cuba, the Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), produced and presented by Miami Dade College (MDC) and now in its 29th edition, has created Cuba³, a presentation of three dynamic visions of contemporary Cuban life.
For its debut, Cuba³ will showcase three diverse and revelatory documentaries that look closely at Cuban society and its particular circumstances, different as they are from the rest of Latin America.
Baracoa, Where Cuba Began, which makes its international premiere at the Festival, Mauricio Vincent, a 20-year Cuba correspondent for Spain’s El País before the Cuban government recently let him go. He returns Baracoa, an idyllic location of majestic nature where the country was born five centuries ago, where he hopes to capture the residents’ daily life by living and dreaming amidst the palpable necessities, without stressing the political rhetoric seen in similar works.
A girl turning 15 and preparing her Quinceañera party, a trainer with fatherly instincts caring for his female basketball team, children whose dreams are to become boxers, religious groups with various classifications practicing their beliefs, and many other characters representing Cuba’s daily life are introduced to the viewer in raw form, as if there were no cameras, and in order to solidify the living proof that the Cuban people still survive amid adversities.
The Strawberry Tree, by Canadian producer Simone Rapisarda Casanova and making its US premiere, focuses on another intricate town of the Cuban countryside, Juan Antonio, destroyed by a hurricane in 2008. In his debut as director, Simone shows a personal closeness with the film’s main characters, with whom he often interacts and therefore presents an interesting intimacy.
The constant presence of the sea beating on the coastal rocks and the incessant wind casts a particularly poetic harshness throughout the scenes of daily domestic life. It is shocking to realize that this way of life, neither comfortable nor bucolic will disappear in nature’s fury.
The final documentary in the Cuba³ section is a production by one of the most acclaimed modern-day Russian documentarians, Vitaly Mansky. Originally visiting the island to make a film on the Cuban Casino dance technique, Mansky returned with an overwhelming testimony of a country in crisis, very close, according to him, to the Soviet Union prior to Stalin’s death.
Motherland or Death, making its North American premiere, condenses more than 200 filming hours into 90 minutes, making the final product very unflattering to those who have held power for over half a century. In an interview for a Russian magazine, the director said that in Cuba he saw dogs eating stones because they were in such a degrading hunger stage. Further, he said that it was like being in a time machine, where the people have stayed immersed in a near past.
Cuba³ will be presented in the various locations where MIFF will be showing this year’s productions. For more information about films, screenings and tickets, visit www.miamifilmfestival.com or call 305-405-6433.
This year’s Festival will showcase of more than 100 films from 35 countries during the 10-day event, which runs March 2-11, 2012. Highlights include red carpet galas at Olympia Theater, parties, education seminars, international film premieres, and more!
Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), celebrating its 29th edition on March 2-11, 2012, is considered the preeminent Ibero-American film festival in the U.S. The annual Festival, produced and presented by Miami Dade College, attracts more than 70,000 audience members and more than 400 filmmakers, producers, talent and industry professionals. It is the only major festival housed within a college or university. In the last five years, the Festival has screened films from more than 60 countries, including 300 World, International, North American, U.S. and East Coast Premieres. MIFF’s special focus on Ibero-American cinema have made the Miami International Film Festival a natural gateway for the discovery of Ibero-American talent. Additionally, the Festival offers unparalleled educational opportunities to filmmakers and the community at large. For more, visit miamifilmfestival.com or call 305-237-MIFF (3456). Major sponsors of the 2012 Miami International Film Festival include: Lexus, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Miami Beach Visitors & Convention Authority, FPL, EGEDA, Downtown Development Authority of the City of Miami, Comcast, Miami New Times, The Historic Alfred I. Dupont Building, ABC Management Services, Screen International and the City of Miami Beach. The official headquarter hotel of MIFF 2012 is The Standard Spa, Miami; and the Festival is produced with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.
Miami Dade College has a long and rich history of involvement in the cultural arts, providing South Florida with a vast array of artistic and literary offerings including The Miami Book Fair International, the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, the MDC Live! Performing Arts Series, The MDC Tower Theater Cinema Series, nine visual arts galleries including The Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College and the School of Entertainment and Design Technology, in addition to the renowned Miami International Film Festival. MDC is the largest institution of higher education in the country and is nationally recognized for many of its academic and cultural programs. With an enrollment of more than 174,000 students, MDC is the nation’s top producer of degrees. The college’s seven campuses and outreach centers offer nearly 300 distinct degree programs including several baccalaureate degrees. It has admitted nearly 2 million students since it opened its doors in 1960. More at mdc.edu.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.
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