Something’s happening in Cuban cinema

Havana, May 28 (IANS/EFE) Cuban cinema and its institutions are going through a period of debate focused on remodelling and energizing the mechanisms and structures that have guided it for more than five decades, in line with other reforms being enacted on the island.

Almost 100 filmmakers are bringing their opinions to bear on the reform the government is planning for the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry, or ICAIC, a state organization that has directed the sector since the 1959 revolution.

Several meetings have been held in Havana in response to the call to “save national films” made by director Enrique Alvarez in early May.

“Our primary goal is to reach a systemic view of Cuban films today so we can start working from the current situation to bring it in line with the changes taking place in the country, not only in the economic aspect but also culturally and socially,” Alvarez told EFE.

Among the main requests is the passing of a cinema law that would “organize and protect” the sector, particularly the independent productions that today have no official backing, though they are tolerated. Independent moviemakers request “the same treatment and opportunities” for their works as state productions have.

This regulation, according to filmmakers, should give a “legal umbrella” to independent productions to cover their financial activities, the hiring of technical and artistic personnel, protection against the piracy of intellectual property, and the possibility of doing coproductions.

Close to 100 production companies on the island have an independent status and are engaged in making advertising commercials, music videos, animated films, documentaries, short subjects and feature films.

Both Alvarez and other Cuban filmmakers who spoke with EFE said they don’t want ICAIC to disappear, but do think it’s time it had a makeover.



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