Havana Film Festival kicks off

 havana-live-karl-marx-teaterHAVANA, December  5 (EFE)  The 36th edition of the Festival of New Latin American Cinema at Havana has kicked off with a homage to Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927-2014), a well known film enthusiast and one of the major promoters of the event.

The opening ceremony was held at Havana’s Karl Marx theater, with an audiovisual montage on the Nobel Prize-winning author, highlighting his role in promoting projects such as the New Latin American Film Foundation and The International Film and TV School in San Antonio de los Baños.
The Havana Film Festival was followed by a solo concert by Cuban singer Pablo Milanes, who made use of the occasion to recall his personal friendship with the celebrated writer and the wonderful moments they shared. He sang some of his hit numbers like “Dulces recuerdos,” which he said was one of Garcia Marquez’s favorites, “Yolanda” and “El breve espacio en que no estas,” among others.

The Festival’s director Ivan Giroud dedicated this year’s edition to the celebrated novelist for having been an influential and decisive promoter of the festival. “It is a good decision to have this homage to Gabito for the love he showered upon the film school in Cuba and also because he was a big promoter of Latin American films,” Jaime Garcia Marquez told Efe refering to his deceased brother.
Screening of documentaries related to his life, works and legacy, a discussion and presentation of books were a part of the tribute the writer of ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’, who often participated in many such events in the same space during his lifetime.

Wild Tales by Argentine filmmaker Damian Szifron was the film selected to begin the festival, coinciding with the first digital projection at the event, a novelty by the organizers to add more quality to the event. This film, which is Argentina’s selection for the Oscars in the best foreign film category, is among the favorites to win the Coral prize at the festival.
It is also among the probables to receive the Goya award as the best Ibero-American film, and has already received wide critical and public acclaim since its release in May. The competition will screen 116 films, including 42 feature films, 21 short films of fiction, 30 documentaries and 23 animated films, along with 25 unproduced scripts and 11 posters.

The jury, headed by Bolivian filmmaker Juan Carlos Valdivia will be responsible for deciding the winners in the categories namely feature films, short and medium-length films, direction and acting, among others. Winter Sleep, the winner at the Cannes and Berlin film festivals this year and the Romanian film Child’s Pose are also set to feature in the event, along with productions from Spain, Canada, Italy, Germany and the United States.