Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Havana Glasgow Film Festival - final four days have many jewels. HGFF preview 2

The Havana Glasgow Film Festival enters its final four days with the arrival of Cuban film and video
Arturo Santana
director, Arturo Santana. Flying in from Havana yesterday - thanks to sponsorship from Unite - to talk about his much-acclaimed first feature film Bailando con Margot (Dancing witb Margot) – Thursday 17, 20 15 in the GFT A ‘neo-noir’ mystery, Bailando con Margot follows the femme fatale, Margot de Zarate and her involvement (or not) in an art heist. Santana made his name (as most Cuban directors do) directing music videos.
A review of some of the highlights so far is on the Culture Matters blog and it also refers to the welcome support for the festival from the Cuban ambassador to the UK, Teresita Vicente Sotolongo, who came to see Amor Cronico – Cucu Diamantes love letter to Cuba.
Sheila, meet Aidan!
Other highlights still to come include Where you’re meant to be  - a great film following Arab Strap’s poet Aidan Moffat crossing swords with determined doyenne of travelling singers, Sheila Stewart as he tries to rewrite traditional Scottish folk tunes (Wednesday 16, 19,30 in the CCA – it will be followed by a Q&A with director Paul Fegan.  Cuba Libre – Thursday 17. 14.45 CCA - a historical drama on the Spanish American War in Cuba follows Chris Dolan’s fascinating story of anarchist Ethel MacDonald, who broadcast from Republican Spain during the Civil War. An Anarchist's Story is in the CCA Thursday 17, 12.50pm). 
Back to Cuba we then can see Los Bolos En Cuba – Friday 18. 19.45 CCA – a warm, nostalgic and irreverent film exploring the times of the 'eternal' friendship of Cuba and the Soviet Union
On Friday morning also, there is an important masterclass by Festival co-Director, and writer, Hugo Rivalta. He will be talking about cinema’s role in the Cuban revolution. - 11.00 Friday 18 in the Glasgow School of Art (Reid Building).
The final day focuses on Cuban animation (CCA 17.30 on Saturday 19), and the success of the festival will be celebrated in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum, from 12.30pm where Gordon Cree will be playing Cuban salsa on the huge organ, and some recently discovered Cuban film archives, brought to Scotland for restoration, will be shown.
The programme is available on the Havana Glasgow Film Festival website - programme

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Guests and Supporters as Cuban Film Festival begins - HGFF preview 1

This week sees the start of this year’s Havana Glasgow Film Festival (HGFF), on 11 Nov, and guests have already started to arrive from Cuba and other parts of the globe. On Tuesday the Cuban screenwriter and HGFF co-director, Hugo Rivalta arrived from Havana. He will be introducing two films in the 9-day festival, and also running a master class at the GFT – Cuban Cinema’s place in the Revolution – on Friday 18 Nov.
Hugo said, “It's a privilege to be back for the second HGFF. I am very content, as I’ve just finished talking to a group of writing students about my work process. These Glasgow students make me feel very appreciated. I couldn't believe the programme Eirene and Barbara have prepared, it's so interesting and huge. 
Hugo Rivalta
“I am looking forward to talking more and meeting lots of people and am especially pleased to welcome Arturo Santana, one of the most prestigious directors of video clips in Cuba to talk about his highly anticipated first feature film Bailando Con Margot. He arrives next Tuesday and I’m sure he’ll be welcomed as I was.” 
Eirene Houston, the Festival Director, is especially pleased that we will be welcoming the Cuban ambassador – Her Excellency Teresita Vicente Sotolongo to the festival on Saturday (12). “ Her visit is a symbol of the support from the Cubans for this festival and I'm very happy that she is coming with her husband and another friend, to take part and enjoy our films.” Eirene says. “She’s coming in particular to see Amor Cronico the popular 2012 road movie by actor and director Jorge Perrugoria (star of Fresa y Chocolate, and new director of the Cine Pobre film festival).”
Other visitors include Anita Curbelo from Cine Pobre and from closer to home – Director of Where you’re meant to be – Paul Fegan. He will talk about his film featuring Aidan Moffat and folk legend Sheila Stewart. Alejandro Valera (from Cuba but currently living in Glasgow) will tell us stories about the making of Amor Cronico.
First Minister adds her support
And while she won’t be visiting officially, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP has welcomed the festival’s second year, She told the festival she was ‘sure it would bring even more energy, colour and passion to Glasgow and its people.”
The Festival runs from the 11th-19th November across a number of venues in the Glasgow School of Art, the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Glasgow Film Theatre, finishing at Kelvingrove Art Gallery.
In addition to the screenings above, other noteworthy events are – a lecture on the role of parody and satire in Cuban culture – from renowned Cuban specialist Dr Stephen Wilkinson. This will be Friday 11 at the GFT starting sharp at 11.00am. The first film of the festival will be La Rumba Me Llama that same evening at 7.30 in the GSA’s Vic cafĂ© bar.

On Saturday an event on Local Cultures and Local Identities takes place in the GSA’s Reid Building. Short films from TV Serrana – a community-based broadcaster from the Cuban Sierra Maestre will be complemented with short films from Scotland and followed by a panel discussion. The day will also feature a screening of Amor Cronico, (Everlasting Love). A ‘road’ movie with a difference!

On Sunday too, the day is given over to a significant feature of Cuban film – Cine Pobre. Translating as ‘Low-Budget Film’ this is film shot with no or minimal resources, and has its own festival in Cuba. Eirene Houston was a juror this year, and has brought back the cream of the crop! Also part of the day is a documentary of the life of Humberto Solas, founder of Cine Pobre and a famous filmmaker. Also showing is El Tren de la Linea Norte (the Northern Line Train) Marcelo Martin’s journey from Moron to Punta Alegre through an area of ‘forgotten Cuba’. The day finishes with a screening of the American film that won the overall Cine Pobre festival, Tangerine.

A day off on Monday, allows us to gird our loins for the rest of the festival, and Tuesday brings
Hector Medina in VIVA
Paddy Breathnac’s Viva, an Irish film made in Cuba about Havana’s underground drag scene. What, trans sex workers and drag queens in a Cuban Film Festival? Who knew?

That’s it for part one, tune back here at the beginning of next week for a summary of what’s to come at the end of the week, including the visit of Arturo Santana.

In addition to support from partner Glasgow School of Art, sponsorship from Unite, and other TUs, the Festival is supported by the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC), and Glasgow City Council. The Usheru Cinema app is also providing ticket sales support.
The programme is available on the Havana Glasgow Film Festival website - programme