domingo, 11 de diciembre de 2011

Ian Padron Receives Glauber Rocha Award

Cuban filmmaker Ian Padron said it was an honor to receive the Glauber Rocha 2011 award, which carries the name, he said, of one of the filmmakers he admires the most.

Rocha was one of the most important Latin
American filmmakers, and the father of the new Latin American cinema. "The award also has a special meaning for me. I was born the same day of the creator of Entranced Earth and God and the Devil in the Land of the Sun," said Padron.

The Cuban filmmaker received the award on Saturday, which is sponsored by Prensa Latina and granted by the foreign press accredited at the Havana festival, which distinguished his film Habanastation by consensus.

Speaking about the festival jury´s decision, famous movie critic and French writer living in Spain, Sergio Berrocal, highlighted how the filmmaker used autobiographical elements to
make a story that goes beyond the peculiar, and could happen anywhere in the world.

Berrocal also highlighted the universal values in the film, such as generosity and solidarity, and the capacity to achieve a direct and deep link with the audience.

Five awards at Havana’s Film Festival for Habanastation

The Cuban film Habanastation won five collateral awards at the 33rd International Latin American Film Festival underway in the Cuban capital, including the coveted Glauber Rocha Prize granted by the foreign press accredited to the gathering.

The work by 35 year-old director Ian Padrón was awarded the Glauber Rocha, sponsored by Cuba's Latin American News Agency Prensa Latina since 1985 and granted by the media accredited to the festival. The prize honors renowned Brazilian filmmaker Glauber Rocha. The jury highlighted that, with few resources, the movie shows Cuba’s social reality from a human point of view, with optimism and hope.

The film also won the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF Award, which the UN agency described as an ode to friendship and solidarity, as humanistic, objective and full of hope, which reveals the potentials of children and adolescents to influence on the attitudes of adults to change the world. The Cuban Journalists Union UPEC film critics club also granted its prize to Habanastation in virtue of the narrative displayed in the work in defense of universal values.

More than one million movie goers have already seen the film, which has been a hit in Cuban movie theaters this year. The work won the best feature film award at the Traverse City Festival in Michigan, the United States, organized by US filmmaker Michael Moore.

Shot in a west Havana shanty town, the children’s film deals with the inequalities prevailing in Cuba through the friendly relationship between two boys of different social backgrounds, highlighted the validity of human values over money and material things. Along with the film A ticket to Paradise. Padrón’s movie has also been chosen to represent Cuba at the competition for the 2012 Oscar Awards nominations in the category of best foreign film. (Thanks to D. Donestevez)

domingo, 13 de noviembre de 2011

Homage to Polo Montañez by Cuban Musicians

Cuban solo artists and groups will give homage to deceased Cuban songwriter and singer Polo Montañez on November 19 with a great concert, nine years after the death of the great Cuban artist. During the activity in a theatre in Havana, songs of his first CD called "Guajiro Natural" and others written by Polo Montañez will be performed, said Amauri Romero, nephew of Polo, a man who conquered hearts in stages in America and Europe. Romero said that just like years before, friends, admirers, fans of Polo Montañez will take sones, guarachas, bachatas and other things up to the stage. The winner of a Golden Disc and a Platinum Disc ‘cause of his first CD, Polo died ‘cause ‘f a traffic accident in November 2002. He was the author of nearly 100 musical pieces, and some of his compositions were not recorded or performed by his own voice. Polo was known as "Guajiro Natural" and is still very beloved in Cuba, Colombia and other countries where he became an idol. "The concert will be a very nice way to remember him," said Romero, who also assured the band preserves Polo´s legacy. There are unpublished texts, still preserved in their original writings or printed in a songbook, now included in the group´s first individual CD, without the voice of Polo. The name chosen for the CD was Question de suerte (A Question of Luck) since uncertainty was affecting the members of the band. "In that CD, we included songs like "Con Ella no puedo estar" (I Can´t Be With Her) and "Historia Uno" (Story One), two songs written by Polo that he did not have the chance to perform himself. A second CD called "Un sueño y nada más" (A Dream and Nothing Else than That) let the group perform another good song by Polo, called "La sombra loca" (The Crazy Shadow) which was later popularized by Puerto Rican singer Gilberto Santa Rosa. Romero concluded saying "We want to keep Polo´s exclusive way to sing and recreate national musical rhythms, and that every melody, contains a message of love and peace.

viernes, 11 de noviembre de 2011

Musical Play to Honor Compay Segundo

Cuban young actors will pay tribute to the life and work of the late Cuban musician Compay Segundo, with the one-night stand premiere of the musical play "Las Flores de Su Vida" (The flowers of his Life). The director of La Marabal company, Tulio Marin, said that the play is intended to rescue and venerate traditional Cuban music, a cultural and identity genre of Cuba.

Actress Maridelmis Marin, a staff member, declared that she got fascinated and amazed when she read the script due to the enjoyable and nice way the love story between Compay and Macusa is narrated. The leading roles of "The flowers of his life" will be played by Yanet Corzo (Macusa) and Marín (Compay Segundo), including other two actors and 10 dancers that perform 12 choreographies with music by Compay Segundo and traditional songs.

The company is scheduled to perform in Santiago de Cuba province after its presentation in Havana. Compay Segundo was born in Santiago de Cuba on Nov. 18, 1907. He won a Grammy Award for his participation in the Buena Vista Social Club record.

lunes, 7 de noviembre de 2011

Spanish Dance Company Closed Havana Theater Festival

The Antonio Gades Company closed the 14th Havana Theater Festival last Sunday, with a program including Bodas de Sangre (Blood Wedding) and Suite Flamenco.

According to Eugenia Eiriz, widow of the great Spanish dancer and choreographer, with the Blood Wedding, Gades achieved for the first time 37 years ago a synthesis among flamenco, classical, and Spanish dances.

The Blood Wedding, well known by Cubans, not only pays tribute to Gades (1936-2004) for his 75-year anniversary, but also to the work's author Federico Garcia Lorca, who was murdered on August 18, 1936, for his revolutionary ideas at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Eiriz said.

"Closing with this piece had a positive effect will on the public because after watching the Blood Wedding the people feels shocked and moved by Lorca's tragedy and then comes the party, and many would feel like singing and dancing," Eiriz added.

This was the first appearance in Cuba of the Antonio Gades Company, founded seven years ago after his death. It includes in its repertoire other popular works such as Carmen and Fuenteovejuna, while in 2012 it will seek to revive the Fuego (Fire), a version of the El Amor Brujo (Love Bewitched).

After 10 days, the most important theater event in the country closed curtains, with a positive outcome for the public, who had been able to enjoy a program including performances by more than 70 national and foreign groups representing 17 countries.

martes, 1 de noviembre de 2011

A Harry Potter Wizard Walks around Havana

The British actor Roger Lloyd Pack, world famous by his portrayal of Barty Crouch Sr. in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, is expected to perform Tonight at the Havana Theater Festival.

Lloyd and a group of friends of the late British playwright and Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter came for the first time to Cuba to pay a posthumous tribute on Wednesday and Thursday to the Pinter.

The world premiere of the short play Umbrellas at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana, as part of the program One Night with Harold Pinter, stands as a tribute the champion of the Cuban cause.

Lloyd explained that Umbrellas was premiered by Pintor to a small group of friends in 1960 in the United Kingdom; after that, the script disappeared.

"It is one of Pinter's first works as playwright and is a short sketch, but very interesting", Lloyd explained.
Currently, Lloyd is working in Budapest, shooting the Showtime TV series The Borgias, produced by Neil Jordan.

Meanwhile, Lloyd declared to be enjoying his first visit to Havana, the nice Caribbean weather and the old US cars that travel the Havana streets.

sábado, 22 de octubre de 2011

La Colmenita Performs in Brooklyn

The Cuban children's theater group La Colmenita received multiple expressions of affection, after concluding the first performance at a center for teenagers and youths in Brooklyn, the most populated district in New York.

The company's performance took place at El Puente High School, an institution founded in 1982, which develop programs to benefit that population segment.

Shortly before beginning the performance, the members of the company were surprised by a call from Gerardo Hernandez.

Gerardo congratulated them for the Cuban Culture Day, and wished them success in their crusade of love for U.S. territory.

Today, the company expects to perform at the Hostos Community Collage's main theater in Bronx, one of the five metropolitan districts in New York. The company's repertoire also includes La Colmenita children orchestra, and musical play "La Cucarachita Martina" (Martina Little Cockroach).

jueves, 20 de octubre de 2011

La Colmenita in Brooklyn, New York

The Cuban children's theater group La Colmenita will perform on Today in Brooklyn, the first of five performances in this city, as part of a tour of the United States until October 30.

The company, comprised of 22 children aged between 6 and 15 years, arrived in New York shortly before midnight, after travelling over 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Washington DC.

The recent performance in the capital was "tremendous, with a full theater. Most were the students and professors of the Duke Ellington Art School, one of the most incredible audiences we have seen," the company's director Carlos Alberto Cremata told.

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2007, the company visited this country for the time in 2003.

lunes, 10 de octubre de 2011

Chamber Music Festival Ends in Cuba

The Leo Brouwer Festival of Chamber Music concluded at the Covarrubias Hall of Havana's Teatro Nacional, with a homage concert to the Nicolas family.

Clara Romero De Nicola (1888-1951), emblematic name of the island's best music star, began her career in the 30s of last decade "to place the guitar as a national instrument," Leo Brouwer stated.

"In a modest but amazing repertoire, this time the guitar played an important role, proving the beauty and strength of its sonority in the hands of Cuban Marco Tamayo and Spanish Anabel Montesinos. They performed "El libro de los signos" (The Book of Signs) along with the Chamber Orchestra of Havana.

Leading for a first time this new group of youth, Brouwer premiered this piece in three movements in this Festival. The work was composed by him in 2003 at the request of Costas Cotsiolis and John Williams.

The "Todo Brouwer" concert also included the performance of flautist Niurka Gonzalez, who as a soloist performed "Balada para flauta y orquesta de cuerdas" (Ballad for flute and strings orchestra) (1963), a work dedicated to composer Felix Guerrero and flautist Roberto Ondina.

As a culmination of the festival, cellist Alejandro Martinez, member of the Chamber Orchestra of Havana, received a recognition due to his talent and professional dedication.

The Leo Brouwer Festival, starting September 30 in four Havana stages, included a theoretical and musical program, where some of the works performed in the five concerts were presented for a first time, as well as paid tribute to outstanding Cuban musicians such as pianist Chucho Valdes and choral director Maria Felicia Perez.

jueves, 6 de octubre de 2011

Strengthening Movie Ties, Cuba and Venezuela

The president of the Villa del Cine Foundation, Venezuelan filmmaker Jose Antonio Varela, said that the movie ties between his country and Cuba are moving forward with several joint projects. Two of them are animated films Caporito, el guardian de la montaña and Samuel H2O, whose set designs, photography and music are performed in the Animation Studios of the Cuban Film Institute.

This is the first experience with animated films in the history of Venezuela, Varela said in a press briefing to mark the opening in Cuba of his first work La Clase (2007). The exchange between both countries grew in recent times also with other co-productions, some successfully released as Boleto al Paraiso, by Gerardo Chijona, Larga Distancia, by Esteban Insausti, and Casa Vieja, by Lester Hamlet.

We maintain a systematic cooperation in the audiovisual field said the filmmaker after, and added that this reciprocity is extended to the distribution and exhibition of films between the two countries.

martes, 4 de octubre de 2011

La Colmenita to perform in the US shortly

The Cuban children’s theater company, La Colmenita, directed by Carlos Alberto Cremata, will travel to the United States this month for presentations in Washington, New York and San Francisco.

The tour’s program, scheduled for October 12 through 30, includes the play La Cenicienta según los Beatles (Cinderella after the Beatles), where audiences wil
l have the chance to assess how children see the famous band which had such a strong impact on the US and the world. The play is adapted to current Cuban reality.

Another piece to be staged is Abracadabra, which enables the public to see how children see today’s Cuba and the situation of the five Cuban antiterrorists unjustly locked in US jails for fighting terrorism.

The play is based on texts written by Alicia Jrapko, Mario Benedetti and Nazim Hikmet featuring music (sung live by the children actors) by Silvio Rodriguez, Carlos Puebla, Fito Paez, Joseito Fernandez and Los Van Van.The Cuban children’s theater group La Colmenita is Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)