sábado, 29 de enero de 2011

A Cuban Writer Wins Casa de las Americas Award

Cuban writer Emerio Medina won the 52th Casa de las Americas award on the category of short history for his book The boot on the dead bull (La bota sobre el toro muerto), as announced Thursday by the cultural institution granting the prize.

Medina, also winner of the 2009 Julio Cortazar Iberian American Short Story Award, said the Casa de las Americas recognition makes him feel fulfilled as a human being.

According to the jury, Medina’s book is an example of what being proficient in a certain language and casual speech can be achieved when dealing with certain unconventional subjects that bring to light worlds marginalized by a society amid a process of political and cultural changes.

The Jose Maria Arguedas special narrative prize was granted to Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, for Mirrors. A Universal History (Espejos. Una historia universal).

Mexican Gabriel Santander Botello won the award on Novel for The Revenge of the Chacas (La venganza de las chacas), described by the jury as an overwhelming and happily exempt from following any rules writing.

Argentinean Carlos Enrique Bischoff’s Su paso and Brazilian Nelson de Oliveira’s Pollera: demonios e maldiciones took the award in testimony and Brazilian literature, respectively.

No awards were granted in the category of artistic essay because the jury considered that the works submitted under this section were not good enough to deserve the award.

The Jose Lezama Lima and Ezequiel Martinez Estrada Special Awards were granted to Kamau Brathwaite, from Barbados, for a collection of poems titled Time Dancers (Los danzantes del tiempo), and Ana Pizarro (Chile), for the essay Amazonia: the river have voices (Amazonía: el río tiene voces).

jueves, 27 de enero de 2011

Cuba Awards American Ballet Theater

The American Ballet Theater (ABT) and the New York City Ballet were presented with the 2011 Villanueva Award for best foreign performances in Cuba in 2010.

The official historian of the National Ballet of Cuba, Miguel Cabrera, received the award yesterday on behalf of the two U.S. dance companies companies, and described as a friendly bridge their attendance and performances at the recent Havana Ballet Festival.

In addition to the New York City Ballet and ABT, with which prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso started her international career in the 1940s and 50s, other Latin American works and theatre groups were awarded as well.

The Villanueva prizes are granted each year by the Association of Performing Artists, which is affiliated with the National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists.

Over a Million Cubans Graduated from Univeristy in 50 years

More than a million Cuban people have received university degrees as a result of the transformation process, initiated by the Cuban Revolution, in the higher education system.

The Cuban Higher Education Minister, Miguel Diaz-Canel, pointed out that the quantitative increase on the university enrolment responds to the Cuban social inclusion policies, during a lectured offered in the International Congress on Pedagogy 2011.

Nowadays, the university enrolment includes more than 700 000 people in Cuba, mainly in their municipalities due to the universalization process which began in 2001.

Diaz-Canel affirmed that this sector is improving the educational work, the knowledge on History and the shaping of values despite that the university is in no conditions yet to meet all the needs of the national economic plan.

He noted that in view of the economic and ideological challenges imposed by the current situation, the higher education system is working for ratifying the Cuban university model.

The Cuban minister also highlighted the research programs of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, the graduation of more than 30 000 foreign students from 129 nations, and the constant improvement of university processes.

domingo, 23 de enero de 2011

Cuban Tourism Has Ambitious Projects

Cuba announced its goal to close 2011 with 2.7 million foreign visitors as part of an ambitious project of development of this booming industry that grew 4.2 percent last year.

We have concluded 2010 with good results within the complex situation of the world, with about 2.53 million international visitors, pointed out Jose Manuel Bisbe, commercial director of the Cuban Tourism Ministry (MINTUR). He explained that a growth above eight percent this year implies 200,000 more visitors than in 2010. It is a strong goal, above all considering world expansion in the sector of about 4 and 5 percent.

Regarding the prospects for the industry in the Island, the official said that work is ongoing to incorporate new hotel accommodations in destinations such as Cayo Santa Maria in the central province of Villa Clara, as well as refurbishing the beach resort of Varadero, Cayo Coco and Holguin.

We are undertaking important works in the infrastructure that supports tourism in the historical center of the Cuban capital and in patrimonial cities such as Trinidad, Remedios, Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Santiago de Cuba and Baracao, he said.

miércoles, 19 de enero de 2011

Casa de las Americas Literary Award

Casa de las Americas Literary will be set in motion with the formal establishment of the jury and the opening words of Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, and the Peruvian anthropologist, Stefano Varese.

In its 52 edition, dedicated to the centenary of the birth of the Peruvian writer José María Arguedas (Deep Rivers, Yawar fiesta) 300 original works are competing in the genres of novels, short stories, testimonies, artistic and literary essay and Brazilian literature in the form of fiction.

Prominent literature figures make up the jury that will decide on the works worthy of awards, including the US poet Margaret Randall, the Colombian Roberto Burgos Cantor, Martin Kohan from Argentina, Chilean Andrea Jeftanovich and Spanish Eduardo Becerra.

After the opening ceremony, at the House’s Che Guevara hall, under the Tree of Life, one of the emblems of that institution, they will sell the book “The plebeian nation” by Garcia Linera.

Published by the Casa de las Americas Publishing Fund, the book compiles some essays “to discuss and dialogue not only about the future of Bolivia but also about the Marxist thought.”

As stated in the cover, the volume “invites us to get rid of not a few prejudices about American society, cultivated by much of the critical tradition of our history, including Marxism.”

Although its official opening is today, there was a preamble yesterday in the auditorium of the San Geronimo University in Havana, at Old Havana where the ancient music group Ars Longa performed the Musical Renaissance in New Spain concert.

Cuban Actress Wins Lumiere Award

Venus Noire, a raw French film by Adbellatif Kechiche, became a launch pad to fame for first-time Cuban actress Yahima Torres, who won Most Promising Actress at the 16th annual Lumiere Awards.

The news was too much of a surprise, because the young woman, who lives in Paris, had received praise from French critics and also at the Venice Film Festival.

"It is all like a dream and a miracle, although it also meant much dedication and sacrifice on my part," she told reporters.

"I am from a country of solidarity, and I feel like the voice of the Cuban people here in Paris," she added.

Venus Noire is a depiction of the tragic real-life story of South African Saartje Baartman, whose hyptertrophied genitals made her an object of attention by scientific, artistic and bourgeois circles in Europe who abused her and treated her like an animal.

Yahima Torres came to France in 2003, invited by friends to teach Spanish, and in her neighbourhood, Belleville, she accidentally ran into the director Kechiche, previously known for his films The Secret of the Grain and Games of Love and Chance.

Four years later, he called her for the casting of Venus Noire and she immediately got the parat.

Torres, who had never acted before, said she took classes in theater, African dance, singing and violin; learned Afrikaans, and gained almost 30 pounds to play the part of Saartje Baartman.

sábado, 15 de enero de 2011

Soon The 17th International Graphic Humor Biennial

The municipality of San Antonio de los Baños will be the venue of the 17th International Graphic Humor Biennial scheduled to be held March 27-29, 2011.

Humor Art Museum Director, Isel Chacon, said that this year’s competition is calling cartoonists from all over the world to “think and draw for tomorrow,” as the event’s theme will be focusing on opposing war and the struggle for the release of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters unjustly imprisoned in the US.

The Biennial’s jury will be made of comedy writers who will chose winners in the categories of general humor, political satire, comic strips, personal caricature and humorous photography. The jury will also grant the competition’s most important award, the Eduardo Abela Prize, to honor Cuban humorist and painter Eduardo Abela (1889-1965).

For the first time, the Biennial will award the Tomy Online Prize, in memory of Cuban cartoonist Tomas Rodríguez Zayas, nicknamed Tomy, who passed away last year. The Prize will be awarded to the work that better shows the economic, financial, and trade blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba.

Cuban Filmmaker Pineda Barnet Is Shooting His New Movie Verde Verde

Described by the director as a psychological thriller, a very uncommon genre in Cuban movies, the film has a cast that includes actors Héctor Noas and Carlos Miguel Caballero.

Enrique Pineda, who is also the director of the ticket-box hit The Beauty of Alhambra, includes Cuban singer Farah María as a guest artist. She is a former member of the Meme Solis quartet, had a very successful career as a soloist in the 1970’s and 1980’s and in the film she is a classical sex symbol and a seductive lady.

Having absolutely nothing to do with the famous poem Verde que te quiero verde by renowned Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, Pineda Barnet points out that psychological thrillers are nothing new in his career.

He won the Goya Award from the Spanish Movie Academy in 1990 for The Beauty of Alhambra, considered his most famous movie. Pineda Barnet also won the 2006 National Film Prize for the work of his entire life.

Starring Beatriz Valdés, The Beauty of Alhambra was inspired by the testimony-novel Canción de Rachel, written by Miguel Barnet, and still preserves its fascination intact, winning around 25 awards in Cuba and abroad.

jueves, 13 de enero de 2011

“Boleto al Paraiso” to participate at the Sundance Festival

The Cuban film Boleto al Paraíso (A ticket to Paradise), the most recent film by Gerardo Chijona, was selected to participate at the Sundance Festival.

Boleto al Paraiso was one of the 13 films chosen by the selection committee among over 1,000 productions that hoped to be included in the Sundance Festival.

The event, scheduled for January 20-30, 2011, in Park City, Utah, in the United States, was set up by actor and director Robert Redford, and it is considered as one of the most important film festivals internationally.

The Cuban film is Chijona’s fourth movie; it was produced by the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC) with the participation of Malas Compañias P.C. (Spain), the Foundation Villa del Cine (Venezuela) and the support of the IBERMEDIA Program.

Chijona, director of comedies such as Adorables mentiras (Adorable lies), Un paraiso bajo las estrellas (A paradise under the stars) and Perfecto amor equivocado (Perfect wrong love), explained

that he and photography director, Raul Perez Ureta, wanted the film to be a demi-documentary and to tell the story through images rather than dialogues and dramatic actions.

The film was shot in 52 locations and lasted about six weeks, including 25 night calls and more than a year looking for young actors for the leading characters.

José Martí Memorial Celebrates Its 15

In the historic Revolution Square in Havana, José Martí Memorial will celebrate its 15 anniversary with a commitment to disseminate the various facets of life and work of the Cuban National Hero.

The museologist Isabel Rivero said that the best way to celebrate the event is to continue honoring the intellectual’s outstanding thought, born on January 28, 1853.

"This is an ideal place to convey humanist and revolutionary values to Cuban children and young people, hence its continued efforts to attract new generations," she said.

She also said the memorial has a vital educational role for all levels of teaching, because its materials enrich students’ knowledge about the author of "The Golden Age".

The main event for the 15th anniversary of the memorial will be held on Jan 27 in the afternoon, and guests will enjoy a performance by pianist Frank Fernández.

Before it will be screened the Cuban film "Martí, el ojo del canario" by director Fernando Pérez, and a collective exhibition called Martí and Plastic Arts.

There will be artistic galas for all ages, and others dedicated to political and mass organizations, said the specialist.