Censorship in Cuba – Censura en Cuba
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The Film ‘Santa and Andrés’ is Excluded From Havana Festival / 14ymedio,
Luz Escobar

14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 23 November 2016 — The film Santa and
Andrés will not be screened at the 38th edition of the Havana Film
Festival, to be held between 8 and 18 December. Sources from the
industry guild commented to 14ymedio that the exclusion of the
independent film, directed by Carlos Lechuga, could be motivated by its
theme, focusing on censorship against a gay intellectual in the early

The 36th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema awarded the
film the prize for an unpublished script, but it will not compete in
this year’s festival. This decision came from “the highest authority,”
several filmmakers told 14ymedio, and contrasts with the decision
initially made by the event’s organizing committee, which gave a green
light to the showing of the film.

An article in the official blog El Heraldo Cubano says that the plot of
the movie “aims to highlight political persecution and attacks on the
island that did not take place.” The article says that the film follows
“a course of action that is not consistent with history.”

The article has circulated widely among filmmakers, and Carlos Lechuga,
in a passionate response on his Facebook page, says that the author’s
words are not only an attack on Santa and Andrés, but also represent “a
critique and an attack on all independent cinema.”

The director, Enrique ‘Kiki’ Alvarez, has joined the defense of the film
because he feels that the story of the two main characters, “who are
opposites, she a revolutionary and he a censored writer, forced to be
together,” ends up leading them “to a coming together and a recognition
of the other that defines the humanistic will of this film.”

Lechuga continues to hope that the decision to exclude the movie from
the most important film event on the island will be reversed. However,
the filmmaker Miguel Coyula believes he “is still trying to have a
dialogue of the deaf (…). We have to advocate for creating a space, an
independent theater, where art films are shown without being dominated
by the dictates of an institution.”

The official attack has ignored the vast number of awards received by
Lechuga, including the Julio Alejandro Award from Spain’s General
Society of Authors and Editors (SGAE). This is the second feature film
by this young director, who captivated audiences with his
film Molasses (2012).

Santa and Andrés premiered to a full house at the Toronto International
Film Festival, and was also screened at San Sebastian, Chicago and
Zurich. Its first showings were dedicated to Reinaldo Arenas, René
Ariza, Nestor Almendros, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Virgilio Piñera and
José Lezama Lima.

Lechuga says that in the idea and filming of the work he was motivated
by “the desire, the attempt, to hear the voice of many who were silenced
or who suffered the repression of people who tried to silence them.”

The Havana Film Festival will show 440 films this year, with 36 of them
competing for prizes. Among them, two Cuban productions will compete in
the category of first works and three will compete for the award for
best feature film.

For more than three years several Cuban filmmakers have defended, in
open meetings ,the idea of a Film Law that would permit the development
and operation of independent production houses.

Source: The Film ‘Santa and Andrés’ is Excluded From Havana Festival /
14ymedio, Luz Escobar – Translating Cuba –

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