International Women’s Day: Cuban Women Filmmakers Showcase


Today (March 8) is International Women’s Day. For this occasion, the Women’s Media Center is inaugurating a series of films by women filmmakers from Cuba, beginning in Los Angeles (March 8-12), and continuing in New York (March 13-17) and Miami (March 18-25). Tonight, the series will be launched at the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles and screenings will run through March 12. New York and in Miami
Here are more details:

Fiction films about a housewife trying to help stray dogs and learning to help herself, an immigrant in Europe telling her daughter back in Cuba about her new life, and a man trying to write a poem while his wife complains about the heat and his son watches a R-rated movie. Documentaries about jazz and friendship, exhibitionism and the life before and after the revolution of a 95-year-old Cuban woman, María de los Reyes Castillo Bueno, whose grandmother was abducted by slave traders. “I loved making that movie,” acclaimed director Marina Ochoa said in Spanish about her film on the warm and feisty Bueno, “Blanco es mi pelo, negra mi piel” (“White Is My Hair, Black Is My Skin”). “She’s a black woman who was born in Cuba from slaves and I interviewed her because I wanted to show the history of Cuba through the history of a woman. I totally fell in love with her doing this project.”

That film, along with more than 20 others are part of the Cuban Women Filmmakers Showcase in Los Angeles, New York and Miami this March – the first time a group of Cuban women have come to the United States to show their films. Ochoa, the head of the Cuban Women Filmmakers Mediatheque, will come to the screenings and take part in Q&A and panel discussions along with award-winning filmmakers Gloria Rolando and Milena Almira, and acclaimed film and theater actresses, Claudia Rojas.

[. . .] Ruby Lopez co-chairs the Women In Film International Committee, which has partnered with a whole host of other organizations, including the Cuban Women Filmmakers Mediatheque, the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematograficos (ICAIC) and the American Cinematheque, to bring the filmmakers to the three U.S. cities. Lopez’s organization wants to broaden people’s horizons beyond Hollywood. She appreciates the aesthetic and the personal stories being told in the films in the showcase, she says.

[. . .] Producer Laura Bickman (“Che,” “Traffic”), another honorary host of the showcase, has found that exchange in her trips to Cuba. She has been going there since 2001 to do research for her films. “Cuba has such a wonderful rich cultural community with incredible musicians and artists and writers,” Bickford said. “Filmmaking there has a very strong tradition. [. . .] Being a filmmaker is just hard no matter what gender you are,” she said. “They are Cubans who found a way to make their voice be heard, which is hard in first world county. It’s amazing what they’ve done.”

[Many thanks to JoAnne Myers for bringing this item to our attention.]

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