Havana Film Festival to Take Place Despite Covid-19

By Amaury Ricardo

HAVANA TIMES – The 42nd edition of the Havana Film Festival is on under the slogan “What the doctor prescribed”, in “two doses.” The first dose between December 3rd and 13th, and the second from March 11th until the 21st.

The Festival’s president, Ivan Giroud, and Yumey Besu, the event manager, announced all of the festival’s details during a press conference earlier this week.

Giroud pointed out that 98 movies will be screened during the first dose. It keeps with the tradition of the Festival in December and takes into account restrictions that the current pandemic imposed. These movies belong to the categories: Latin American Panorama, International Contemporary Panorama, and Documentary Panorama. Additionally, some movies will be shown during special screenings.

Movie theaters welcoming the Festival this year are La Rampa, 23rd and 12th streets and Riviera, which will screen the movies three times a day; and the Yara and Acapulco with four screenings a day.

The competition for best unpublished script will also take place in December, with over 800 entries, as well as the competition for best poster, with 105 entries.

The exhibition of the 30 finalists’ posters will be held at the Casa del Festival. In March, it will move to the lobby of the Charles Chaplin cinema.

The Coral award for both Best Unpublished Script and Best Movie Poster will be awarded at the end of the first dose.

On December 7th and 8th, a theoretical gathering will be held which will focus on the production of animated movies in Cuba. Homage will be paid to filmmaker Juan Padron, and to renowned cartoon director, Paco Prats. Both creators passed away this year.

The Cuban National Film Award

The program also includes the official award ceremony for the 2020 National Film Award, which went to Paco Prats, and storyteller and scriptwriter Senel Paz.

Ivan Giroud

Giroud mentioned that credentials and “passports” won’t be used this edition to grant people entry into movie theaters. Tickets will be put on sale at the abovementioned movie theaters, as will the Festival program. The latter features the complete schedule of showings from December 3rd until the 13th.

In March (11-21), the New Latin American Film competition will take place, with its press conferences, Giroud announced.

Over 100 movies have been entered into the competition. These are from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the US, the UK, Mexico, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Honduras, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Colombia, and others.

Giroud revealed that Cuba will have a strong presence in the Short Story Features. However, he noted the island’s directors have no feature film in this year’s competition.

The opening ceremony on December 3rd will be broadcast live on Cuban TV. The program will also include the movie that will open the Festival.

Furthermore, Cuban TV will dedicate a slot daily to the event, showing one of the movies showing at theaters.  

Festival organizers announced the safety measures that have been adopted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disinfectant, mats and disposable masks will be readily available at movie theater entrances.

Assuring physical distancing forces movie theaters to operate at only 30% capacity. Two seats will be left free between occupied seats, which are numbered and correspond to the ticket number. Only alternate rows will be occupied too. On the other hand, movie screenings will take place at 4-hour intervals, so that seating can be properly disinfected.

Read more news from Cuba on Havana Times.