Tuesday February 21, 2017

Nadine Covert

Documentary Insights at the Havana Film Festival New York

Midway through the 2016 Havana Film Festival New York, film writer and documentary specialist Nadine Covert reflects on the Cuba-themed documentaries on the festival schedule.

Preview: 2016 Havana Film Festival New York

Close to 20 Cuban productions and co-productions anchor an ambitious schedule of features, documentaries, and short subjects from Latin America and the Caribbean. Entries from the island range from film noir to children’s animation, plus tributes to Isabel Santos, Enrique Molina, and Titón—and a sneak preview of Viva.

Remembering Alina

Celebrated Cuban actress Alina Rodríguez died on July 27, at age 63, of pancreatic cancer. One of the most distinguished stars of Cuban stage and screen, she was beloved for her versatile talent and her nobility of spirit. Her final role as the stern but loving teacher, Carmela, in the movie Conducta (Ernesto Daranas, 2014), earned her international renown and multiple awards.

At the Movies: Three Master Actors, Two Compelling Films

This spring’s Havana Film Festival New York presented two powerful filmsone by a much-honored veteran director and one making her fiction-film debut. And both feature stellar performances by the same three actors.

VIDEO: "Nosotros La Música" Tours Cuban Musical History

For the 16th Havana Film Festival New York, film historian Luciano Castillo curated a crowd-pleasing panorama of post-revolutionary Cuban music films.

VIDEO: Cuba: Golden 60s Brings Classic Cuban Cinema to Brooklyn

Rigorously inventive, experimental, and crackling with the sociopolitics of the era, Cuban films of the 1960s come to the screen in a series opening this Friday at the BAMcinématek.

Bookshelf: Cuban Art, Photography, History, and More

For your reading pleasure, these books spotlight artist Alexandre Arrechea, photography collections, Cuban theater in exile, and the adventures of a Cuban-born countess, among other topics.

Bookshelf: Cuban Art, Architecture, Music, Cooking, and More

Artists Luis Cruz Azaceta and Alberto Rey, modern architecture in Havana, Cuban music and cuisine are among the topics in this holiday-season round-up.

Shining light on Cuban artists today

Alumbrones, a documentary by South African filmmaker Bruce Donnelly, opened in New York last Friday for a one-week run. Twelve artists—male and female, ranging in age from 18 to 65, of varying social and cultural backgrounds—eloquently discuss the importance of art in their lives, their styles and techniques, their philosophy of life, and their love of Cuba.

The “New” Cuban Cinema Turns 55

Havana film historian Luciano Castillo celebrates the Cuban Institute of Film Art and Industry (ICAIC) with a special program surveying 55 years of “new” Cuban cinema.

The Havana Film Festival New York Celebrates Its 'Quinceañera' with a Powerhouse Program

An exceptionally strong slate of films from the island made the 15th HFFNY a memorable one for Cuban cinema. Nadine Covert offers a detailed recap of the Cuban films and how they fared in the festival competition.

Secundaria: A Complex Portrait of Dancers in Training

For three years, filmmaker Mary Jane Doherty followed a secondary-school class at Havana’s famed National School of Ballet. In an e-mail interview with Nadine Covert, she talks about the filmmaking process, her immersion in the world of Cuban ballet students, and the unexpected twists that her story took.

Yoan Capote: A Conversation at CUNY

At the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Cuban artist Yoan Capote discusses his recent sculptures, his working methods, and the challenges and opportunities confronting artists in Cuba today.

Video: Osiel Gounod, Cuban Ballet’s Rising Star

Look out, Carlos Acosta—there’s a new Cuban star on the ballet horizon. A two-part video (14 minutes total) introduces Osiel Gounud, among the youngest-ever principal male dancers with the National Ballet of Cuba. And a third video, less than 2 minutes, offers a quick glimpse of this exciting bailarín in performance.

Photo-Based Art Experiments at Galería Habana

Curator Elvia Rosa Castro has selected 13 young and emerging Cuban artists for Tócate, the summer show at Galería Habana. Art school grads, students, self-taught artists—all were invited to submit work. The results are a snapshot of current trends among emerging artists on the island.

Video: Alcestis Ascending -- A Cuban-American Co-Production Goes Off-Broadway

Company HavanaBama, a collaboration between Cuba’s National Office of Scenic Arts (CNAE) and the University of Alabama, has crafted a bilingual rock musical based on Euripides classic tale of narcissism and the redemptive power of love. First stop, Tuscaloosa—then Off-Broadway and Havana.

Video: Dancing Triplets, Four Years Later

BBC reporter Sarah Rainsford recently interviewed the three brothers, now age thirteen, and caught up with them in a short video essay.

Rebel: A Cuban-American Woman in the U.S.Civil War, Part 2

The documentary Rebel, which aired on public television last week, reveals the little-known story of Loreta Janeta Velázquez (1842-c. 1902), the daughter of a wealthy Cuban family who disguised herself as a man and fought in the U.S. Civil War as a Confederate soldier. The film’s director, María Agui Carter, talks about her research for the documentary with Cuban Art News.

Rebel: A Cuban-American Woman in the U.S.Civil War

Who was Loreta Janeta Velázquez? In her documentary Rebel, filmmaker María Agui Carter explores the astonishing story of this pampered daughter of a wealthy Cuban family who disguised herself as a man and fought in the American Civil War. Was Loreta a historical figure, or a fictional character? Recent research indicates that she did indeed exist.

Cinema Before the Revolution

Cinema historian Luciano Castillo, co-author of Cronología del cine cubano, presents a panorama of early Cuban cinema to audiences at the Havana Film Festival New York.

Cuban Short Films Spotlighted at MoMA

This year’s Documentary Fortnight film series at New York’s Museum of Modern Art featured “New Cuban Shorts,” a four-program series of recent documentaries by emerging directors. Nadine Covert reports on the films and the filmmakers who presented them.

To Dance Like A Man: Triplets at the Barre in Havana

Next week, a documentary about three young dancers at Havana’s National Ballet School has its North American premiere at the Dance on Camera festival at New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center. Cuban Art News caught up with director Sylvie Collier for a quick e-mail chat about the film, To Dance Like A Man.

The Man Behind the Movies: Who is Pablo Ferro?

You may not know his name, but if you’ve been to the movies in the past 40 years, you’ve seen his work. Cuban-American designer and animator Pablo Ferro created the opening title sequences and trailers for dozens of award-winning movies, from Dr. Strangelove to Good Will Hunting. Director Richard Goldgewicht discusses his film about designer-animator Pablo Ferro.

Phot’Aix 2012: “Glances Exchanged” Between Cuba and Provence

The 2012 edition of Phot’Aix, the annual French photography exhibition, features five Cuban photographers—Adonis Flores, Adrian Fernández Milanes, Aimée García Marrero, Jorge Otero, and René Peña—whose photographs are presented in dialogue with works by five photographers from the Aix-en-Provence region.

The Cuban Heritage Collection: A Treasure Trove Moves Online

In 1998, the University of Miami brought together its many archives about Cuba and the global Cuban diaspora to form the Cuban Heritage Collection. For scholars and researchers, the actual books and objects are indispensable resources in their work. For the rest of us, there’s an immense amount of enticing material—photos, postcards, cigar boxes, letters, online exhibitions, and more—easily accessible online, with the promise of more to come.

"Havana Havana!" Opens Doors to International Music Scene

You can go home again, as four well-traveled singer-composers—Raúl Paz, Descemer Bueno, Kelvis Ochoa, and David Torrens—deftly demonstrate in the film Havana, Havana!. The documentary by David Grubin has its U.S. TV premiere this Friday, July 27, on the PBS television network.

The Historian of Havana Comes to the U.S.

Anyone who has visited La Habana Vieja has seen the work of Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler, the Historian of the City of Havana. A crucial figure in the rescue and restoration of the city’s architectural patrimony, Dr. Spengler recently visited New York and Washington, D.C., where he talked about his ongoing work with packed crowds of urbanists, architects, and interested city-dwellers.

Wrap-Up: Havana Film Festival New York

The 13th Havana Film Festival New York wrapped up this past Friday evening with the presentation of the Havana Star Prizes. Though Cuba was well represented throughout the festival with more than a dozen films, top prizes went to films from Guatemala, Brazil, and Ecuador.

Documentary Focus: On Screen at HFFNY

Feature films usually grab the spotlight at festivals. But this year’s Havana Film Festival New York is showcasing an exceptionally rich selection of documentary films about Cuban life and culture, all made within the past two years. Documentary film expert Nadine Covert surveys the top picks, including films screening today, tonight, and tomorrow.