The Havana Film Festival New York Awards
Memories of Overdevelopment / Memorias del Desarrollo by Miguel Coyula (U.S-Cuba) won the Havana Star Prize for Best Picture as voted by the jury members: Louis Perego Moreno, Michael Hausman, and Sandy Lieberson. The Havana Star for Best director went to Rafi Mercado for his film Miente / Lie (Puerto Rico); the Best Screenplay prize went to Ray Figueroa for La Bodega / The Warehouse (Guatemala) and the Special Jury Mention went to Huacho (Chile) directed by Alejandro Fernandez. The Closing Night Ceremony took place at April 23rd, 7 pm, at the New York Directors Guild Theatre.
After careful consideration of the fifteen selected films, hailing from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and The United States of America, the jury concluded: "Congratulating all filmmakers on the quality of their films. As jurors, we've been privileged with a glimpse at a movement of filmmakers that are determined to tell their own stories and to define personal styles and aesthetics that made our job all the more interesting and challenging. These are works that collectively represent the strengthening of a critical and complex Latin American film industry - and that truly reflect, and are part of, the audiovisual history of the American continents."
As the festival enters its second decade, HFFNY established the Havana Star Prize to recognize the work of outstanding filmmakers in the categories of Best Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay.
Memories of Overdevelopment (Memorias del Desarrollo) follow-up to the seminal Cuban film, Memories of Underdevelopment (Tomas Gutierrez Alea). The film continues a fascinating journey to the interior subjectivity of Sergio, a bourgeois intellectual, 30 years later, this time dealing with old age, alienation and facing exile in New York. When accepting the Havana Star award, Cuban born, New York based director, Miguel Coyula expressed: "To receive the Havana Star Prize for best film means a lot for me, it is a testament to a jury that is willing to take the same risk I took as a filmmaker. This means even more today in a world plagued by many Film Festivals that are more about political correctness, commercial appeal, and less about artistic integrity. We had a very intelligent reception from the audiences as well, which was equally amazing."
The other awards went to:
• Best Director, Rafi Mercado for Miente / Lie (Puerto Rico), an edgy, visually stunning psychological thriller told through the eyes of a young artist. The actress Maine Anders (Jane in the movie) received the award.
• Best Screenplay to Ray Figueroa for La Bodega / The Warehouse (Guatemala), an urban tale of a young man and his best friend seeking to avenge his sister's brutal assault.
Ray Figueroa received the award as "a recognition to an expanding Guatemalan cinema."
• Special Jury Mention to Huacho (Chile), directed by Alejandro Fernandez. A beautifully conceived story about the struggles of a peasant family in Chile. In the jury's own words: "Daring to cross genres, the movie was filmed like an observational documentary that displayed the harsh reality experienced by millions of rural Chileans." Its Artistic Director, Alejandra Villasmil received the award.
HFFNY 2010 honored renowned Cuban writer, director, poet, actor and dramatist Enrique Pineda Barnet, who has given the public more than 4 decades of unforgettable cinema. HFFNY paid him tribute with screenings of Cosmorama, considered the precursor to the contemporary video art movement, and today is part of the permanent collection at the Centro Reina Sofia de España (Queen Sofia of Spain Center); La Bella de la Alhambra, Best Picture winner of the prestigious Goya award; and La Anunciación, his most recent film about the reunion of state-side Cubans and their families.
The Closing Night Ceremony and Awards Presentation was followed by the U.S. premiere of Eso que Anda, an entertaining documentary by Ian Padrón follows the band Los Van Van on their most recent tour in Cuba, attended by more than 1 million people.
The festival compiled and exhibited more than 46 films in the fiction and documentary film genres; the total attendance was the largest in the history of the festival. Another distinguishing characteristic of this year's festival was the panel discussion The Business of Filmmaking: LATIN AMERICA-U.S., the legal and business aspects of motion picture development, finance, production, and distribution at NYU'S King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center with film industry experts and filmmakers.
The presenting sponsor of HFFNY 2010 is NBC 4 / Telemundo 47. Additional sponsorship is provided by El Diario La Prensa, The National Arts Club, WBAI, TD Bank, Latino Artists Round Table (LART), NY Remezcla, Xael Charters, U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Mexicana Airlines, LICP Graphics, Cine Latino en NY, NALIP, Havana-Cultura.com, Marazul Charters, Rockamedia, Copacabana Pizza & Grill, Giovanna's, Bardolino, Il Buco, and Brazil Brazil. Official hotel sponsors are the Maritime Hotel, the Bowery Hotel, and the Gershwin Hotel.
HFFNY is made possible with public funds from the NYS Council on the Arts, a state agency and supported, in part, by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. Mayor Bloomberg's Latin Media and Entertainment Commission (LMEC) supports the festival. HFFNY is included in New York City's Immigrant Heritage Week celebration.
The Havana Film Festival New York is a project of American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba (AFLFC), a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization building cultural bridges between the U.S. and Cuba through programs in the arts.