Media Relations

Press Release:

MEDIA CONTACT: Polly Burks
561-297-2595, pburks@fau.edu

FAU Presents a Cuban Film Festival

BOCA RATON, Fla. (September 12, 2013) – Florida Atlantic University´s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters will present a groundbreaking film festival, titled “Submerged,” showcasing “alternative” films produced over the last decade in Cuba. The festival, which is free and open to the public, will screen 18 short, medium-length, and feature-length films from Friday, Sept. 27 through Sunday, Sept. 29. The films, reflecting a variety of genres and formal styles, are organized into six thematic blocks so that a viewer can see shorts and features in one sitting, take a break, and come back for another block of movies. All films will be screened in the Performing Arts Building, room 101, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus, and will be presented with English subtitles. A full list of films can be found at www.fau.edu/cubanfilmfestival.

The festival was curated by a film critic and a filmmaker in Cuba, Dean Luis Reyes and Miguel Coyula, and produced in collaboration with Luis Duno-Gottberg of Rice University. The project began to take shape after co-organizer and FAU associate professor of Latin American studies, Michael J. Horswell, visited the island with Duno-Gottberg in the spring of 2013 as part of a Rice University study tour.

“We realized that the changes taking place in Cuba over the last few years were being captured on film in unique and interesting ways and that many of these films had not been seen here in the States,” said Horswell. “Given the importance of Cuba to South Florida, my colleagues here at FAU and I believe it is imperative to bring this work to our community.”

The organizers decided to approach the festival by posing a question, “In the context of contemporary Cuban Cinema, what is ‘alternative?’ Is it the same as ‘independent,’ ‘experimental’ or ‘underground?’”

To answer this question organizers have selected films that represent an alternative to institutionally sanctioned or sponsored media, as well as films that challenge conventional topics and forms. These are films dealing with characters, themes, points-of-view and formal elements not found in mainstream Cuban cinema. Some of these are “experimental” in that they challenge the limits of the medium, the production process, or the structure of the work. Others are “underground,” in that they function outside of official government-sponsored networks. These films connote something subversive that might make mainstream audiences uncomfortable. They are films that challenge expectations and cinematic traditions and that transcend the conditions that “official” visual culture might have imposed.  

Javier Guerrero, a professor of Latin American film studies at Princeton University, reviewed the festival catalog, and commented that “‘Submerged’ is a provocation. It pushes us to think critically about a production -- be it independent, alternative, subterranean, or better yet, and most appropriately, underwater. ‘Submerged’ addresses the process of creation and revision of a cinema that is changing irreversibly, due to new technologies, different exhibition and distribution networks, and the destabilization of concepts as germane to Cuban film as that of ‘national cinema.’”

A highlight of the festival will be the participation of award-winning filmmaker Miguel Coyula, who will be present to screen and discuss his film, “Memories of Overdevelopment,” on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 4 p.m. In addition to the screening of the films, FAU’s Integrative Arts Outreach Program of the Schmidt Galleries, in conjunction with the Spanish Studies program, will produce a professional development workshop for area teachers interested in digital filmmaking, Cuban cultural history and Cuban film history on Saturday, September 28 from 1:00 to 2:30.

The festival is sponsored by several programs in the College of Arts and Letters, including the Integrative Arts Outreach Programs of the Schmidt University Galleries; the Caribbean and Latin American Studies Certificate Program; the Ph.D. in Comparative Studies; Spanish Studies; Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature; Sigma Delta Pi, Spanish Honor Society; and the School of Communications and Multimedia Studies.   For more information about the Cuban Film Festival, call 561-297-0155.

-FAU-

About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.

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