From Cuba: Young and Pink in Barcelona

The presence of Cuban films at the 17th edition of The Barcelona International LGTIB Film Festival  contributes to show up youth and self-confidence, characteristic elements of the audiovisuals in our Island at the present time. To start with the fiction feature, the film Santa y Andrés (Carlos Lechuga, 2016) brings us closer to a story about intolerance and prejudice, not only of sexual  nature, but social and political too built on an original love story. Two very well composed characters are integrated into the most illustrious human beings in our cinema.

Another documentary film is Villa Rosa (Lázaro G.González, 2016) takes place at Caibarién, a humble fishing village in the North of the country, where an aquatic carnival is organized by the active Gay community there. The young director, based on the screenplay by Nelson Breijo, took the opportunity to investigate and reveal some criteria and experiences about many local people’s lives on the site. According to the trans Roxana Rojo (a Diva there) dyed herself in pink for the event. It’s a well-known colour and an international symbol for homoerotism.

The approach goes beyond an specific fact to address the issue far beyond the context, starting from different viewpoints that, according to the people called to contest, their professions and cultural levels are weaving a map of sexual diversity by revealing their own macro and micro stories starting the specific-local to the national ones.

The short films also deal with the research of alternative and dissident identities: Luxemburgo (Fabián Suárez, 2016) depicts the failed relationship between an obese gay and dreamy man, and a security guard working at the first McDonalds factory in Cuba. Machismo, double morality and homophobia along with pragmatism and insensitivity characterizes this approach to an specific area of Cuban society, while showing at the same time some universal aspects.

Finally, the documentary short film Batería (Damián Sainz, 2016) reveals the interior of an old military fortress in ruins, outside Havana, where homosexuals go, not just looking for sex, but also for shelter inside the walls, even with rubbish around. This is a worthy sociocultural essay and a great testimony of image and sound in order to draw a mapping from the most representative spaces taken from the outskirts, where the “diversexual “ community is relegated in Cuba, and focused on marginality and danger. In spite of this, many of them have succeeded in building up a dignified and even a nice refuge of their own.

As a way of example, many of these films are grouped within the so-called ICAIC Young Filmmakers Exhibition, but in this 17th edition of The Barcelona International LGTIB Film Festival,  what it might be highly appreciated, as far as contemporary Cuban audiovisuals is  concerned, is the filmmakers’ interest  in reflecting the sexual diversity with its peculiar edges, and the development in this Antilles island.

Frank Padrón, Havana 2017.

Poet, narrator, essayist, Art critic and Cuban audiovisual massmedia communicator. He is specialized in Ibero-American cinema, and has taught at the International School of Cinema and TV in San Antonio de los Baños. Author of the book Different. Cinema and sexual diversity. He has also worked as a cultural promoter and in favour of the LGBTI community rights in Cuba. He is a member of the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists, and the Union of Journalists in Cuba. He is a Founding Member of the Cuban Cinematographic Press Association, affiliated to the International Federation of Cinematographic Press (FIPRESCI).


Free gender identities

In the present  16th edition, we have expanded our partnership with some important entities, such as Òmnium Cultural, Fundació Àmbit Prevenció, and the opening night will be with Casa America Catalonia. The sessions will take place at the Cinematheque.
Several debates and collaborations with these entities will complete the programme. For instance, the subject about AIDS thirty years later with be carried out with Òmnium Cultural, and the transphobia subject  with the Fundació Àmbit Prevenció of Raval District, Barcelona City Council.
The guest country is Israel, due to the young emerging talented film directors from different film schools in that country. We have scheduled a session of short films dedicated to their jobs, with the presence of several filmmakers.
With a schedule of more than 50 titles from twenty countries, the prospect becomes wider one more year, and including the risk of filmmakers to deal with LGTIB issues in countries where there still exists  death penalty for homosexuality. This year, twenty five professionals will introduce  their films.
Some of the issues are: a Muslim girl who performs an act of love for another one who has been kidnapped and abused by Daesh, it is a film from Saudi Arabia; an allegation against homophobia reaching the most extreme point, by a filmmaker from Israel who will present the session dedicated to this country; a headmistress explains how the risk of an erotic dream becomes true, in a co-production between Israel and Palestine; children and adolescent transgender who have to endure transphobia which affects their lives, and AIDS survivors in San Francisco. These are some of the subjects conveyed in this yearly event, revealing  the concerns of the most rebellious and nonconformist young filmmakers.
In our short films programming we also show  several examples of identities whether or not transgender, since children transgender goes beyond attitudes, that’s to say, a kid  with a boy’s role and a girl with a girl’s role are concepts already established by a repressive society. These young filmmakers want to break the rules socially imposed by male characters and their eagerness for  classifing. They claim stop being  labeled, and they are in favour of each one’s dentity by expressing their own feelings freely.
One of the targets we have set out along all 16 editions is that from The Barcelona International LGTIB Film Festival we have always wanted to give support the Catalan movies because we are aware how difficult it is to produce a feature film in our country. For this reason, we have included the world premiere of Wild Awakening, directed by Joanfer Martin where he explains a rather unusual issue in cinema today, as how homophobia is sometimes a result of a repressed homosexuality.

Founder and  Film Festival Director
Board of Catalan College of Filmmakers
Member of the Catalan Film Critics Association and FIPRESCI

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