Havana Film Festival New York celebrates 20 years

The 20th Havana Film Festival New York (HFFNY) is April 5-16, 2019. Festival Outreach is April 5-8. The Festival runs April 9-16, 2019.

Get tickets at hffny.com
Events sell out, so pre-purchase is strongly recommended.

The NY Festival partners with the Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano (Havana Film Festival) which is in Havana, Cuba every December.

Cuba is the sacred heart of Latin culture in the Americas. The NY Festival screens films you won’t see anywhere else. There are premieres, retrospectives, filmmaker Q&As and panels where you can meet the filmmakers.

The Festival is produced by the American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba (AFLFC). The Artistic Director is Colombian filmmaker and public relations consultant Diana Vargas.

Cuban Ballet Legend Carlos Acosta at HFFNY

The Festival highlight is the closing night benefit cocktail, closing party, and screening of Yuli, the docudrama biography of Carlos Acosta, the legendary Cuban ballet dancer (Royal Ballet), choreographer (Acosta Danza), and now Director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet (2019).

It’s a great story. As a boy, Acosta didn’t want to dance. But he was so naturally talented that the dance clearly chose him. His dance lifted Acosta out of extreme poverty to an international career.

OMG! Acosta has been invited to the party. He’ll probably be there. The party is going to sponsor a dance residency at Acosta Danza. OMG. OMG. OMG.

Saludos for 20 Years of Great Latin American Cinema

20th Havana Film Festival 2019. Courtesy the Festival.

20th Havana Film Festival 2019. Courtesy the Festival.

New York Latin Culture Magazine is a proud sponsor of the 20th Anniversary Havana Film Festival New York. When you come to New York City, it’s really comforting to see yourself somewhere. Congratulations on two decades of bringing the best Latin American cinema to New York City. Here’s to the next 20 years. Saludos.

20th Havana Film Festival 2019

The 20th Anniversary Festival presents over 35 films from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombian, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay and Latino films that are rarely screened in the U.S.

Recent award-winning Latin American films compete for the Havana Star Prize.

Foreign-language films are screened with English subtitles.

Havana Film Festival 2019 Highlights

“This year’s program is about the power of perspective, and how new voices are coming to the forefront to change not only how we think of Latin American cinema, but also how the film industry operates as a whole,” says HFFNY Artistic Director Diana Vargas.

“A major part of our 20th anniversary program is the celebration of the work of female directors from Latin America and Latinas in the U.S., who paradoxically, have been changing a male-dominated industry.”

Festival highlights include:

  • An homage to Fernando Pérez, the great Cuban filmmaker
  • Havana on Film: A cinematic timeline of Havana, Cuba which is celebrating its 500th anniversary
  • By Women for Women: A showcase of contemporary women filmmakers who are changing Latin America’s film industry
  • Green, please!: A focus on environmental issues of Indigenous people in Latin America
  • An homage to Fernando Pérez, one of Cuba’s most celebrated directors, which includes Suite Habana, Clandestinos and his newest historical drama Insumisas
  • A retrospective of Rigoberto López, the late Cuban director
  • Short film series
  • Free special public programs

Red Carpet Opening Night

Tuesday, April 9 at 7pm

SVA Theatre
333 West 23rd St, Manhattan

A red carpet welcomes directors and filmmakers in competition for the Havana Star Prize, followed by the opening night screening.

El Viaje Extraordinario de Celeste García (The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste Garcia)

Directed by Arturo Infante
Actor Nestor Jimenez present for Q&A

A retired teacher leaves her job at the Havana Planetarium to find a new, more fulfilling life among aliens.

Havana Star Prize Awards & Centerpiece

Monday, April 15 at 7:30pm

AMC Loews 34th Street
312 West 34th St, Manhattan

Havana Star Prize Awards Ceremony

The Havana Star Prize is awarded for Best Film , Director, Screenplay, Actor/Actress and Documentary.

Centerpiece: Insumisas

Directed by Fernando Pérez and Laura Cazador

A historical drama about the first female surgeon in Latin America and one of the most scandalous trails in Cuban history.

Closing Night

Directors Guild Theater
110 West 57th St, Manhattan

A cocktail celebration, screening of the biographical film Yuli and Fiesta Cubana afterparty in honor of Carlos Acosta, the world-renowned Cuban ballet dancer (Royal Ballet), choreographer (Acosta Danza), and now Director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Acosta Danza  is Acosta’s Cuban contemporary ballet company.

Proceeds from VIP tickets support exchange programs in the arts and a 3-year Acosta Danza residency for emerging dancers of limited means from around the world.


Directed by Iciar Bollain (2018)

A poignant docudrama that chronicles Acosta’s rise from poverty and prejudice to become an icon in the dance world.

April 16
Directors Guild of America
110 West 57th St, New York, NY 10019
(between Sixth & Seventh Ave)
Midtown, Manhattan

Screening only at 6:30pm: $20
VIP Pre-Screening Cocktail Party + Screening + Fiesta Cubana, 5:15pm – Late: $250

Bronx Outreach

Friday, April 5 at 6:30pm
iD Studio Theater
311 East 140th St, The Bronx, NY 10454

Yo Soy del Son a la Salsa
Tribute to Rigoberto López

A journey from the origins of Cuban son to today’s interpretations of Salsa in New York City, Havana, San Juan, Caracas and Ponce.

Queens Outreach

Museum of the Moving Image
35th Ave at 37th St., Astoria, Queens

Sunday, April 7 at 2pm
Eliades Ochoa: De Cuba para el mundo (Eliades Ochoa: From Cuba to the World)
by Cynthia Biesteck

Sunday, April 14 at 2pm
by Aleandro Gil
U.S. Premiere

Sunday April 14 at 4:30pm
Los Silencios (Silences)
By Beatriz Seigner (Brazil)
U.S. Premiere
A poetic, supernatural tale of a mother displaced from the conflict in Colombia who finds refuge for her family on a ghostly island in the Brazilian Amazon

Havana Film Festival 2019 Films

Sixteen films compete for the Havana Star Prize for Best Film , Director, Screenplay, Actor/Actress and Documentary.

AMC Loews 34th Street
312 West 34th St, Manhattan

Fiction Films

Sueño Florianópolis (Florianópolis Dream)

Ana Katz | Argentina, Brazil, France | 2018 | Fiction | 106min | NY PREMIERE
A smart comedy about an unstable family vacationing in Brazil, Katz’s newest work is a romping road trip replete with sexual flings, romantic troubles, and newfound leases on happiness.

El Motoarrebatador (The Snatch Thief)

Agustín Toscano | Argentina, Uruguay, France | 2018 | Fiction | 94min | NY PREMIERE
When Miguel, a thief who operates from his motorbike, snatches the purse from an old woman, he ends up injuring her badly. Unable to forget about his victim, and plagued by guilt, Miguel tries to do the right thing. The closer he gets to the injured woman, the more he becomes entangled in his own lies until he can’t distinguish right from wrong.

Los Silencios (Silences)

Beatriz Seigner | Brazil, France, Colombia | 2018 | Fiction | 89min | US PREMIER
A mother displaced from the conflict in Colombia finds refuge for her children in a ghostly island of the Amazons in Brazil. Beatriz Seigner’s film is a poetic story that transcends the boundaries of politics.

Miriam Miente (Miriam Lies)

Natalia Cabral, Oriol Estrada | Dominican Republic, Spain | 2018 | Fiction | 90min | NY PREMIERE
A quiet middle class world of good intentions begins to crumble when fourteen-year-old Miriam meets her internet boyfriend. While her family and friends prepare for her a traditional fifteenth birthday party, Miriam doesn’t know how to explain that her boyfriend is black.

Nido de Mantis (Mantis Nest)

Arturo Sotto Díaz | Cuba, México, Dominican Republic | 2018 | Fiction | 118min | NY PREMIERE
Arturo Sotto transports us to 1994 Cuba, when international political tensions are high. In the village of Siboney, a young woman, Sugar, is convicted of murder. As she sets out to prove her innocence, she weaves a stormy tale of love, jealousy and betrayal that goes back decades.

Inocencia (Innocense)

Alejandro Gil | Cuba | 2018 | Fiction | 120min | US PREMIERE
Based on true events, this eye-opening film takes us back to the 1870s when Cuba, still under Spain’s rule, bore witness to the unjust executions of eight medical students by Spanish colonial authorities.

El Viaje Extraordinario de Celeste García (The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste Garcia)

Arturo Infante | Cuba, Germany | 2018 | Fiction | 92min | NY PREMIERE
The feature film directorial debut of famed Cuban screenwriter Arturo Infante, follows retired teacher Celeste as she leaves her job at the Havana Planetarium to find a new, more fulfilling life, among aliens.

El Regreso (The Return)

Blanca Rosa Blanco, Alberto Luberta | Cuba | 2018 | Fiction | 105min | US PREMIERE A detective needs to dig deep into the past after the man she helped convict for a string of crimes dies, releasing a letter of innocence. The directorial debut of actress Blanca R. Blanco is a police thriller that brings viewers into a complex tale of love, mystery, and bravery.

Retablo (Altarpiece)

Álvaro Delgado Aparicio | Perú, Germany, Norway | 2017 | Fiction | 95min | NY PREMIERE 14-year-old Segundo lives with his parents in an indigenous village high up in the mountains of Peru. Noé is a respected artisan and Segundo’s role model. Segundo sees silence as his only option for dealing with his father’s secret. Retablo is an exquisitely shot film about art, family, toxic masculinity, and homophobia.

Rojo (Red)

Benjamín Naishtat | Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Germany, France, Switzerland | 2018 |
Fiction | 109min | NY PREMIERE
Set in Argentina during the mid-1970s, Naishtat’s hypnotic drama follows a successful lawyer whose picture-perfect life begins to unravel when a private detective comes to his seemingly quiet small town and starts asking questions.


La Concejal (Councilwoman)

Margo Guernsey | United States | 2018 | Documentary | 57 min | NY PREMIERE
A Dominican hotel housekeeper has won a City Council seat in Providence, RI. Energized to advocate for low-income workers, her stamina for politics is put to the test.

Entre un tango y un danzón (Between a Tango and a Danzón)

Marta N. Bautís | United States, Cuba | 2018 | Documentary | 60min | US PREMIERE
Follow Bautís’s journey through Havana, Matanzas and Gibara, as she explores the cultural and historical influences of two renowned musical genres. The documentary combines rich, archival footage with illuminating interviews, revealing a comprehensive understanding of Cuba’s cultural landscape.

Lejos del sentido (Away from Meaning)

Olivia Luengas | México | 2018 | Documentary | 88min |NY PREMIERE
Upon discovering that something wasn’t right with her mental health, Liliana and her family seek a reason for her emotional instability and her frequent hospitalizations due to suicidal attempts. Facing a possible relapse and without the option of psychiatric institutionalization, they will resort to home treatment.

El camino de Santiago (Santiago’s Journey)

Tristán Bauer | Argentina | 2018 | Documentary | 80min | NY PREMIERE
This film looks for the motives behind the death of Argentine social activist Santiago Maldonado. In a country of 30,000 disappeared, Santiago’s death generated indignation from family members, human rights organizations and society as a whole. On October 17, 2017, 78 days after his disappearance, the body of Santiago appeared on the banks of the Chubut River and this documentary began. Narrated by actor Darío Grandinetti and music by León Gieco.

Las cruces (The Crosses)

Teresa Arredondo Lugón, Carlos Vásquez Méndez | Chile | 2018 | Documentary | 80min
In September 1973, 19 paper mill workers were imprisoned and taken to a police station. Six years later their bodies were found. After 40 years, a policeman involved breaks the pact of silence.

Eliades Ochoa: De Cuba para el mundo (Eliades Ochoa: From Cuba to the World

Cynthia Biedek | Cuba, México | 2018 | Documentary | 100 min | NY PREMIERE
Spreading his love for traditional Cuban folk music has always been the main goal of Cuban legendary guitarist Eliades Ochoa. That love shines through in this documentary.

Short Films

Films 2 Films: Vignettes from Cuba to NY

34th St, April 13, 3:30pm.

Works include:

Cuban Wave Riders
by Liz Magee and Taylor McNulty

Latido de Corazón
by Hadley Schnuck

Cuban Canvas
by Kavery Kaul

Carlos Q.D.W.
by Miguel Rueda

Lesson #8
by Alberto Ferreras

Special Programs

Special Programs are free and open to the public.

Happy 500th Birthday, Havana! The City on Film

A program curated by Cuban Film Archives Director Luciano Castillo will feature some of Santiago Álvarez’s most seminal newsreels, restored and remastered.

Saturday, April 6 at 3pm
New York Institute of Technology
16 West 61st Street, 11th Floor, Manhattan

Suite Habana (2003)

Fernando Pérez’s award-winning city symphony set on the vibrant streets of Havana.

Monday, April 8 at 6:30pm
New York Institute of Technology
16 West 61st Street, 11th Floor, Manhattan

By Women for Women: Latinas Spark Change

Ana Katz, Olivia Luengas, Margo Guernsey, Blanca Rosa Blanco and Marta Bautis talk about their experiences behind the camera in a conversation moderated by professor Michelle Farrell.

Saturday, April 13 at 12pm
AMC Loews 34th St, Manhattan

El Pretexto de la Memoria: Una historia del festival de cine de la Habana

Book presentation by Iván Giroud, President of the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema of Havana. Professor Jerry Carlson moderates the discussion about this iconic festival.

Sunday, April 14 at 12pm
AMC Loews 34th St, Manhattan

Havana Film Festival Tickets

Tickets are available at the door or online at hffny.com

Individual Films: From $10
Weekday Pass: $50
Festival Pass: $200
VIP Closing Night Screening & Parties: $250
Festival & Parties: $500

The Festival sells out, so online pre-purchase is highly recommended.

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