On March 14, NYWIFT sponsored a night of short films made by Cuban women filmmakers at the Tribeca Film Center, part of a weeklong showcase held at locations across NYC.
Blanco Es Mi Pelo, Negra Mi Piel (White Is My Hair, Black Is My Skin) by Marina Ochoa
Derecho de Ser (The Right to Be) by Claudia Rojas
El Pez De La Torre Nada En El Asfalto (The Fish of the Tower Swims on the Asphalt) by Adriana Fernandez Castellanos
Pasajes Del Corazón Y La Memoria (Cherished Island Memories) by Gloria Rolando
Uno Al Otro (One Another) by Milena Almira
A Q&A moderated by Naomi Foner (Director, Very Good Girls) followed. Foner pointed out that while the films provided insight into the lives of Cubans, the most interesting aspect was that they showed how much of life is universal and not tied to culture.
During the Q&A, director Milena Almira shared that while it’s more difficult to make films as a woman in Cuba, that being a woman is a unique biological experience that cannot help but inform her art in a different way than for a man.
A few more highlights:
Uno Al Otro, a beautiful film reminiscent of video artist Vito Acconci, follows the romantic relationship of a young woman and a hearing impaired man. The film interviews the couple while showing the challenges in their relationship due to his disability, but also the inevitable conflicts between men and women.
A riveting documentary, Blanco Es Mi Pelo, Negra Mi Piel explores the life of 95-year-old María de los Reyes Castillo (Reyita), a family matriarch and a symbol of the changes that Cuba has gone through in the past 100 years.
In the black and white short film El Pez De La Torre Nada En El Asfalto, a man wrestles with his writer’s block as his wife complains about the heat in their cramped apartment and their son watches TV.
The Cuban directors showcased are all up-and-coming talents to watch. You can watch one of the short above; if you can catch the rest online or at a screening or festival, you won’t be disappointed. — MICHELE ST JOHN