IV INSTAR Film Festival

IV INSTAR Film Festival

Rafael Ramírez, The Winter Campaigns (still), 2019.

IV INSTAR Film Festival
With films by Fernando and Miñuca Villaverde, Alejandro Alonso, and Rafael Ramirez. Introduced by Tania Bruguera.

Admission starts at $5

December 9, 2023, 3:30pm
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

The INSTAR Film Festival is an annual event organized by the Hannah Arendt Institute of Artivism (INSTAR). The festival supports independent film production on an international scale, especially in countries where freedom of expression and creation is threatened, and favors daring aesthetic and thematic approaches, as well as hybrid pieces that explore new paths in filmmaking.

The fourth edition of the festival will take place during the week of December 4–10, 2023 in multiple venues around the world, particularly in cities with a significant Cuban expatriate community: Barcelona, Paris, Miami, New York, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and São Paulo. The concept guiding this edition is the transnational character of the new Cuban cinema, and its growing dialogue with other cinematographies.

For the festival’s activities in New York, INSTAR collaborates with e-flux Screening Room on Saturday, December 9 to present a two-part program featuring a selection of contemporary and historical works of Cuban experimental cinema, introduced by Tania Bruguera. The first session of the program proposes a dialogue on diaspora and national identity based on two shorts by Alejandro Alonso, an award-winning documentarian working today, and a pair of shorts by Fernando and Miñuca Villaverde, an exiled filmmaker couple who were involved in the New York underground film scene of the 1970s. The second session will present the North American premiere of Rafael Ramirez’s first feature film The Winter Campaigns, considered by several critics to be a milestone in Latin-American avant-garde cinema. The premiere will be followed by a virtual Q&A with the filmmaker.

Film Program

Session #1 | 3:30pm

Miñuca Villaverde, To my father
1973, 22 minutes
United States

The filmmaker visits her moribund father, an old Cuban expat, one last time. A phantasmagorical home movie about the sadness of dying far from home.

Alejandro Alonso, El hijo del sueño (The son of the dream)
2016, 9 minutes

The filmmaker’s uncle, Julio César, left Cuba for the US in the Mariel exodus in 1980. For the next fifteen years he tried unsuccessfully to reunite with his family, until he contracted HIV and disappeared without a trace.

Fernando Villaverde, Apollo, Man To the Moon
1970, 27 minutes
United States

Life and lives in New York City, sights and sounds of its streets and its people, at the time of man’s first landing on the Moon.

Alejandro Alonso, Home
2019, 12 minutes

The nation is born and dies in a constant cycle, shifting towards the most intimate memory: the first home.

Session #2 | 5pm

Rafael Ramírez, Las campañas de invierno (The Winter Campaigns)
2019, 70 minutes
Followed by a virtual Q&A with the filmmaker

In a house, in no man’s land, a videogame player lives with his family. Other characters move through this concentric empire, agitated by an omnipotent force. The player questions his role in what he understands as a war between Reality and Language. The Great Adversary develops his strategy from a distant world, a place populated with a system of spheres, maps, and embryos, where he controls the march of his armies.

For more information, contact program@e-flux.com.

–Two flights of stairs lead up to the building’s front entrance at 172 Classon Avenue.     
–For elevator access, please RSVP to program@e-flux.com. The building has a freight elevator which leads into the e-flux office space. Entrance to the elevator is nearest to 180 Classon Ave (a garage door). We have a ramp for the steps within the space.              
–e-flux has an ADA-compliant bathroom. There are no steps between the Screening Room and this bathroom.

Film, Latin America
Experimental Film, Documentary, Cuba, Diaspora

Miñuca Villaverde is a Cuban filmmaker and writer. She worked as an actress and screenwriter in several productions of the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC), including El parque (1963, documentary) and Elena (1964, fiction). After going into exile in 1965, she directed short films such as Blanca Puntica, A Girl In Love (1973, Individual Independent Fellowship Award from the Creative Artists’ Program Service, CAPS), To my father (1974), and Poor Cinderella, Still Ironing Her Husband’s Shirt (1978), linked to the New York experimental film scene. Her documentary Tent City (1980), about a refugee camp in Miami during the Mariel exodus, is one of the most recognized works of Cuban cinema made in the diaspora. She has published the books Fue una gran fiesta (2009, with Fernando Villaverde) and Los días de la coleccionista (2010).

Fernando Villaverde is a Cuban filmmaker and writer. He was a director at the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC) before going into exile in 1965. In Cuba, he directed the short films El parque (1963, documentary) and Elena (1964, fiction), as well as the feature film El mar, whose production was halted by censorship. In New York he was linked to the experimental film scene and made short films such as Apollo, Man To the Moon (1970) and A Lady’s Home Journal (1972). His books include Los labios pintados de Diderot (1992, Letras de Oro Award) and La irresistible caída del muro de Berlín (2016).

Alejandro Alonso is a Cuban filmmaker and cinematographer. He graduated in Documentary Directing from the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión (EICTV) of San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. His documentaries have been awarded at multiple international film festivals. The Farewell (2014) had its world premiere at IDFA. His first feature-length documentary, The Project (2017), premiered at Visions du Réel and received the FIPRESCI Prize at DOK Leipzig. Terranova (2021) had its world premiere in Rotterdam and won the Ammodo Tiger Short Award. Between 2017 and 2019, Alonso Estrella coordinated the Alternative Cinema master’s program at EICTV.

Rafael Ramírez is a Cuban filmmaker, musician, and writer. He graduated in Audiovisual Communication from the University of the Arts, Cuba, and in Documentary Directing from the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión (EICTV) of San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. His work has been part of international programs in France, Spain, Switzerland, UK, Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, USA, Greece, and Japan. His short films and projects have been selected in film festivals such as Locarno, Mar del Plata, DocumentaMadrid, Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano, Frames of Representation, Neighboring Scenes, FICValdivia, FestCurtas, MAFIZ, Frontera Sur, DocLisboa, and CortosCali among others. A retrospective of his works was presented in the 32th edition of Mar del Plata in the Altered States Section. Ramirez’s first feature The Winter Campaigns was premiered in the Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam.

INSTAR (The Instituto de Artivismo Hannah Arendt) is a collective founded and directed by Cuban artist Tania Bruguera. INSTAR—an acronym, and also a verb meaning “to encourage,” “to instigate,” or “to incite”—works at the fault lines between artistic practice and activism. The institute’s main objectives are the promotion of civic literacy and social justice in Cuba. It institutes and promotes awards and scholarships for the financial support of independent production by Cuban artists on the island and abroad; and aims for the restitution of historical memory through public programs and its archive.

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