Surprise! Independent Cuban filmmakers stifled by government

Two censored Cuban independent films

From our Fake Surprises Bureau

Holy Sundance Film Festival! Sacre Palme d’Or! Did anyone in their right mind ever really think that independent films would be allowed to survive and thrive in Castrogonia?

Castro, Inc. owns everything, controls everything, sucks in all profits, censors everything. Why would they ever allow a means of expression and a source of revenue as potent and profitable as film to escape their grasp?

Apparently, some naive or foolish folk actually thought that the artistic or intellectual merit of films would be respected by Castro, Inc.

Wonders never cease.

Oh, but, of course, Cuba is not really a socialist state. No, not at all. Genuine socialism prizes creativity, personal expression, and open dialogue… Yeah….

Commissar Alexis Seijo, the dean of Cuba’s University of Arts,

From Havana Times, written by Lynn Cruz:

On June 7th, Alexis Seijo, the dean of Cuba’s University of Arts, censored the panel on the IMAGO Festival’s program about independent film, which filmmakers Alejandro Alonso, Jorge Molina and Miguel Coyula had been invited to. At the last minute, Ceijo realized that Coyula’s name appeared on the program and communicated his decision to cancel it to the event’s organizers….

…It’s been several months now since the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry’s (ICAIC) board met with filmmakers who create outside of this institution, to finally respond their demands. These include: “Audiovisual Creator Registry, the Promotion Fund, the Film Commission, legalizing independent producers and, last but not least, to promulgate a Film Law given the obsolescence of ICAIC’s Law 169 about Creation.”

According to what some colleagues have told me, there won’t be a Film Law, as everything will be handled by institutions. In political terms, this means that the government is absorbing everyone who has independently produced and distributed film, with much greater efficiency than ICAIC itself.

On the other hand, there is the tax issue. Given the fact that Cuban institutions obey the Government in a vertical structure, everyone who gets a membership card, will automatically be accepting the fact that their tax contributions are no good for anything, as it will only mean they have to comply with orders from above, but it won’t give them any rights…

… It’s true that ICAIC was a dream that came true, but it soon became a nightmare for artists who disagreed with the Revolution because of their disobedient nature, creative freedom, even when they produced works that knew how to bring things into question. However, over time, filmmakers became tamed to create film that lost its original critique, until the ‘80s rolled around and lighthearted and easy-to-watch comedies were abundant. Is this not just a new strategy to crush Cardumen’s efforts? To wipe out independent film?

After seeing what happened with the movie Santa y Andres (2016), by Carlos Lechuga, it isn’t hard to understand the message of terror the government wants to send. First, they removed it from the Havana Film Festival’s program. Then, something similar happened at the Havana Film Festival in New York, as it was withdrawn from the competition, and finally a letter was written to defame Lechuga and destroy him publicly. While the economy in Cuba is post-Communist, the rhetoric hasn’t changed at all and, therefore, it lashes out artists who express this sentiment via their work, alive.

Also, Miguel Coyula’s documentary Nadie (2017), was repressed this time by State Security and the police when it was going to be screened at a private gallery, not to mention trying to bury it in oblivion. This is Coyula’s punishment, as the government has converted him into a non-human, a non-filmmaker, severely punishing him, setting him apart out from his industry, so much so that even critics on the island don’t even mention him for better or worse.

In this country, where things have been on loop for 60 years, the majority always finds a reason to justify the fact that silence in this case means standing by the oppressor.
 
Whole story HERE

Independent filmmakers Miguel Coyula and Carlos Lechuga

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