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First-Ever Cuban Film Festival - Sebastopol - Cotati - Cloverdale

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First-Ever Cuban Film Festival - Sebastopol - Cotati - Cloverdale

U.S. and Cuban relations will thaw just a little bit more this month with the debut of the first-ever Sonoma County Cuban Film Festival. The Sebastopol Center for the Arts has partnered with the Numina Center for Spirituality & the Arts to create this festival, with additional participation by The Sonoma Film Institute and the Alexander Valley Film Society. Screenings take place on July 24 & 25 in Sebastopol, Rohnert Park & Cloverdale. The festival will showcase five recent films from Cuban filmmakers along with several Cuban short films. There will also be two catered Cuban musical events. Director Alfredo Ureta will attend the festival on Saturday the 25th for both screenings of his film “The Mole’s Den (La Guarida del Topo).” 

“Juan of the Dead (Juan de los Muertos)” (2011) is a Cuban zombie film.We live in historic times.  After decades of economic blockade and cultural isolation between Cuba and the United States, this is a fantastic opportunity for a new chapter of cultural exchange and enrichment.  Cuban cinema contains some of the best films ever made by anyone anywhere.  The Festival is very excited to present this program about today’s Cuba to a Sonoma County audience.  “What we have tried to do is present films about the lives of ordinary people in Cuba,” says Festival organizer Jon Jackson, Chair of the Numina Center for Spirituality & the Arts.  “We’ve steered clear of political films, and films about what life used to be like there.  How is it that people today, people who have nothing, can make it work?  We’ve tried to highlight the dignity of Cuban families and individuals as they struggle to resolver, or get by in present-day Cuba.  That’s what the Sonoma County Cuban Film Festival is about.”

“The Mole’s Den (La Guarida del Topo)” (2011) looks at life and relationships in Cuba today.The muse and mentor of the Festival is Ann Marie Stock, Professor of Hispanic Studies and Film and Media Studies at William & Mary College, and author of several books on Cuban Cinema.  She has guided the selection of films, and she has provided most of the short films at no charge.  She also has helped make it possible for Cuban film director Alfredo Ureta to attend the Festival.  "Cuban cinema is essential," says Dr. Stock, "because it shows the impact of globalization on local representation, the intersection of visual culture and sociopolitical transformation, and the role of film and media in identity formation."  “None of this would have been possible without her,” says Dr. Jackson.

“Chico & Rita” (2010) is a  animated film about the world of jazz in the 1940's and 1950's.An early private catered reception for sponsors, donors and SCA pass holders will occur Friday evening at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts.  Food will be provided by Peter Lowell’s, with music by Marcos Pereda.  Five current Cuban films and several Cuban short films will then be shown at three different locations.  All of the films and both events will occur at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts.  “Chico & Rita” (2010) is a remarkable animated film about the world of jazz in the 1940s and 1950s, first in Cuba and then in New York.  It will be accompanied by a Cuban short film “Searching For Chano Pono.”   “Viva Cuba” (2005) examines politics and emigration through the eyes of two children who journey the entire length of Cuba to keep one of them from having to leave with their family for Miami.  “Juan of the Dead (Juan de los Muertos)” (2011) is a Cuban zombie film, not to be missed, and a big film festival favorite around the world.  Afredo Ureta’s “The Mole’s Den (La Guarida del Topo)” (2011) looks at life and relationships in Cuba today, with the director present at both screenings.  The Festival’s grand finale The Grand finale will be “Behavior” (Conducta) (2014), a compelling film of coming of age and childhood redemption, which was voted Best Film at the Havana Film Festival in New York last year.will be “Behavior” (Conducta) (2014), a compelling film of coming of age and childhood redemption, which was voted Best Film at the Havana Film Festival in New York last year.  There will then be a large catered Cuban music event on Saturday night July 25th. Food will be provided by the renowned Sol Food from Marin County, with music by Carlitos Medrano & Sabor De Mi Cuba.  Engracia Wines from Kenwood, CA, has generously donated their exceptional wines for both catered events.  SCA tickets and info can be found online at sebastopolfilmfestical.org.

The Sonoma Film Institute will present two films at Warren Auditorium, Ives Hall, on the Sonoma State University campus in Rohnert Park.  “Viva Cuba” screens Friday evening the 24th, with Cuban short film “The Elf” (El Silfo)“The Mole’s Den” (La Guarida del Topo) will be shown on Saturday afternoon the 25th, with director Alfredo Ureta present.  Tickets for SFI screenings will only be available at the door.  There is also an additional $5 parking fee on campus.  SFI info: www.sonoma.edu/sfi.

 The Alexander Valley Film Society will host Coffee With Cuba at 10AM Saturday morning the 25th at the Clover Theater in Cloverdale.  They will screen “Chico & Rita” with two Cuban short films, “Ode to the Pineapple” and “Searching for Chano Pozo”.  AVFS tickets and info can be found at www.avfilmsociety.org/sccff-tix.

Festival organizer Jon Jackson says, “It’s time now to start building a bridge, and to help bring estranged brothers and sisters back together again.  We want to be part of building that bridge.  It’s a bridge based on the Arts.  And, anyway, to tell the truth, every single film is just exceptionally good.” 

 


 

Tax-deductible donations to support the Sonoma County Cuban film festival can be made online: http://www.gofundme.com/ux36qk.  A donation of $20 or more gets you into the Friday evening Private Opening Reception for free.