Cuban documentary on Chernobyl children screened in Kiev

Diplomatic sources revealed that the Kiev House of Cinema screened this Thursday the Cuban documentary 'Chernobyl in Us' by journalist Daisy Gomez, produced by the production house of the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television.

The material was made on the 20th anniversary of the nuclear accident, which occurred on April 26, 1986, and the 16th anniversary of the Cuban program to treat the children affected by the disaster.

The presentation was chaired by Lilia Piltiay, vice president of the International Chernobyl Fund, a Ukrainian institution that was in charge of sending affected children to be treated at Cuba's Tarara health center.

Piltiay, initiator for the Ukrainian side of the Cuban program for the care of children affected by Chernobyl, explained that the leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro, accepted the request for international aid from the then Soviet Union's government.

She noted that a group of patients was selected and on March 29, 1987, the first 139 children with different oncohematological disorders arrived in Cuba. Cuba financed and developed this humanitarian program for over 20 years, even in the most difficult years of the Special Period, including the accomodation of both the children and their families.

In addition, Cuba was the only country that arranged a comprehensive, massive and free health program for the care of children affected by the Chernobyl disaster, Piltiay stressed.

Cuban head of Consular Affairs at the Cuban mission to Ukraine, Michel Alquizar Morales, announced that the 30th anniversary of the program will be celebrated next year, and revealed that several journalists are in Ukraine, engaged in the preparation of a documentary to commemorate the date.

'Chernobyl in Us' was presented as part of the Spanish-language film cycle in Kiev. At the end of the documentary, the audience offered applause for the Cuban people and the doctors who treated over 24,000 Ukrainian children.

  • Published in Culture

Documentary about dark-skinned ‘first Swedes’ sparks horror on Twitter

Another population of people who had paler skin and a variety of eye and hair colors arrived around the same time from the east. The two peoples are thought to have mixed fairly quickly, and Nordic people eventually became lighter skinned, allowing them to increase their vitamin D production to survive in the dark winters.

Some Twitter users took the information advertised in the documentary as some sort of conspiracy aimed at making people more open to immigration. “Indoctrination continues,” one said.

Möt de första svenskarna - SVT Nyheter

Another population of people who had paler skin and a variety of eye and hair colors arrived around the same time from the east. The two peoples are thought to have mixed fairly quickly, and Nordic people eventually became lighter skinned, allowing them to increase their vitamin D production to survive in the dark winters.

Some Twitter users took the information advertised in the documentary as some sort of conspiracy aimed at making people more open to immigration. “Indoctrination continues,” one said.

Not as ignorant as those whom Stick their heads in the sand whilst allowing history, culture and heritage to be falsely rewritten to fit some global agenda. Our children's children will be educated on lies!

Others were quick to challenge the skepticism.

EXPOSING THE FAR-LEFT LIES ABOUT ME! The Far-Left has spread fake news articles and proven lies about me, claiming that I have horrible views that I do not have. Here I once and for all document and expose ther lies.

One person joked it was simply impossible, as his ancestors were “frozen in the ice sheet” before it melted.

Also on ‘Climate-smart eating’? Swedish professor calls for ‘vegetarian pets,’ gets blasted online...



  • Published in World

Documentary Film Festival in Cuba to Recall Fidel Castro

Santiago de Cuba, Mar 3 (Prensa Latina) The 15th International Documentary Film Festival Santiago Alvarez in Memoriam, hosted by this city from March 6-11, will recall Fidel Castro, the historic leader of the Cuban revolution, according to organizers.

The same source said that one of the first activities on Monday will be the homage by the participants to Fidel Castro, in front of the monolith that keeps his mortal remains at the necropolis, close to mausoleum to National Hero Jose Marti.

The tribute will be also expressed with the exhibition of documentaries made by Cuban documentary filmmaker Santiago Alvarez about the late leader and will include a meaningful moment with the exhibition in communities of the documentary 'Mi Hermano Fidel' (My Brother Fidel), a touching documentary film about a meeting with a humble farm worker from Guantanamo.

Venezuelan filmmakers Luis Rodriguez and Andres Rodriguez will present the title 'Fidel entre nosotros' (Fidel among Us).

The city is ready to host the event, in which documentary filmmakers from around 25 countries will participate with 39 films in contest and theoretical sessions that will shed new light on that genre, believed to be a weapon for the people's struggle.

Around 139 works with acknowledged quality were registered for this edition of the festival, with Peru as a guest country and marked presence of documentary filmmakers from Cuba, Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay, Paraguay, Mexico, Serbia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the United States, Colombia, Austria and Canada.

  • Published in Culture

Thankfulness for their Participation

“Since I began participating in the Gender workshops which were convened by the local José Martí International Journalism Institute and the Mujer Publishing House and guided by Isabel Moya, My life changed and if I even thought that I knew anything about life, it was then since I began having these experiences that I began watching it with its spots and purities and its imperfections. “ She pointed out.

“As a matter of fact, it was that the commitment to which I have dedicated myself to research and publishing the work carried out by some community projects with its experiences about this subject matter.” She said.

It was recently premiered an audiovisual carried out by Lizette Vila and Ingrid León at the Chaplin movie theater from the capital city. They were the creators of the local Palomas Project and those who show a different vision about the diverse kind of violence against women on a current context that demands an urgent visualization of that subject matter by the society in general.

"Estoy viva…lo voy a contar" is the title of the documentary that touches your more sensible fibers of the human being. There are perhaps people who have experienced this kind of violence, but it is certainly chocking the fact about watching the faces of those ones telling their histories, publicly.

Those filmmakers, who have a huge experience, achieved that thirteen women could talk sincerely and shared their experiences to denounce the bad practices which harm the Cuban society.

According to Cuban filmmaker Ingrid León, the local Projecto Palomas project has been accompanying local women since many years ago given they have many difficulties in all the sectors and places. There are many women who approached us to ask for help and being listened, and we can help them from the audiovisual work.

“We always say that we are going to talk to them and Lizette Vila is an expert in that sense. They get nervous when they see the cameras at first and they suddenly begin talking. They even say the phrases ´I have never told this´ and ´This is not known not even by my mother,´ ´this remain unknown by everyone,´ and they begin to tell their experiences and it is incredible because of I do not know how come we can achieve this from happening.” She commented.

"Estoy viva…lo voy a contar" Documentary by Lizette Vila and Ingrid León

Ingrid continues telling us that there is all kind of women from different places and problems who approach her to talk:

“They are victims all different types of violence. This way, we choose the people who are going to accompany us by taking into account that there are women who want to talk and there are other ones who do not want to talk and there are other ones who just come for us to help them to be listened given they´d tried before and none helped them, then they all come to us with that objective in mind.”

The filming team of the local audiovisual material entitled ´Cosas de la Vida´ had the chance to talk to some of the women who talked in that documentary; they were asked about their motivations and participation and experiences before the camera.
One of the women playing the main role of the documentary, who is Mederos Méndez, commented that her main motivation was felling pleased after being invited to participate in the documentary.

“As I am fan of the ´Proyectos Palomas ´ project, I decided to participate. It was really difficult given there are some things in life that we never say or talk about them, and then when the time come to talk about them, this place one in such difficult situation that your tears come out, your voice trembles due to they were very sad memories and they return again and that makes really difficult that situation.” She pointed out.

Mariulys Guerra Estrada, on her part, who also plays a main role in that audiovisual work, commented us that she met Lizette Vila through the local Hola Habana tv program.

“She asked me about a collapse that happened in Havana Vieja (Old Havana) municipality and I said to her that I did not know about that event given those events brought me bad memories. She asked me the reason whether I wanted to share my experience in a documentary. It is even difficult when I talk about a difficult theme given I lost my sister and my mother is sick because of that.” Mariulys said.

“Lizette was invited to talk about the few things I used to feel.” Leticia Santacruz Pérez commented, who is another of the woman playing the main role of the documentary.

"Estoy viva…lo voy a contar" Documentary by Lizette Vila and Ingrid León

“I wanted to denounce what I thought that was missing and she also invited me due to she knows that I am a great defender of the woman as such. I consider myself a feminist one. I used to think that I was not victim of the violence and I realized that I was certainly a victim while telling my history. However, that happened already and I am a grown woman, I was twice operated due to a cancer and I am still here fighting for the human being to be better and the unity and so that the people understand that if we continue with those types of violence, we could be deeply affected due to the economic blockade affect, but it is not sometimes so harmful like the human relations.” She said.


  • Published in Culture

On Athletics: Usain Bolt documentary doesn’t go where it should

The plan was to be in London this weekend for the world premiere of I am Bolt and instead that changed to appearing on the Friday lunchtime radio show at Blackrock College. These events may not be as disconnected as they appear. Now read on. 

The invitation to attend the premiere came a few weeks back, and it looked promising. I am Bolt has been in production for over a year and essentially follows Usain Bolt as he prepares to defend his three Olympic sprint titles in Rio – which of course he did. 

It’s shot documentary style and judging by the trailer features several hero-worship contributions (from Serena Williams to Pele) and lots of goofing around with his mates and his coach Glen Mills.

“I really enjoy training,” says Bolt, collapsing on the track. “Ah, let me take that back.” 

Except all is not what it seems. According to Geoffrey Macnab of the London Independent, “there is a dispiriting sense here that the filmmakers don’t have full control of their own movie”.

Certain subjects, he writes, are skirted over (and he’s not just talking about Bolt’s love interests): “There are managers and agents helping call the shots. The directors only refer very fleetingly to the drugs scandals that continue to dog the sport . . . Nor do they look in any depth at the Jamaican sprinting programme from which Bolt emerged.”

Anyway, this may not be the exact reason why my invitation to the premiere was withdrawn. Although not long after it arrived, it was sent back with a note from Bolt’s agent, Ricky Simms, which said: “No need to ask (me) to attend or to write anything positive about our athletes as we already know his opinion and prefer not to read it.” 

Athletics agency

This wasn’t entirely surprising – even though I’ve known Simms since his club running days back in Donegal, before he moved to London and took over the ropes at PACE Sports Management, the athletics agency business first set up the late Kim McDonald.  

By “our athletes” he clearly meant Mo Farah, who Simms also represents. Because his note contained several links to articles that raised some of the concerns about Farah’s performances in Rio (such as this one:

As noted at the time, the problem for Farah is twofold: he continues to produce unbreakable displays of championship distance running, winning his fourth Olympic gold in Rio, only the second ever 5,000m-10,000m double-double after Finland’s Lasse Viren.

At the same time he continues to associate himself with distance running coaches of some disrepute, not just the American Alberto Salazar, who single-handedly transformed Farah from mostly also-ran to mostly invincible, but also Jama Aden, the Somalian-born, Ethiopian-based coach who was arrested by Spanish police in June for possessing an array of performance enhancing drugs. 

Simms, it seems, would rather these concerns be ignored, or at least not written about. Farah, by the way, also has a new documentary coming out, No Easy Mile, available on DVD and Digital Download from December 5th.

“Good is not enough to win the gold medal, you’ve got be to excellent,” Farah says in the trailer, which also features some hero-worship from Usain Bolt.

The Aden association will most likely be ignored. This after all is the same athlete who three years ago released his autobiography, Twin Ambitions, without a single mention of doping in athletics.

Bolt, critically, has never associated himself with anyone of disrepute in doping terms, and yet at the same time concerns remain about Jamaica’s anti-doping record, particularly the gaping absence of out-of-competition testing in the five months prior to the London Olympics, which resulted in the resignation of their anti-doping chief. 

Tested positive

Jamaican sprinters won eight of the 12 individual sprint medals available in London, and the following year, five of their top sprinters tested positive. Bolt is also in danger of losing the gold medal he won with in the 4x100m relay team in Beijing in 2008, after the retesting of samples, carried out by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), found that one member of that team, Nesta Carter, should have been originally expelled after testing positive for the banned stimulant methylhexanamine.

This IOC re-testing is ongoing, and on Monday revealed that another six weightlifters will be stripped of medals won at London 2012 due to retrospective failures. As things stand, Poland’s Tomasz Zielinski, who originally finished ninth in the men’s 94kg, is now promoted to bronze, and must now fancy his chances silver if not gold.

There was also the Wada report, last month, which recognised “serious failings” in the drug testing in Rio, with 50 per cent of target testing aborted on some days, while of the 450 planned Athlete Biological Passport blood tests, only 47 were carried out. 

Still, some of us in this business are expected to sit back and watch I am Bolt and No Easy Mile and not wonder or question if all is really as it seems – or at least offer some opinion. 

The students at Blackrock College radio, thankfully, aren’t open to such tomfoolery. Their show goes out for one week, every year, on 97.3FM, and Friday’s lunchtime sports slot was dedicated to the Rio Olympics.

Co-presenters Ed Brennan and Mark Murphy were open to lots of hard questions: Have the Olympics lost all morals? Should we narrow the focus of our sports to win medals? And what on earth is golf doing in there? 

Despite this, and all the other negativity that surrounded Rio, they still believed in the credibility of the Olympics, and that by confronting the issues, rather than ignoring them, there was enough reason to be optimistic about their future, at least for Tokyo 2020.

  • Published in Sports

Omara: the charms of a Diva

The place chosen for the premiere of the documentary Retrato de una diva (Portrait of a diva) was Pabellon Cuba’s Salon de Mayo in the Cuban capital city. This audiovisual presentation proposes a new approach to the figure of singer Omara Portuondo led by the experienced filmmaker Ileana Rodriguez.

  • Published in Culture
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