Puppets and Puppeteers

This Sunday ended the first day of Puppeteer Havana: Characters on Paving Stones. Much can do the puppets in these times...

Even in the era of smartphones and video games children are still marveled by puppets, by a simple doll that has to be a drive for creation. In the first day of Puppeteer Havana that ended this Sunday at the historical center of the Cuban capital, there were shows for all publics, but children were at the center of all the action.

For a full week, puppeteers, actors, professors, researchers, designers… participated in a huge intense program that had in several spaces of Old Havana the perfect scenario.

Erduyn Masa, general director of the event (also of La Proa Theater, the group that organized the event together with National Council of Scenic Arts, Hermanos Saíz Association and other institutions), believes that puppets are necessary in Havana as well in faraway communities of the Cuban rural areas.

"This is a very cosmopolitan area, of permanent commercial and cultural exchange. We must defend that the culture we share has ethical and aesthetic values that it can be tell apart from the purely merchandizing practices. Puppets and puppeteers have much to do in this regard."

Erduyn is completely right about it: art must open horizons, never close them. And watching the children enjoy with something so "handmade" as a puppet is prove that not everything is lost against the “merciless” impact of new technologies.

(It wouldn’t be bad, anyway that some artists from the puppet show assumed many of those new technologies in their shows, but that could be an issue to discuss some other time).

This sort of shows help to the socialization of the work of a group that is not always rewarded by the big audience… and which, up to a degree must keep working in its professional and artistic upgrading.

It must be said that: there are many groups “doing” puppets show (only in Havana there are over 30), but they are not so many that have a steady and overwhelming production.

The quality of the proposal, obviously, guarantees an audience. Children, no matter where they live, they are still an unbiased and expectant public... but nobody should underestimate them.

Every time a child attends a show, a puppet workshop or puppet production (as it happened this time), it’s a win... he is probably a theater spectator for life.

For that reason, for children, the best theater ever! Puppets with head and heart!

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Meeting of Ballet Schools from Various Countries Starts in Havana

Students and teachers of ballet schools from various countries will share experiences from today in Cuba on the artistic education and the suitable development of techniques.

The International Meeting of Schools for Ballet Teaching is an event unique in the world and on this 23th time it will be held in Havana until April 19th.

The meeting will be opened at the National Theater with the Cuban School Fernando Alonso performing a piece of the classic El Corsario.

Director of the meeting Ramona de Saa will give lectures on methodology of teaching of the Cuban ballet school, along with physical trainer Jose Candia and historian of the National ballet of Cuba (BNC) Miguel Cabrera.

This 23rd event will be dedicated to historical leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro, who died last November, and who, according to De Saa, played a key role in the development of ballet in Cuba and gave the Cuban National School Fernando Alonso its current headquarters.

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Habana Libre Hotel Celebrates 59 Years

Havana, Mar 20 (Prensa Latina) One of Cuba's most emblematic hotels, Habana Libre, former Habana Hilton, celebrated its 59th anniversary this weekend with the premise of maintaining high quality services, the facility's management said today.

Tryp Habana Libre, part of Gran Caribe Hotel Group, is located in one of Havana's central places, La Rampa, the capital's most frequented artery, not only by Cubans but also foreigners.

Executives of the facility highlighted its cultural importance and rich history that includes hundreds of events since the opening in 1958.

Politics, culture and sport personalities, chose the hotel, among them the Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, who stayed for three months, after his arrival at the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, on January 8, 1959, they remembered.

The hotel's halls have been for many years the venue of the international renowned Capablanca in Memoriam Chess Tournament, as well as congresses of writers, health, movement for peace, among other events.

The director of the hotel, Luis Basterra, showed today satisfaction with the work done to renovate and improve the facility thanks to appropriate investments.

He added that the level of occupation is favorable, and the main markets for them is Europe, especially Spain.

The 25-story building is close to the University of Havana, other hotels, various ministries and labor centers, the Malecón (waterfront) and many restaurants and nightclubs, while offering a nonpareil view of the city.

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Caribbean States Begin Ministerial Forum in Havana

The first Conference of Cooperation of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) began today in this capital with a high participation in the core debates for the development of the region.

Representatives from more than 100 member countries, observers, among others, analyze issues related to transportation and connectivity between the nations of the area and the confrontation with climate change.

Prior to the ministerial meeting, Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra said that these contacts will be a time to take advantage of the opportunities for collaboration, promote the competitiveness of the economies of the member nations of the bloc, and discuss common challenges in order to consolidate the Shared development.

Likewise, he said that they would enable them to search for ways to deal with external factors that undermine the sovereignty of the countries of the area, promote actions to deal with measures of mass deportation of immigrants, and the serious implications for their economies.

With the purpose of reviewing the progress of the integral relations between this island and the nations associated with the Caribbean Community, Havana will also be host, next March 11, of the V CARICOM-Cuba Ministerial Meeting.

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Drum Festival Begins in Havana

Havana, Mar 7 (Prensa Latina) With a tribute to Papo Angarica, a renowned percussionist and a rumba legend in Cuba, the 16th ''Guillermo Barreto in Memoriam'' International Drum Festival, scheduled until March 12th, begins here today.

Mella Theater will be stage for that who was the former director of Son Yoruba band and adviser of many folk groups in Cuba and Latin America, followed by a show dedicated to dance and drum.

Groups Nsila Cheche, Sintesis, and singers Luna Manzanares and Heidy Chapman, will accompany the performances of companies Salsa Mambo and Chachacha, Santiago Alfonso, Malpaso, JJ and Raices Profundas.

The international percussion competition for which almost 100 aspirants have been registered will also begin today at Sala Avenida theater.

In addition to these two stages, Mella Theater's Gardens, the Music Hall at the Havana neighborhood of Miramar, the Havana-based Salon Rosado de La Tropical, the scene of main dance music groups in Cuba, and El Elegante lounge at Riviera Hotel, will gather more than 1,500 dancers and musicians from half a dozen countries.

Cuban percussionist and president of the organizing committee, Giraldo Piloto, highlighted the performances by Americans Mark Guiliana and Will Calhoun, as well as Norwegians Per and Hans Mathisen, who will promote their most recent album in Havana.

The festival will also receive Memo Acevedo (Colombia), Jaquelene (Canada), Nanny Assis (United States) and Marcus Santos (Brazil), while serving as a point of reencounter for the members of Uruguayan band Candombe Fussion 2. Organized by the National Center for Popular Music, the program of the Drum Festival will include concerts, keynote speeches and percussion, rumba (as of 15 years) and casino dance competitions; the latter opened for the first time to all ages.

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Cultural Center Pabellon Cuba, A Space for Books in Havana

Havana, Jan 26 (Prensa Latina) The cultural center Pabellon Cuba, in one of the most central streets in this capital, will be the second venue to the International Book Fair (IBF), a place especially devoted to young people, according to reports today.

According to Provincial Book Center Director Dulce Maria Dominguez, more than 700 literary new works will be for sale for the first time at Pabellon Cuba, starting from February 19, and there will be auctions of used and rare books.

There will be new printings of books by great Cuban writers, such as 'Paradiso,' by Jose Lezama Lima and 'Versions,' by Eliseo Diego, she said.

As usual in the IBF, there will be presentations of sought-after books at the central area of Pabellon Cuba and in the afternoons, there nwill be concerts and other artistic programs, she explained.

The cultural center La Pergola will be a space for Cuban music by singer-songwriters and jazz, besides gatherings with poets and other musicians.

This time, the IBF will be dedicated to Armando Hart Davalos, revolutionary writer that established guidelines in the development of the country, said Dominguez. Thus, several books by that author will be sold during the event.

There will be several activities for Canada, the honorary guest country, including the exhibition of a cycle of films produced in that country, such as 'Blindness,' 'Copenhagen' and 'Popeye's Voyage.'

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Cuban Film Festival To Open, Will Pay Tribute to Fidel

The festival will present 427 Latin American films in 10 days.

Cuba will hold its 38th annual International Festival of New Latin American Cinema from Dec. 8-18 in Havana, the most important cinematographic event in the country.    

The organizers of the festival, in a statement on Nov. 28, mourned the death of their revolutionary leader Fidel Castro: "From the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana we join in the pain of the physical loss of one of our great founders and thinkers in Latin American cinema as a movement that still unites us today ... (Fidel's) idea of promoting culture, and especially the cinema as the major way of liberation for Latin America, has been present in each one of the editions of the festival. The special screening of the film 'La Batalla de Jigüe' ... is a special occasion to recall the struggle that he led that turned Cuba into a beacon of freedom for all the peoples of the world."

The films traditionally presented at this festival have come from several Latin American countries and have contributed to the region's cultural identity, competing under a panel of international judges, including movie directors, screenwriters and actors.

The event will also celebrate 30 years of the International Film and Television School in San Antonio de los Baños, which was created by Fidel and Nobel Prize winner in Literature and Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

According to the head of the festival, Ivan Giroud, this year's edition will also honor Cuban filmmaker Julio Garcia Espinosa. "Julio is an innate provocateur, always contemporary, modern," said Giroud. "In that sense, his ideas are still valid today."

There will be 18 fiction feature films, 22 short and medium length films, 26 documentaries, and 27 animated films, in addition to a German and a Spanish experimental film, as well as productions from other countries in America, Asia, Europe and Africa.


    

"The program we present is a luxury for anyone in the world, including film scholars. Seeing in a condensed place 18 Latin American quality films is a unique aspect of the festival, which makes it a world reference," said Giroud.

Known filmmakers like Tristan Bauer from Argentina, Maria Paredes from Spain, Sonia Bragason from Brazil, and Brian De Palma and Oliver Stone from the U.S. will all be attending the festival. Stone will present his new film called "Snowden," about the life of Edward Snowden, a former contractor who leaked information about the NSA to media in June 2013.

There will be a new section called "Restored Classics" where attendees will be able to see restored versions of classic Cuban movies such as Memories of Underdevelopment, A Cuban Struggle Against the Demons and The Survivors, by Tomas Gutierrez Alea, and Portrait of Teresa by Pastor Vega.

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Five Cuban Films to Compete in Havana Lat Am Film Festival

Havana, Nov 21 (Prensa Latina) The International Festival of New Latin American Cinema has issued a special supplement that includes information on the five Cuban films in competition.

In the fiction feature films are 'Ultimos dias en La Habana' by Fernando Perez, 'Ya no es antes' by Lester Hamlet and 'Sharning Stella' by Enrique Alvarez.

Two Cuban films will compete as first works 'Esteban' by Jonal Cosculluela and 'El techo' by Patricia Ramos.

According to president of the event Ivan Giroud the film festival supports an ethical standpoint and offers a space for productions that can not be found in other markets, both for films that are in competition and those included in the different thematic sections.

The 38th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema will be held from December 8th to 18th in Havana, with more than 400 films from the continent and a significant number of films from other countries around the world.

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