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Cuba’s International School of Cinema

Cuba’s International School of Cinema

So, this dream of training young people in cinematic art came true with a project that was wholeheartedly supported by Fidel Castro. A place where young talented men and women could defend their cultures through image and sound. To this end, the government donated a site in the town of San Antonio de los Baños, which is an hour’s drive away from central Havana and half an hour away from the José Martí International Airport. On December 15, 1986, in the middle of flat ground planted mostly with orange trees, the NGO that is the International Film School, a subsidiary of the New Latin American Cinema Foundation, was founded and Fernando Birri was appointed its first director.

The installation has been gradually fitted out. The students’ living accommodation is situated within the school, which is laid out in campus style. It is possibly the first Latin American and Caribbean institution of an integrationist nature. It offers advanced courses in cinema for people between the ages of 22 and 29 and the fees for the whole 3 years, including accommodation and food, are €15,000, which is only 25% of the actual cost of the student’s training.

One of the principal goals of the International School of Film and Television (EICTV) of San Antonio de los Baños is to contribute to the development of the integration of the peoples of the world through cultural propositions that show diversity and inclusion in a space of creative freedom expressed in short films, documentaries, fiction films, television series and soap operas. Its scope includes exchanging creative experiences and collaboration with many film- and television-related institutions.

Hundreds of professionals from the film and television industries from different countries have trained several generations of students. Over 700 hundred students have graduated from the school from over 50 countries, many of which have won major awards at international festivals.

EICTV is based on the challenge of constantly adapting to new cultural and technological trends under the guiding principle of “learning by doing.” As well as many workshops, the school offers a regular course of three years. The curriculum is divided into three levels: the first level or year introduces students to the world of audiovisual creation showing them how a film and television crew works; the second level includes Fiction Direction, Documentary Direction, Sound, Editing, Cinematography, Screenplay, Television and New Media, and Production, according to the specialty each student will major in; the third level focuses on the preparation of the diploma work. Very early in the course, the students begin to produce films and videos for television.

Graduates should be able to develop both their technical and artistic skills with a humanistic approach and sensitivity, work as a team and unite actors and crews towards a cultural product of high demand and significance in the contemporary world. This dream come true ensures the training of many talented people from many parts of the world, who have achieved recognition in their respective countries and in international cinematography.

Descember 2014 This article formed part of the descember 2014 issue of What’s On Havana The definitive monthly travel & culture guide to Havana Download our current issue of What’s On Havana, your definitive travel, culture and entertainment guide for all things happening in Havana, Cuba’s bustling and enigmatic capital city. We include features from around Cuba written by the best international travel writers covering Cuba. Our monthly online digital magazine is also available in Spanish and French.


What’s On Havana What’s On La Habana What’s On La Havane Descember, 2014
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