Cine Pobre: Cuba’s hippest & retro film festival is back

After a two-year break, Cuba’s ‘poor man’s’ film festival is back. Founded by Cuban filmmaker Humberto Solas, the festival is traditionally held in the sleepy fishing village of Gibrara that wakes up for a week in April to become a hotbed of alternative, low-budget filmmakers. They may not have Hollywood stars and camera-wielding paparazzi, glamorous red carpet photo shoots and posh after-parties, but if hip and retro is your thing this is as good as it gets in the Cuban film scene.

Authentic, charming and off-the-beaten track, Gibara is a town so obscure even many Cubans struggle to find it on a map. Yet from 2003 to 2011, this picturesque town hosted one of the most authentic and charming events on the independent/alternative film circuit. Alongside the competition that awards prizes for fiction and documentary films, there are also meetings, concerts, recitals and art exhibitions. The festival guarantees a broad range of approaches and topics, aspiring to become an alternative to commercial filmmaking -promoting artistic quality with production costs kept to a minimum.

Limited in the number of films that may be shown, the selection committee spends much of the year deciding on (and sometimes the next year’s selection. Juries selecting the winning films in each category (Fiction & Documentaries) are well- known and respected artists, critics and film directors. While there is a top prize of Euro 15,000 (largely intended to assist in the transition to 35mm), entrants are clearly not here for the money.

The cinema festival itself is a young one, not only because of the age of many of the participating filmmakers, but for the general spirit. Former festival director, Sergio Benvenuto, points out that the event provides an outlet for films which are not handicapped by the conservatism of big studios, nor restricted by the need to secure instant commercial success. This promotes the expression of artistic purpose, which doesn’t originate with how best to market, sponsor and product link films.

The choice of Gibara as the principal venue has certainly made the organisers job that much harder. The town is a hefty 800-kilometre trek from Havana and an hour’s drive along poor roads from both Holguín (which boasts an international airport) and the pristine beaches of Guardalavaca (home to many all-inclusive resorts). Moreover, Gibara, has no hotel and a limited number of private rooms (which are booked up early for Cine Pobre week). Yet in many ways, this remoteness gives this event its intimate, authentic and unique charm.

The town itself was declared a National Monument in 2004 and is near where Christopher Columbus first set foot on Cuban soil. Perfect hosts, it is the fiercely proud Gibararians who provide much of the laid back and friendly ambience that draws visitors, filmmakers, actors, musicians, photographers, critics and artists. So don’t let the remoteness of the location dissuade you, if you’re into cinema festivals, this is the event of the year not to miss!

For more information:
www.festivalcinepobre.cult.cu
www.festivalcinepobre.org


  • January 1, 1959: Triumph of the Cuban Revolution

    January 1, 1959: Triumph of the Cuban Revolution  LH 5

    New Year’s Day has a special meaning in Cuba since it was on this first day of 1959, Cuba was shaken by a much-awaited news—Fulgencio Batista, who had seized power through a military coup on March 10, …

    Havana’s Harlistas get on the road

    Havana’s Harlistas get on the road  LH 5

    2nd Harley Davidson Havana to Varadero International Rally (Feb 8-11, 2013) Cuba’s second ‘international’ Harley Davidson Rally (Encuentro Harlista!) took place from Feb 8-11, 2013. This was bigger an …

    July 26, 1953: Attack on Moncada Barracks

    July 26, 1953: Attack on Moncada Barracks  LH 5

    On July 26, 1953 a group of young men and two women led by Fidel Castro attacked the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba while another group attacked the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Barracks in the cit …

    International Workers’ Day

    International Workers’ Day  LH 5

    Hundreds of thousands of Cubans filed through Havana’s Revolution Square on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 in a May Day parade that paid tribute to Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan leader…A sea of workers, many we …

    Paco De Lucía at the 2013 Leo Brouwer Chamber Music Festival

    Paco De Lucía at the 2013 Leo Brouwer Chamber Music Festival  LH 5

    We cannot thank Leo Brower enough for his contribution to Cuban culture. Not only for his work—possibly the most extensive and solid of all time of any Cuban composer—but also for the time he has devo …

    Balletomania at the International Ballet Festival

    Balletomania at the International Ballet Festival  LH 5

    Blind but beady-eyed, beaky-nosed, old, imposing and profoundly glamorous, Alicia Alonso stands in a single spotlight at the front of the dress circle of the Gran Teatro de La Habana, bathed in waves …

    Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope

    Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope  LH 5

    The Terry Fox Marathon of Hope takes place in Havana and all across the country, starting at 9am. This has the greatest participation of any country in the world with up to 2.3 million people running, …

    VII Jornada Cubana contra la Homofobia (IDAHO)

    VII Jornada Cubana contra la Homofobia (IDAHO)  LH 5

    From May 5 to May 24, Cuba will celebrate the 7th Jornada Cubana contra la Homofobia in Havana, Granma and other locations in Cuba. The two-week event included symposiums, lectures, films, art exhibit …

    III Harley Davidson Rally (Encuentro Harlista!)

    III Harley Davidson Rally (Encuentro Harlista!)  LH 5

    This past weekend, I was thrust into one of Cuba’s most prismatic and emblematic subcultures and scenes: I rode along on the country’s first Harley rally, when over 50 riders made their way to Varader …

    2012 Arte y Moda Fashion show: Extreme style

    2012 Arte y Moda Fashion show: Extreme style  LH 5

    Habaneros are a special lot. Guilty of multiple crimes of fashion and poor taste from the yonky to the most outrageous lycra outfits and ridiculously short skirts, they manage even in the midst of eco …

    1 of 8 pages »