Lucas, the Cuban TV show dedicated entirely to national music videos, will have been on the air for 16 years in 2013. Passionately championed by some and flatly rejected by others, almost no one remains indifferent to the show, let alone the annual live television coverage of the awards ceremony in which the winners of the best videos in different categories are announced.
Founded in 1997 by the director and member of a once popular comedy group, Orlando Cruzata, the purpose of Lucas was to sponsor and promote the fledgling Cuban production of music videos. Exhibiting a tight balance between the purely commercial intent of some videos and the proximity to video art of others, between the promotion of Cuban musicians and the promotion of video makers, between the so-called “highbrow” and what is considered “popular,” between those who exalt music videos and those who brand it as banal, the show and its crew have undoubtedly (virtually single handedly) raised the profile of the Cuban nationally produced music videos.
Perhaps one of the greatest challenges that Lucas faces today is the absence of the late critic, essayist, professor and charismatic communicator Rufo Caballero, who in his appearances on the show always managed to stimulate ideas around the merits and features of videos. Rufo praised what he considered were virtues and criticized, gracefully yet in a straightforward manner, what he felt were failures, and at the same time helped viewers to understand the complexities and demands of the world of music videos.