GIBARA, Holguin Province
For one week, the small coastal city of Gibara, turns into Cuba's cultural hub as it hosts this film festival that celebrates low-budget, independent, and alternative cinema. It could be called the "Sundance" of Cuba, but without the actors, directors, producers, distributors, promoters and sponsors looking to get rich off the movie business. The festival involves music concerts, theatre, photographic, painting and sculpture exhibitions.
More about the Gibara Festival
This event now pays homage to the late Cuban filmmaker Humberto Solás, original creator of the project. Participants will compete in the categories of documentaries, feature films and short fiction, unpublished scripts, and experimental video works, among others.
The host city of Gibara - also called “La Villa Blanca” is a beautiful coastal village on the Atlantic side of the Holguin Province of Eastern Cuba.
"Cine Pobre" translates today as "low-budget" or, when more emphasis is required, "no-budget" cinema, and conjures images of film-school graduates trying to scrape together funding for their first feature. Non-Budget Cinema does not mean cinema devoid of ideas or artistic quality. It refers to a type of cinema of restricted economic possibilities, done in less developed countries or in those around them, as well as within the leading societies at the economic-cultural level, either as part of official production programs or through independent or alternative cinema. The event also hosts debates on filmmaking and post-production, as well as the fantastic genre and special effects in low-budget cinema. All the films on show in Gibara are made for less (usually much less) than 300,000 dollars.
Interested in submitting your film to the festival?
History and Background of the Gibara Festival
Solás, the festival's founder, director and guiding spirit, had chosen to set the festival not in his native Havana but in this breathtakingly beautiful colonial town where he had shot his 1968 classic Lucia.
One of Cuba's greatest directors, Solás came of age in the 1960s, when "Cine Pobre" carried the promise of a new kind of cinema emerging from Latin America - a cinema of limited means and seemingly limitless revolutionary ambition. Four decades later it would be easy to relegate the term to the art history shelf, alongside Italy's Arte Povera and every other Sixties movement that challenged the status quo.
Yet Humberto Solás remained faithful to the true Cine Pobre cause, and he won converts everywhere he went. His socially conscious films never suffered for lack of high-priced actors or special effects, and when he launched his Cine Pobre festival in 2003, he didn't see this kind of exercise as being the least bit archaic. On the contrary, as he states in this interview (one of his last) with Havana Cultura, he saw it as a necessity.
Solás was an enthusiastic supporter of digital cinema technology - in 2001 he shot Miel para Oshun [Honey for Oshun] entirely with digital cameras - and he understood that the ability to lower the cost of making movies could only increase the opportunities for new voices to make themselves heard. And Gibara has become a good place to hear them.
As the digital cinema revolution picks up pace, and as the global movie industry tries to figure out how to cope with the worsening economic outlook, no-budget cinema threatens to become the rule rather than the exception.
Hurricane Ike struck Gibara hard in 2008, and destroyed more than 70 percent of all the homes in the city. It was rebuilt in time to host the 7th edition in 2009.
Disaster struck again on September 17, 2008 when Humberto Solás died of cancer.