The film exhibition hall of the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión (EICTV), the film and television school in the city of San Antonio de los Baños, was filled with approximately 60 spectators, including directors, teachers and students of the school as well as guests from other Cuban cultural and art institutions. Enthusiasm was clearly to be seen on the faces of those present, as most of them had never seen a film of Indonesian production.
On the inauguration night, the opening film that was exhibited was “Rainbow Troops” (“Laskar Pelangi”) of Riri Riza, based on the best seller novel of Andrea Hirata. The other Indonesian films exhibited during the Film Week, held from 23 till 27 September 2009 were “Denias, humming in the clouds” (“Denias, Senandung di Atas Awan”), “Love to share” (“Berbagi Suami”), “Three wishes, three loves” (3 Doa, 3 Cinta”) and “The Conductors”.
The inauguration of the Indonesian Film Week on September 23rd 2009 was a new step towards making Indonesian films known in Cuba. After almost half a century of bilateral relations between both countries, one could say that general knowledge regarding each others’ films, mainly by those working in the film sector, has been minimum. Nevertheless, Indonesia as well as Cuba produce films of great quality, and have even been granted awards at several international festivals.
Taking these facts into account, and with the aim of promoting Indonesian films, the Indonesian Embassy in Havana, in coordination with the EICTV considered a presentation of an Indonesian Film Week at the film school for future film directors and film makers in Latin America. It was also hoped that the exhibition of Indonesian films may increase the will for collaboration in the sphere of films between the authorities of that sector in both countries.
The Indonesian Embassy in Havana chose the EICTV as the venue for the Indonesian Film Week, considering the prestige of the school that has already earned certain international reputation. Since its founding in 1985, the EICTV has brought forth well known film makers who have made themselves known in film festivals throughout the world. In 1993 the school was granted the “Roberto Rossellini” award at the Film Festival in Cannes, France, as and acknowledgement to its contributions to the world’s cinema. The school was founded by Gabriel García Márquez (Colombian writer and Nobel Prize holder for Literature in 1982), Fernando Birri (well-known Argentine poet and film producer) and Julio García Espinosa (well-known Cuban film director) with the aim of developing the talents of young film-makers from several areas of the world, particularly South America, Africa and Asia. Foreign students from not less than 25 countries have studied at the school. There are currently 119 foreign students from several countries of South America, and Europe at the school, among others from Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Greece, Spain, France, England, Italy, Mexico, Portugal and Venezuela.
Following the exhibition of the film “Rainbow troops”, several teachers and students said they had not imagined that the Indonesian film production was of such a high level, and expressed their enthusiasm in attending the presentation of the other Indonesian films. Some of the foreign students at the school even expressed their wish to increase their knowledge at the Indonesian film school. Hopefully, this Indonesian Film Week may prove to be a bridge towards collaboration in the field of cinema between both countries.
(Source: Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, Havana, Cuba)