Festival de cine INSTAR

Opening of the fourth edition of the INSTAR Film Festival

November 27th, 2023


Opening of the fourth edition

Festival de cine INSTAR

Del 4 al 10 de diciembre de 2023

The INSTAR Film Festival is an annual event organized by the Hannah Arendt Institute of Artivism (INSTAR), a collective founded by artist Tania Bruguera in 2015. The festival supports independent cinema production on an international scale, focusing on countries where art and freedom of expression is threatened. It favors works addressing difficult themes with daring aesthetics, as well as hybrid pieces exploring new paths in filmmaking.

The fourth edition of the INSTAR Film Festival will be held from December 4 to 10, 2023. Happening simultaneously at venues in Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Miami, New York, Paris, São Paulo, and via Festhome in Cuba, the concept guiding this edition is the transnational character of the New Cuban Cinema. We want to enhance the ongoing dialogue such films have with other cinematographies, especially those of countries also ruled by authoritarian governments, and foster spaces for exchange between Cuban filmmakers and their counterparts from the Global South.

In competition, there are fifteen recent films by artists from Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Haiti, Iran and Italy. An international jury will award the Nicolás Guillén Landrián Prize to the film that best reflects and explores, through cinematic language, a taboo topic in their society. With this initiative, INSTAR pays tribute to the relevant work of Guillén Landrián, a Cuban documentary filmmaker and painter (Cuba, 1938–United States, 2003).

The festival will also screen thirteen other films as Special Presentations. This section includes a retrospective of Fernando and Miñuca Villaverde, a couple of Cuban filmmakers exiled since 1965. We will present five of their films produced in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, several of them associated with the experimental and underground New York film scene of the period. Our companion program comprises masterclasses, workshops, and public debates.

The INSTAR Film Festival aims to promote and give visibility to Cuban Independent Cinema, a movement created under a repressive climate, censorship, and precarious production conditions. In recent decades, international recognition for this movement has grown, with awards and selections at leading film festivals.

The first edition of the festival took place in Havana in December 2019 and was directed by actress and writer Lynn Cruz. After the hiatus caused by the pandemic, the event resumed in 2021 as an online festival through the Festhome platform. Ever since filmmaker José Luis Aparicio has been in charge of the project as its curator and artistic director. The third edition, held in July of 2022 at documenta fifteen in Kassel, Germany, featured the exhibition Land Without Images, which would become the largest retrospective of alternative Cuban cinema to date, screening more than 160 audiovisual works.


-Barcelona, Spain: Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) / Zumzeig Cinecooperativa

-Buenos Aires, Argentina: Centro Cultural General San Martín 

–Mexico City, Mexico: Laboratorio Arte Alameda

–Miami, USA: Florida International University (FIU)

–New York, USA: e-flux Screening Room 

–Paris, France: Maison de l’Amérique Latine

–São Paulo, Brazil: Cinemateca Brasileira / Museum of Contemporary Art of the University of São Paulo (MAC USP)

–Cuba: Festhome Platform (online programming)

For further information on the screenings and activities, please visit our website.

For information about INSTAR, please visit instar.org.

You can read the original note here

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