Festival de cine INSTAR

Three women who dream and make a country. A conversation with Cuban film director Fernando Fraguela.

The documentary aims to be a negatoscope that allows us to examine the x-ray of three women who, in this process of dreaming, survive within the violence of a system. To dream is to do. To dream is also to know that the body does not distinguish between a real threat and an imaginary one. Three women who live under threat. But three women who know, as Roberto Saviano says in Los valientes están solos, that "the threat only exists as long as it gravitates".

December 15th, 2023

IV INSTAR Film Festival awards the documentaries "Mafifa" and "The Zero Option".

The independent documentary Mafifa (2021), by Daniela Muñoz Barroso, was awarded along with La opción cero (2020), by Marcel Beltrán, at the IV edition of the INSTAR Film Festival, which took place last week in seven cities on two continents, and virtually in Cuba.

December 12th, 2023


The winning film of the INSTAR Festival, Mafifa, premiered in 2021 at the IDFA in Amsterdam, was at the Havana Festival in 2022 and won the award for Best Documentary Feature at the Trinidad and Tobago Festival. Daniela Muñoz Barroso attempts to construct a portrait of the title character, a woman with a mysterious life who came to play the "male bell" in the conga in Santiago de Cuba. What is singular is the subjectivity of Gladys Linares Acuña's search, following the trail of her record in the official memory and the memories of those who knew her, in a sensorial cinema marked by a limitation of the senses. It thus reflects the progressive hearing loss of the filmmaker, who could no longer hear Mafifa's instrument.

December 12th, 2023

Mafifa' and 'The Zero Option', winners at the IV INSTAR Film Festival

"The Cuban independent film Mafifa (2021), by Daniela Muñoz Barroso, received the Nicolás Guillén Landrián Prize awarded by the jury of the IV INSTAR Film Festival, while Marcel Beltrán's La opción cero (2020) received a special mention. Both feature films were recognized for reflecting a taboo subject, among the 15 audiovisual works by Cuban creators presented during the past week in seven major cities on two continents, and virtually in Cuba. The main award is endowed with 3,000 dollars and the special mention with 1,500."

December 12th, 2023

Hojas de K', an urgent film. Interview with Nicaraguan filmmaker Gloria Carrión

Hojas de K. (2022), by Nicaraguan Gloria Carrión, braids into a single voice the testimonies of several Nicaraguan women repressed by Daniel Ortega's regime during the massive protests of April 2018. In the first days of this December, the Central American filmmaker added that multiple truth to the cries of creative freedom gathered in the official selection of the IV INSTAR Film Festival -which culminated the day before with the awarding of the documentary Mafifa (2021), by Cuban Daniela Muñoz Barroso.

December 11th, 2023

Mafifa', by Cuban Daniela Muñoz Barroso: Nicolás Guillén Landrián Award at the IV INSTAR Film Festival

As defined in the award's decision, Mafifa -whose premiere was at the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA)- would then be the work that best reflects and explores, among the 15 contestants, "a taboo theme of its corresponding society". The decision took into account, above all, "the conceptual and artistic quality of the works in relation to their thematic proposals," says the brief text released this Sunday afternoon.

December 10th, 2023

Experimental short films by Fernando and Miñuca Villaverde

The Villaverdes were part of the ICAIC and supporters of the Cuban Revolution until 1965. That year, the tensions between filmmakers and power that run through the history of the Cuban Film Institute led them to decide to leave the country, convinced that their place could not be in the socialist system that was being built in Cuba.

December 10th, 2023

Miguel Coyula and Rafael Ramírez: the multiverses of two Cuban auteurs

At the IV edition of the INSTAR Film Festival, the directors were included in the special presentations with the feature films Blue Heart (Miguel Coyula; 2021) and The Winter Campaigns (Rafael Ramírez; 2019). Coyula's film was screened this Friday, December 8, at the Maison de l'Amérique Latine, in Paris, and Ramírez's film is being shown this Saturday at e-flux Screening Room, in Brooklyn, New York, and is available until tomorrow for audiences in Cuba on the online platform Festhome.

December 9th, 2023

Four directors talk about the IV INSTAR Film Festival

The IV INSTAR Film Festival has been developing these days with a transnational perspective. Its organizers insist on committing themselves to those "risky" cinematographies that "explore the limits of the unusual, of the experimental: the limits of creation". So, how do you value the emergence of this festival and its support to independent filmmakers in subaltern environments; as an observer and/or part of the phenomenon, how do you value the current paths of Cuban cinema and its diasporic character?

December 10th, 2023

The portrait of Mafifa. Conversation with filmmaker Daniela Muñoz Barroso

Mafifa and Daniela have memory in common. The former still runs the risk of not being part of the historical narrative; the latter uses memory to understand/understand the world. This is one of Ariadne's threads that unites them and allowed them to meet in the labyrinth that was the shooting, the construction of the documentary film Mafifa.

December 8th, 2023

The Holy Family. Lineages and legacies at the IV INSTAR Film Festival.

The family is a ghost that haunts Cuban cinema. It torments and redeems. It terrifies and soothes. It alerts and reassures. It is beginning and end. It is a multiple path. Obsession and calm. Life and death. Sound and fury...

December 9th, 2023

Women dreaming a nation

Mujeres que sueñan un país (2022), the most recent documentary by Cuban filmmaker Fernando Fraguela, is presented as part of the program of the IV INSTAR, a film festival organized by the Hannah Arendt Institute of Artivism, founded and directed by Cuban artist and activist Tania Bruguera. This year, the main focus of its curatorship is on the transnational character of contemporary Cuban cinema. In the screenings, which will take place at various international venues from December 4 to 10, the festival presents a series of films and shorts (both Cuban and other) that address the tensions involved in living in countries with totalitarian regimes.

December 7th, 2023

Alejandro Alonso's 'Home' and ‘The Son of the Dream': the ground our cinema treads on

Memory is essential to narrate dreams, to create the nation. The homeland is sometimes as detached with its children as a mother; that is why it is important that these postcards are not given away, that they do not run the risk of falling into other hands, into another story... Postcards are the material link between mother and child. Between a citizen and his nation of origin.

December 7th, 2023

Films from the INSTAR Film Festival available to watch for free from Cuba

The films shown at the IV Film Festival organized by the International Institute of Artivism "Hannah Arendt" (Instar) can be seen from Cuba free of charge through the FesthomeTV application, a service for sending short and feature films over the Internet.

December 6th, 2023

As much light as it takes. IV INSTAR Film Festival

In addition to the complicated reception of independent productions, as they live in an almost residual distribution area, Instar's films suffer an extra pressure due to the explicit content of the message they disseminate. This pressure is explained, as it has been happening in recent years, through censorship, that shameful tool that is so close to totalitarian governments.

December 6th, 2023

Carla Valdés León: "I think all the characters and stories have an undercurrent of tragedy".

Carla Valdés León competes in the fourth edition of the INSTAR Film Festival with her film Los puros (2021), available to the Cuban public from Monday, December 4 through December 10 through the online platform Festhome. It can also be seen from Tuesday through Thursday at the Laboratorio Arte Alameda in Mexico City, as well as on Thursday 7 at the Maison de l'Amérique Latine in Paris, and next Sunday 10 at the Centro Cultural General San Martín in Buenos Aires.

December 6th, 2023

Special screening of the Cuban film 'Blue Heart' in Paris

Miguel Coyula is a magnificent creator of forms, combining avant-garde experimentation with a love of popular genres. Blue Heart is part science fiction, part thriller, and also borrows from animation. This hybridity produces constant surprises and new sensations. Humor tempers the tragedy of situations where hallucination springs from the everyday. The logic of collage dominates the insertion of newsreel or documentary excerpts.

December 5th, 2023

Cuban filmmaker Marcel Beltrán talks about cosmic music, night houses and the zero at the end of the road

The feature-length documentary La opción cero (2020), by Marcel Beltrán, will open the IV INSTAR Film Festival, with its screening at the Centre de Cultura Contemporánia de Barcelona (CCCB) this Monday, December 4. The event's journey begins with a film about crossings, transhumance, exodus and shipwrecks on land.

December 4th, 2023

Interview with José Luis Aparicio, curator of the IV edition of the INSTAR Film Festival.

Since the first edition of the INSTAR Film Festival, the main objective of the event has been the promotion and exhibition of independent Cuban cinema, produced inside or outside the island.

December 3rd, 2023

‛Agwe': waiting as a destination

In Haitian vodou, Agwe is the patron saint of fishermen. That is the name François chooses for his son when he is about to leave for the United States in a rather precarious boat loaded with people. Mirlande watches the boat sail away in the hope of seeing her companion soon; with the illusion that, in a short time, the three of them (them and their son) will be reunited in better living conditions.

December 4th, 2023

The IV INSTAR Film Festival as a "space of audiovisual resistance". A conversation with José Luis Aparicio

What is known today as the INSTAR Film Festival, which will reach its fourth edition between December 4 and 10, had its beginning, as truth and power, in a retrospective curated by Cuban critic Dean Luis Reyes at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

December 3rd, 2023


In Taxibol Santambrogio opens a series of questions in a postcolonial tone about the relationship between memory, the forms of obliteration and persistence of the dictatorial past in the Philippines and Cuba, and cinema as a critical device capable of going beyond itself to combat injustices, making visible the power relations hidden behind the traumatic imprints and ambiguities of colonial discourses in their modern and contemporary forms.

December 3rd, 2023


In Veritas, the story of the Bay of Pigs invasion during the Cold War is told through the testimonies of some of its protagonists from the invading side. Thus, sixty years later, and from exile, the men who survived the attempt to overthrow the very early and incipient state of affairs established with the revolution face a series of questions about the loneliness, humiliation and abandonment by the United States to which they were subjected after being at the center of the political complexity of the also known as the Battle of the Bay of Pigs.

December 3rd, 2023

Calls from Moscow'... to a disconnected line in Havana

This week, filmmaker Luis Alejandro Yero denounced on social networks the censorship of his film Llamadas desde Moscú (2023) by Cuban cultural authorities, who excluded it - after it had been admitted by the selection committee, according to what the filmmaker unofficially learned - from the competition of the 44th Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana. Recently, Vladimir Putin's government announced that all public LGTBIQ+ activities were banned in Russia.

December 2nd, 2023

INSTAR Festival kicks off, exploring new independent Cuban cinema

The fourth edition of the INSTAR Film Festival will take place from December 4-10, 2023 at venues in Barcelona, Paris, New York, Miami, Mexico City, Buenos Aires and São Paulo. The festival will focus on the transnational character of new Cuban cinema, exploring its interaction with diverse cinematographies, especially those coming from countries ruled by dictatorial or authoritarian regimes that impose restrictions on artists. The event seeks to highlight the ever-growing dialogue between these cinematographies and to promote cultural diversity in cinema.

December 1st, 2023

Documenting the Feminine: Women Directors at the IV INSTAR Film Festival

The IV INSTAR Film Festival arrives from December 4 to 10 with a film curatorship in which, although we can speak of interconnected themes and aesthetics in a general sense, it is important to highlight the great mosaic of female characters created and recreated by the directors invited to compete.

November 30th, 2023

INSTAR Festival celebrates its fourth edition in transnational format

The transnational character of the fourth edition of the INSTAR Film Festival is a way to be present in cities with a large number of Cuban exiles and at the same time generate new audiences and reflect the different circumstances that independent Cuban film production is going through.

November 30th, 2023

INSTAR calls for its IV Film Festival in seven cities around the world

"Between December 4 and 10, the fourth edition of the INSTAR Film Festival will be held in seven cities around the world with a large presence of Cuban émigrés: Barcelona, Paris, New York, Miami, Mexico City, Buenos Aires and São Paulo. In the case of Cuba, the selection of films will be available online through the Festhome platform."

November 29th, 2023

#SOSVenezuela: about ‛Ventanas', a documentary by Jhon Ciavaldini

Ventanas ties a family experience to the social sphere, the author's thoughts to the collective memory of the country. That is one of its virtues. The discursive landscape hangs on the filmmaker's voice, immersed in turn in that Venezuela of civic revolts and police violence, where, of course, emigration is another index of the crisis.

November 29th, 2023

‘Leaves of K.’ or of impregnable fragility.

The identities and bodies of the Nicaraguan women that filmmaker Gloria Carrión Fonseca summarizes in the collective protagonist of her film Hojas de K. (2022) have also been victims of fierce attempts to suppress them, to dilute them into oblivion, to banish them definitively from the human condition, to decompose their humanities into unrecognizable fragments, without dignity or will.

November 28th, 2023

Instar Film Festival of Cuban Independent Film

The Institut d'Artivisme Hannah Arendt (INSTAR) and the Association France pour la Démocratie à Cuba (AFDC) are pleased to present the screening of Cuban films at the Maison d'Amérique Latine on December 7 and 8, 2023.

November 28th, 2023

IV INSTAR Film Festival: Three Perspectives on the Cuban Migratory Crisis

On the eve of the IV INSTAR Film Festival, I would like to draw attention to some of the views that its program takes on emigration. Whether due to disagreements with the political power or for economic reasons, Cuba has experienced, since 1959 until today, successive waves of migration.

November 28th, 2023

Opening of the fourth edition

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.

November 27th, 2023

Emmanuel Martín, Cuban filmmaker: "'A Man Under the Influence' saved my life".

A man... will be available for Cuban audiences on the Festhome platform from December 4 to 10, always from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight. The Mexican venue of the INSTAR Festival, the Laboratorio Arte Alameda in the capital, will show the film on December 5, 6 and 7, while the Centro Cultural General San Martín in Buenos Aires has scheduled its screening on December 6.

November 26th, 2023

The propitious rebellions of Miñuca & Fernando Villaverde


Produced in 1963, at the height of the revolutionary epic, El parque is certainly far from the exultant mood that must have permeated the art of the time. Its composition evidences characteristics typical of the experimental climate of those days, but does not conceal its gaze towards a sometimes melancholic zone of the social experience.

November 27th, 2023

Tommaso Santambrogio: "Relating to history, justice and memory is fundamental for cinema"


Taxibol (2023) is a tropical concert of silence and fury that reconciles almost antagonistic ways of constructing films. Its story makes epochs collide, and dilutes temporal barriers in the filmic melting pot of memory, revenge and even psychological terror.

November 25th, 2023

‛And How Miserable Is the Home of Evil’: crónica fictiva del derribo de un tirano.

In competition at the IV INSTAR Film Festival, And How Miserable... will be available to Cuban audiences from December 4 to 10 on the online platform Festhome. And it can also be seen, in darkened theaters, by Argentine audiences (at the Centro Cultural General San Martín in Buenos Aires, Tuesday 5 and Sunday 10), Mexican (at the Laboratorio Arte Alameda in Mexico City, Friday 8 and Sunday 10), and Catalan (at the Zumzeig Cinecooperativa in Barcelona, Wednesday 6).

November 24th, 2023

INBAL joins the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women with an extensive program

On December 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10, from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the Laboratorio Arte Alameda will hold the IV INSTAR Film Festival (Hannah Arendt Institute of Artivism), within the framework of the exhibition Pedro Lasch: Entre líneas/Between the lines; and, in collaboration with the Coordinación Nacional de Música y Ópera, on Saturday, December 9, from 11:00 to 21:00, will present the Tercer Maratón Ónix de Música Contemporánea, under the general coordination and curatorship of Alejandro Escuer.

November 24th, 2023

'Abyssal' or the escape of the concrete

Abisal (Alejandro Alonso, 2021) is a chronicle about the eternal end, about the melancholic beauty of decomposition and the impressive precipitation of wounded leviathans into the mouth of Hell, piece by piece.

November 22nd, 2023

For whom does the bell of 'Mafifa' toll?

Mafifa is also one of these channels of mysterious nature and inapprehensible symbolic richness through which the film seeks access to a third area much more closely related to ¿Qué remedio?...: the anthropological inquiry into the Santiago conga and its paroxysmal, cathartic, tragic strata.

November 20th, 2023

INSTAR Film Festival to bring independent Cuban cinema to eight countries

The festival, which from December 4 to 10 will be held in cinemas and cultural centers in Barcelona, Paris, Miami, New York, Mexico City, Buenos Aires and São Paulo, can be viewed online from Cuba through the Festhome platform.

November 15th, 2023

IV INSTAR Film Festival: Aesthetic inventiveness and political critique on the transnational screen

In particular, the conjunction of works by Cuban filmmakers reflects a creative community in the diaspora that has expanded in time and space; whose works, in addition to producing some of the most suggestive stylistic and thematic explorations of the moment, give prestige to the cinema of our country in the most distinguished events in the world.

November 15th, 2023

The IV INSTAR Film Festival, the great transnational node of independent Cuban cinema, is coming soon

The IV INSTAR Film Festival, sponsored by the Hannah Arendt Institute of Artivism, will take place between December 4 and 10, organizers announced Friday. "In case of emergency, break the glass," warns the slogan. slogan.

November 10, 2023

Six independent Cuban film projects receive the PM Awards 2023 of the International Institute of Artivism “Hannah Arendt”

“Beyond the recognition of Cuban filmmakers, the growing participation in this year's PM Awards underlines the importance of expanding [the] support for their work, often carried out in extremely precarious conditions and without institutional support from their country of origin.”

October 27, 2023

Hannah Arendt Institute of Artivism invites to its IV Film Festival: an independent commitment to aesthetic daring and generic hybridity

Independent cinema, and especially Cuban cinema, will once again have a diverse, avant-garde space between December 4 and 10 this year, when the IV INSTAR Film Festival, organized annually by the Hannah Arendt Institute of Artivism, will be held. This June 26, this Cuban civil society organization released a call for entries in which it privileges "audiovisuals with daring aesthetic and narrative approaches…”

June 27th, 2023


For other inquiries about the Festival, interviews and press materials, please contact:

To learn more about the work of our Institute, visit us at  instar.org

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