Cuba: International Film and TV School, a new look

Cuba: International Film and TV School, a new look

Film & Television

Ana Maria Silveira

The so-called seventh art, his majesty the cinema, has always exercised a permanent fascination in the most diverse audiences of all continents, since its origins in the distant times of the late nineteenth century, in France.

The wonderful invention of the Lumiere brothers arrived in Cuba very early, back in 1897, and the island, like the rest of Latin America, embraced this artistic aspect as one of the main mass cultural phenomena.

American and European cinematography dominated the cultural space that became an important market, but filmmakers from this subcontinent, especially in the 60s of last century, began to contribute ways of doing and points of view that gave rise to what was called new Latin American cinema, with very outstanding works.

From that context, the International Film and Television School (EICTV) emerged in Cuba, with more than three decades of tireless work training filmmakers, mainly from the so-called Third World, but also from other European and American countries.

On December 15, 1986, in the town of San Antonio de los Baños, 35 kilometers from Havana, met Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, the then president Fidel Castro, the Argentine poet and filmmaker Fernando Birri and the Cuban director and theorist Julio García Espinosa, among others.

These four people represented the dream come true of the Committee of Latin American Filmmakers who conceived the utopia of creating an educational center that, far from Hollywood clichés and commercial cinema, would train ethical and creative artists, who understood cinema as an art.

Cuba offered the facilities, the initial equipment and the large group of people that allowed its administrative operation. The prestige of García Márquez and the dreamy perseverance of Birri —who would be the first director of EICTV— joined the efforts of others and an audiovisual school was born that is considered among the best in the world.

Proof of this is the Roberto Rosellini Prize awarded by the Cannes Festival in its 46th edition, the only one for a school awarded by the prestigious event and the ratification of its high quality by important international media such as El País, from Spain, and the Times , from London.

The EICTV has 300 teachers in its different teaching areas that are divided into a two-year regular course and a continuous training system in which a set of professionals update, expand and improve operation workshops.

Teaching is carried out by active filmmakers whose knowledge is endorsed by practice, thus turning the teaching process into a living experience, constantly updated, with frequent exchanges with renowned creators, such as Americans Oliver Stones and Brian de Palma.