Gibara the ‘Villa Blanca’ of Cinema
By Mayté Madruga Hernández
“In 2000, during the filming of Miel para Oshún (Honey for Oshún) , under the direction of Humberto Solás, I discovered Gibara. He introduced her as though he were introducing an old flame, a forgotten girlfriend from younger days, from the times of Lucía that cinema put back on his path. From that meeting the Festival was born”…these are the words with which Jorge Perugorría, president of the International Gibara Film Festival, kicked off the 2016 edition.
This was the first time that the actor-director assumed the presidency of an event, which was not foreign to him, because the relationship with its founder Humberto Solás transcended professional limits and turned into a friendship with a shared the love for cinema and for Gibara, also known as Villa Blanca (White Village).
The Gibara Film Festival has been coordinated by the government authorities of the eastern province of Holguin, the Cuban Institute of Cinema and Art (ICAIC) and the Cuban Ministry of Culture since its inception. Each edition has become a multicultural event where all art manifestations meet in this village which turns 200 since its foundation. For this reason the president of the Festival and its organizing committee have decided to dedicate the next edition to it, to be celebrated in April.
For Perugorría it is ‘an honor and commitment to take care of this creation which was born of Solás’ love of Gibara, its people and cinema’.
Those who attend the event as guests describe the atmosphere of the streets of Gibara as a constant party, in which countless activities happen from dawn until dusk, where music invades the place.
Musicians such as David Torrens, David Blanco, Pancho Céspedes, Nube Roja, and, Haydeé Milanés, among others, have come to Villa Blanca. All come because of their their commitment to art and to a place that has been recorded in national cinematography in films such as Lucía (1968) and Miel para Oshún (2001).
As part of the relationship between art and the environment, this cinematographic event has hosted initiatives such as the Mother Earth Festival, for which audiovisuals with ecological themes have been projected.
Thanks to the event, the city of Gibara has a pictorial mural with the signatures of visual artists such as Eduardo Abela, Rafael Pérez Alonso, Javier Guerra, José Emilio (Jeff), Osneldo García, Max Delgado, Andy Rivero and Vladimir Martínez, among others.
The Festival, incorporating the concept of the Solás Low Budget Cinema, which refers to a cinema for all and everyone, has held acting workshops for the community, as well as lectures and debates with the projection of films.