New Zealand/Cuban Film Festival Exchange Opens in Havana


The first event of the inaugural New Zealand/Cuba Film Festival Exchange, organized by SI CUBANZ FILMZ and Instituto Cubano Artes y Industria de Cinematografia (ICAIC) was to open at 8pm at the Cine Chaplin in Havana on Saturday 07 February 2004 with an invitation-only screening of The Price of Milk (Dir. Harry Sinclair). The screening was to be preceded by a wine and cheese reception in the Cultural Centre across the road from the Chaplin, hosted by the major sponsors, Fonterra and New Zealand Milk. As anyone who has ever been to Cuba knows, always expect the unexpected! As guests began to arrive for the reception, a power blackout plunged a large proportion of the city into darkness. Fortunately, the foyer of ICAIC, located next door to the Chaplin Cinema, had its own limited power supply, so in inimitable Cuban style, men in suits and bow ties scurried back and forth across the six-lane street dodging cars and buses, to transport the cases of wine, cartons of cheese, and boxes of glasses to ensure the 'show went on'. Frantic telephone calls to the electricity company generated an undertaking to restore power as soon as possible...


Distinguished guests included New Zealand Ambassador to Cuba Mr Paul Tipping and his wife, Cuban Vice President of Arts and Culture Juan Ballester, Vice President of ICAIC and Director of International Relations, Susana Molina, Programmer of Cinematec, Antonio Mazon, Fonterra and New Zealand Milk representatives Alexandro Alavez, Jose Miguel Alavez and Rene Herrera, NZ film maker Harry Sinclair, and Cuban film makers Enrique Colina and Lourdes do Santos. Also present were several New Zealanders holidaying and studying in Cuba, who provided the Cubans present with lively and entertaining commentaries on New Zealand life and culture.


As more and more people arrived for the screening, and it became less and less likely that power would be restored to the cinema before 11pm, it was decided to cancel the screening, but proceed with the introductory speeches - and party on! Mr Tipping gave an impressive and well-received speech in Spanish on New Zealand-Cuba relations and the importance of the festival in enhancing understanding between the two countries, Julie Webb-Pullman, Director of SI CUBANZ FILMZ, briefly outlined the selection of films encompassing 1966-2001, and Harry Sinclair drew many laughs, describing his film as being about the imagination, which in the circumstances was fortunate because they would all have to imagine seeing it!


Despite the inauspicious opening, the Sunday screenings of short film A Moment Passing and feature Don't Let It Get You (Dir. John O'Shea - 1966) proceeded without incident.

Following the Havana screenings, the NZ festival travels to Matanzas for a one week season.


A festival of 12 Cuban films spanning the years 1960-2002 will screen in New Zealand in October 2004, hosted by NZ International Film Festival - one-week seasons are proposed for both Wellington and Auckland.


point seven: invest in a better world


The campaign to increase New Zealand's overseas aid was launched at Parliament on Tuesday 10 February. In a colourful and dramatic event, representatives of CID member agencies symbolised the respective levels of overseas aid of the 22 OECD donor countries. A number of MPs spoke including the Hon. Lockwood Smith (National), Keith Locke (Green), the Hon. Matt Robson (Progressive), Winnie Laban (Labour), Dail Jones (New Zealand First) and the Hon. Peter Dunne (United Future). Several other MPs also attended the launch.


         To see the brochure, click here:

         To see background papers, click here:


Photos of the event are posted on the CID web site





LAC and Dev Zone has a number of videos available for borrowing.

The Revolution will not be televised: Chavez 2002.

which deals with the events in Venezuela over the recent years.