Cuban film-makers pitched a string of projects to potential European co-production partners and buyers at the Locarno International Film Festival over the weekend.
Daniel Diaz Torres, Humberto Solas and Humberto Padron were among ten Cuban filmmakers invited to launch the three-year project "Open Doors - World Producers Meet The World Cinema" which is to be devoted to promoting film industries which are going through a period of crisis.
"The project is called Open Doors because we open the doors of our festival to voices, ideas, and new projects coming out from these countries", festival director Irene Bignardi explained.
An all-day workshop at the weekend featured an introduction by UK producer Nik Powell on the European market, followed by an overview from Camilo Vives Palles, Director of Production at Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematogràficos (ICAIC), of the state of production in Cuba and the opportunities for cooperation.
The filmmakers were then able to pitch their projects in pre-arranged one-to-one meetings with potential European co-producers or buyers.
The projects being pitched included Daniel Diaz Torres' two projects - Lisanka, a love story set during the 1962 Missile Crisis and La Aurora (At Dawn) described as "a peculiar 'epic comedy' about sex, love, ghosts and Revolution"; talented young filmmaker Humberto Padron's Outside about eight people on an open raft bound for Miami; Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti's Hombres Sin Mujer, inspired by Carlos Montenegro's novel about life and sodomy in Cuban prisons in the early 1930s; veteran director Humberto Solas' drama Return To Cienfuegos; and Jorge Luis Sanchez's El Barbaro Del Ritmo, the life-story of Cuban jazz musician Benny More.
During the workshop, Vives Palles explained that most of the projects had around 70% of their budgets in place, but were looking for the final 30% "which could amount to $100,000 or less". "We are going through a hard time at the moment, but we have optimism and energy. We have the manpower, but what we need is financing," he said.