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Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti

I am an advocate of difference, both in life and in art. That’s why I don’t like to repeat myself. I always say that my job is to open doors and not to close them. Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti, from an interview with Margaret Atkins in Cuba Absolutely

The Vancouver Latin American Film Festival is proud to host Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti, one of Cuba’s leading contemporary film and theatre directors, to present a retrospective of three of his most representative films.

Born in Havana’s Vedado district in 1961, Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti began his career as a writer, actor and director for children's television programs made for the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television (ICRT) from 1981 to 1987. His work won him six CARACOL awards from the Cuban National Union of Writers and Artists (UNEAC), and a Diploma in Honour of Cultural Achievement from the Cuban Ministry of Culture.

Cremata obtained a Dramatic Arts degree in 1986 from the Higher Institute of Art (ISA) in Havana. In 1990, he went on to graduate with a Diploma in Cinema, Video and Television Directing from the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión (EICTV) de San Antonio de los Baños. His thesis film Oscuros rinocerontes enjaulados (Dark Caged Rhinoceros) screened at numerous film festivals including in Clermont-Ferrand, France, and has since become part of the archive of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Cremata has travelled to over 45 countries throughout his career, presenting his films, giving artist talks and leading workshops on film editing, screenwriting and directing. From 1994 to 1995, he was a professor of Film Editing at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and professor of Film Directing at the Escuela Panamericana de Diseño y Publicidad and the Centro de Experimentación en Cine y Video (CIEVIC) in Argentina.

In 1996, he won a Guggenheim Fellowship and spent a year working in New York City, but as he says in an interview with Vanessa Arrington in the Havana Journal, “It was this year, living in the centre of New York, with lots of money and everything, that I realized all I wanted was to return to Cuba and make Cuban films.”

In his career, Cremata has directed over 50 television episodes, two short films, one documentary, The Epoch, the Enchantment and the End of the Century (1999), and four feature-length narrative films: Nada+ (2001), Viva Cuba (2005), The Skimpy Prize (2009) and Chamaco (2011), the latter two adapted from plays by well-known Cuban playwrights.

For his work, he has won over 54 international prizes including the Grand Prix Écrans Juniors for Best Children’s Film at Cannes and the Best First Film Award at the Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana. Viva Cuba, which won more than 30 national and international awards, is one of the most widely acclaimed films in the history of Cuban cinema. With his innovative visual composition and wide-ranging style, Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti is truly a master of cinematic storytelling.

Spotlight on Colombian Cinema

Colombian cinema has burst onto the world stage in the past decade, evidenced by the number of its films that have premiered in the official selection of the most prestigious film festivals, winning awards and enchanting audiences and critics all over the world. VLAFF is honoured to present this Spotlight on Colombian Cinema and to join in the admiration of these highly talented filmmakers and their outstanding films.

Feature Films:

  • Building Royale (Edificio Royal) by Iván Wild
  • Chocó by Jhonny Hendrix Hinestroza
  • Don Ca by Patricia Ayala Ruiz
  • La Playa D.C. by Juan Andrés Arango
  • La Sirga by William Vega
  • The Wind Journeys (Los viajes del viento) by Ciro Guerra

Short Films:

  • Portraits (Los retratos) by Ivan D. Gaona

BOGOSHORTS – Three shorts from the Bogotá Short Film Festival

  • Rodri by Franco Lolli
  • Scarlet Earth (Tierra escarlata) by Jesús Reyes Hoyos
  • River (Río) by Nicolás Serrano

A Conversation on Colombian Cinema

In the last decade, Colombian cinema has experienced remarkable growth, both in terms of the number and the quality of its film productions. In 2011 alone, a record high of 18 Colombian films were released. These 18 releases represent more than twice the number of releases in the previous five years and more than triple the number in the past eight years. To discuss this new wave of Colombian Cinema and the Cinema Laws that have provided the infrastructure for its success, we are pleased to welcome this distinguished panel.

Guest speakers will include:

  • Adelfa Martínez, Director of the Film Office, Ministry of Culture of Colombia
  • Juan Andrés Arango, Director (La Playa D.C.)
  • Cristina Gallego, Producer (The Wind Journeys, Building Royale)
  • Ciro Guerra, Director (The Wind Journeys)

SUNDAY, SEPTMEBER 1 | 5:45PM | PC – Free Admission

With many thanks to the Ministry of Culture of Colombia and the Consulate General of Colombia in Vancouver for their support of this program.

Out of Competition Shorts


Guatemala/Argentina, 2012
Spanish with English subtitles/ 13 min
Director: Andrea Dardón

In the heart of the former Mayan kingdom, a woman is preparing breakfast by the dancing fire flames and gently swings her daughter. However, the changes in the sky will soon ruffle the nearby water, transforming it into a cloud that will cover the earth.


Cuba, 2012
Spanish with English subtitles/ 13 min
Director: Luis Ernesto Doñas

In the heat of the Cuban countryside, Amanda's yearning for snow pushes her to dangerous extremes. Despite being far from that loved and memorable place, Raul finds a way to bring Oslo back to his wife.

Caribbean canadian Showcase

rinidad+tobago film festival

Founded in 2006, the trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff) is the largest event of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean. The Festival, which takes place in September, is a celebration of the best films from Trinidad & Tobago, the Caribbean and its diaspora.

Last year, the Festival hosted a special focus on Canadian cinema to commemorate 50 years of diplomatic relations between Trinidad & Tobago and Canada. This focus acknowledged the presence of a large Caribbean community in Canada, as well as Canadian filmmakers at work in the Caribbean itself.

We are proud to feature this series at VLAFF, which showcases highlights from the dynamic cinematic relationship between Canada and the Caribbean region.

Asian Perspectives

This special series of films addresses themes of Asian identity within a Latin American context. The program gives voice to a segment of the Latin American population that is often ignored in film or relegated to peripheral, stereotypical characterizations. This series is intended to raise awareness of Asian perspectives by presenting three recent feature-length documentary films that reflect upon and educate viewers about the long history of travel, immigration and cultural exchange between Asia and Latin America.


  • The Girl from the South (La chica del sur) by Argentine director José Luis García (p. )
  • Inori by Mexican director Pedro González-Rubio (p. )
  • Nikkei by Venezuelan director Kaori Flores Yonekura (p. )

With many thanks for the generous support from the Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation.

Young & Wild

Joven y Alocada

Daniela is an angst-ridden 17-year-old who finds that her raging sexual drive is difficult to reconcile with the orders of her religion and the expectations of her well-to-do, evangelical family. With no outlet for her desire, Daniela taps into an online network of other restless teenagers through her sexually charged blog. In addition to being a playful, energetic and, at times, uncomfortably explicit coming-of-age story, Joven y Alocada is fresh and innovative in its format.

Festival year: 

Fat, Bald, Short Man

Gordo, calvo y bajito

This highly innovative, animated film tells the story of Antonio Farfán, a middle-aged man who works in a notary office. He believes that his dull personal and professional life is the result of his looks: being fat, bald and short. One day his new boss arrives: a fatter, balder and shorter man who, unlike Antonio, is both successful in his career and happily married. In spite of Antonio’s deep-seated shyness and insecurity, he can’t help but see that it is time for things to change. The question is: How is he going to do it?

Festival year: 


Pachuca, 1956. Brothers Arturo and Gustavo Martínez leave their hometown in central Mexico with the desire to cross the continent on bicycles. Eighty-two days and 5,600 km later, they arrive in Toronto, not knowing that this journey will change the entire route of their lives. Ever since director Andrea Martínez Crowther can remember, stories of her father and uncle’s trip have formed part of her family’s folklore.

Festival year: 


Chocó is 27 years old; she has two children, a tiny hut on the edge of a Colombian village, an underpaid job in a gold mine, a second job laundering clothes, and a marimba-playing husband who gambles away their money and forces himself onto her at night when he’s had too much to drink. Nonetheless, Chocó is a fighter and she is determined to make a better life for her family. As her daughter’s seventh birthday approaches, Chocó promises to buy her a cake. However, fulfilling that promise proves to be much more difficult than expected.

Festival year: 


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