Havana Film Fest features Queens soccer doc, screenings

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The Havana Film Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary in the five boroughs this year with screenings of 43 films of varying formats and styles, including a documentary about soccer players at Flushing Meadows Corona Park and a presentation of four short films at the Queens Theatre in the Park.

The festival, which began in 1999 as a showcase for Cuban films and has expanded to include cinema from all over Latin America, will kick off on April 14 at Queens Theatre in the Park, located next to the ice rink and the Queens Museum of Art at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. It will culminate with a screening of the popular Argentinian film “A Boyfriend to My Wife” at Manhattan’s Quad Cinema, located at 34 W. 13th St.

This year’s festival will include feature films, shorts, documentaries, animated movies and classic Latin American pictures from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Puerto Rico, Peru and Guatemala.

“We want to show that Latin American cinema has a long history,” festival spokeswoman Diana Vargas said.

The festival’s opening night at Queens Theatre in the Park will feature short films by four young Bushwick−based filmmakers, ages 17 and 18, who will present their own work.

“Kids from local neighborhoods will be able to express their feelings and show their work,” Vargas said of the opening night screenings.

The short films include “Crossing Numbers,” which follows the story of border patrolmen who discover a corpse and do not want to report it in order to keep crime statistics low, and “Hispaniola Una Isla Dos Mundos,” a tale about racism in the Dominican Republic and the friendship between an illegal immigrant from Haiti and a wealthy Dominican boy. The other two shorts are “G−Boys,” which is about two high school friends, and “The Sad Churro Family.”

The program, which begins at 6:30 p.m., runs 50 minutes and will be followed by a discussion with the filmmakers.

The festival will return to the borough on April 22 when “The Golden Age” screens at the Queens Theatre in the Park. This 90−minute film, narrated by Edward James Olmos, is a documentary about a group of men who emigrated from Latin America to Queens and now play soccer regularly in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

“Many of them were soccer stars in their home countries,” Vargas said. “But they came here to make a better living. It’s a very touching movie.”

The film’s centerpiece will be the April 16 screening of “Horn of Plenty” at 6:30 p.m. at Manhattan’s Directors Guild Theater, which is located at 110 W. 57th St. in Manhattan. The film, which is directed by Juan Carlos Tabio (“Strawberry and Chocolate”), is a screwball comedy about a small Cuban town that comes to believe it is the inheritor of a large fortune, causing its denizens to attempt to outwit one another to get their hands on the money.

The film’s star, Jorge Perugorria, will speak at the screening. The movie will screen again at 9:30 p.m. on April 23 at the Quad.

Another anticipated screening will be the closing night screening of “A Boyfriend to My Wife,” which will screen at the Quad on April 23. The film was a huge hit in Argentina.

“It’s a comedy about a guy whose wife does not have a job, so she gets cranky and complains a lot,” Vargas said. “He believes the best way to get rid of her without getting a divorce is to find someone for her to have an affair with, but he then finds that things get complicated.”

The festival will also feature a screening of the critically acclaimed Mexican film “The Desert Within” and several retrospectives of Latin American masters, including a presentation of Cuban director Santiago Alvarez’s work and a tribute to Humberto Solas, a Cuban filmmaker who directed the classic 1968 film “Lucia” and died at age 67 last year.

The festival will offer a $200 ticket packet that includes entry to all screenings, opening and closing night premieres and receptions. Other packets for the festival are ones for $40, which are weekday passes, or $70 weekend passes. Screenings at the Quad cost $8 for seniors and students and $11 for all other attendees. Most of the Queens screenings are free.

A majority of the films will include discussions with filmmakers.

To purchase tickets, visit the film festival’s Web site at or call 212−946−1839.

Posted 6:32 pm, October 10, 2011
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