14ymedio, Havana, 22 March 2018 — On Tuesday, the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC) showed its willingness to put limits on the freedom of creation by confirming that the film I Want to Make a Movie would not be allowed to participate in the Special Presentation section of the Young Filmmaker’s Exhibition, because one of its characters “expresses himself in an unacceptable way about José Martí.”
“An insult to Martí, whatever it may be and in any context, is a matter that not only concerns ICAIC, but also our entire society and everyone in the world who share ours values. It is not something that can be accepted simply as an expression of the freedom of creation,” the ICAIC explained in a statement.
Ramírez’s feature film was going to be presented as a “work in progress” in the XVII Young Filmmaker’s Exhibition at the cinema at 23rd and 12th, with a discussion included. After viewing the material, the ICAIC said that the film could not be shown in that theater and suggested presenting it in the Terence Piard room, which has only 24 seats.
In its statement, the film institution rejects “any expression of disrespect for national symbols and the main figures of our history.”
The coordinators of the show publicly expressed, on social networks, their disagreement with the institution’s decision, saying it was “totally inappropriate,” and the filmmakers withdrew the film from the event. The ICAIC statement says that the filmmakers’ action of making known “on social networks” their disagreement with the Presidency of the institution was “unethical.”
The scene in the film that annoyed censors happens when one of the characters declares himself to not be a supporter and follower of José Martí and describes the Cuban hero as a “turd” and “faggot.” The filmmakers, far from trying to slip this dialogue in unnoticed, made it known when one of the promoters, the journalist Marta María Ramírez, published it on social networks.
I Want to Make a Movie is the first full-length film by Yitmit Ramírez, who made it with an 8,000 euros budget obtained through a crowdfunding campaign. María Ramírez, who designed the communication strategy for the internet campaign, explained to this newspaper after the incident that the new room had “only 24 seats” and was too “small” for the screening.
The Exhibition, which has been held since 2001, has experienced other similar chapters of censorship by the Institution. The outstanding filmmaker Fernando Perez resigned his position at the head of the exhibition’s in 2012 after a similar maneuver by the ICAIC, when a documentary made by the filmmaker Ricardo Figueredo about rapper Raudel Collazo, from Escuadrón Patriota, was excluded.
“Not being able to demonstrate in practice the inclusive coherence that I have proposed for the Exhibition, I have made the personal decision not to continue at the front of it,” said the director.
The 14ymedio team is committed to serious journalism that reflects the reality of deep Cuba. Thank you for joining us on this long road. We invite you to continue supporting us, but this time by becoming a member of 14ymedio. Together we can continue to transform journalism in Cuba.