Expert's Corner

Hola! My name is Yane Marquez and I was born and raised in Cuba. After graduating from the University of Havana and the Tourism School of Cuba, I worked for over 10 years as a tour guide, translator and event organizer for Cuba's travel companies and organizations. I guided many groups attending Cuba's main international festivals, fairs and events. A few years ago, I moved to Canada where I have continued promoting Cuba’s tourism industry. I would be more than happy to answer any question you have about festival Cuba travel. Do not miss out!
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About the Cuba Film Festival

Alfredo Guevara, the president of Cuban Institute of the Cinemato- graphic Art and Industry (ICAIC) was also the director of the organizing committee of the first Havana Film Festival that took place in 1979. The array and quality of the cinematographic works shown at the international film gathering have drawn the attention of important film makers such as Steven Spielberg and Pedro Almodóvar among an almost endless list.

Cuba Study Tours

Havana Film Festival

Official Tour to the Havana Film Festival Discount Cuba Education Tours Havana Film Festival Accomodations Vinales Valley, Authentic Cuba Destination Cuban movie poster gallery

Authentic Cuba Travel announces the Official Cuba Tour to the Havana International Film Festival From December 9 to 16, 2017

Complete Access to Film Festival Venues for $2,999 (all taxes included)

Referral Discount: $100

Invite 1 Friend and Pay $2,899 only
Invite 2 Friends and Pay $2,799 only
Invite 3 Friends and Pay $2,699 only
Invite 4 Friends and Pay $2,599 only
Invite 10 Friends and Pay $0
And remember every person you invite will also receive a $100 discount!

Authentic Cuba Travel working under the auspices of the Cuban Institute of the Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC) is pleased to launch its official Cuba Tour to the International Film Festival of Havana (also known as International Festival of New Latin American Cinema) that will take place from December 9 to December 16, 2017 at the Cuban capital.

Millions of Cubans and international film buffs attend the Havana Film Festival each year which makes the event one of the most important film festivals in the region and a launching platform for the cinematographic movement in Latin America. The Film Festival of Havana is a unique Cuban festival focusing on promoting filmmakers who work in Spanish-language.

The origins of the festival can be traced back to 1979 when ICAIC president Alfredo Guevara invited Spanish-language film makers to participate in the first edition of the film festival with more than 600 directors answering the call. Many celebrities have attended the event ever since, including many notable names from the United States such as Danny Glover, Oliver Stone, Robert de Niro, Pedro Almodoyar, Gregory Peck, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Redford, Carlos Saura, Jack Nicholson, Jack Lemmon, and many more.

Authentic Cuba Travel is pleased to invite North American film industry professionals (directors, producers, screenwriters, art directors, film editors and actors) to attend the Havana International Festival of the New Latin American Cinema 2017.

Film buffs from all over the country (even Cubans who don’t bother going to the movie theatres during the year) rush to Havana as soon as the film festival kicks off at the beginning of each December. Whether they take by storm the theatres to catch a glimpse of their favourite movie starts attending the festival or to watch controversial movies that are not officially admitted into the competition, one thing is for sure Havana cinemas are packed full during the two weeks that the film festival lasts.

In addition to stiff competition between Latin American (including Cuban films), the Havana Film Festival also offers movie buffs the chance to view films from all over the world. Spanish, Polish, German, Serbian, and French films are always a big part of the event, and even though they do not compete, they present a unique opportunity for Cubans to expand their cinematographic horizons.

Due to the popularity of the International Film Festival of Havana, we have limited seat capacity for this Cuba tour so we recommend booking your space at your earliest convenience to make sure you do not miss out this once-a-year opportunity to attend one of the most popular festivals in the capital of the largest island of the Caribbean.

Film Festival Cuba Tour Highlights

  • Tour of UNESCO World Heritage Site, Havana Historical Centre.
  • Travel to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vinales Valley.
  • Visit to Cuba’s International Film School.
  • Dedicated Cuban Expert Tour Guide & Bus Driver.
  • Lunch hosted by world renowned Cuban artists Jose Fuster.
  • Visit the movie-poster gallery of the Cuban Film Institute.
  • Guided tour of Partagas Cigar Factory, founded in 1845.
  • Rub shoulders with Cuban & international renown film makers!
  • Visit to Cuba's National Art Schools.
  • Exploration of International Festival of New Latin American Cinema.
  • Guided tour of the Museum of Fine Arts' Cuban Collection.
  • Free time in the famous handicraft market of Old Havana.
  • Meet with local farmers at tobacco farms in Vinales Valley.
  • Boat ride through underground river at the Indian Cave.

Notice to US Travellers:

This Cuba festival tour could be licensable for US film producers, screenwriters, artistic directors, film editors, actors and actresses and other film related professionals interested in conducting professional research on the Cuba’s film industry.

Authentic Cuba Travel can present US film industry related professionals this Cuba tour to attend the Havana International Film Festival of the New Latin American Cinema because of an uncommon political aperture in Washington policy towards Cuba that permits professionals and education groups to travel to Cuba under the provisions of the General Research License.
 Opening ceremony of the film festival at the Karl marx Theatre in Havana.
Last year opening ceremony of the Havana Film Festival was unforgettable. A packed full Karl Marx Theatre witnessed the opening speech by Sr. Alfredo Guevara, director of the festival since 1979 followed by musical performances by Harold Lopez Nussa and El Solar de los Seis, a folkloric music ensemble. Then, the film “Un Cuento Chino” was presented by Argentinean actor Huang Sheng. Then the lights were off and the first film of the festival was shown on the screen marking the beginning of one of the most remarkable film festivals so far.
Cuban Movie Posters
The ICAIC, or Instututo Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematograficos, creates handmade silkscreen posters for all Cuban made films. The organization also creates publicity posters whenever foreign and international films are to be shown in Cuba. Formed in 1959 after the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution, the ICAIC works hard to promote the Cuban film through many diverse activities. This includes not only film and TV production, but also the Havana Film Festival. A Cuban graphic artist is commissioned to create a unique poster for each film or TV production made. This is one of the most enjoyed activities by participants of our authentic Cuba tours.
Tobacco growing farmer, Cuba Festival Tour 2012.
During our Havana Film Festival Tour, we will enjoy a day trip to Vinales Valley. The valley is home to a variety of incredible geological formations, as well as some of the island’s most breathtaking scenery. The mogotes, a series of incredible free standing rock formations, are big draws for Cuba tour participants. Tobacco growers here have been passing down the secrets of growing the world’s finest tobacco for many generations.
Guests of the International Film Festival of Havana Tour will also enjoy a private tour to the Higher Institute of Arts (ISA). Tour members will have the opportunity to meet with professors and students alike. The school sits on the former grounds of the Havana Country Club’s golf course, in what was once the very affluent Country Club Park neighborhood. The schools were designed and built from 1961-1965 by Cuban architect Ricardo Porro, as well as Italian architects Roberto Gottardi and Vittorio Garatti.
International Film School, Cuba.
The international film school in Cuba is known as EICTV and was created as a free school for Caribbean, Latin American, Asian, and African students in 1987. The school was founded by its current president, the Nobel Literature Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez from Colombia. The school is based in the outskirts of the city of Havana and it is managed by the Foundation of The Latin American Film Industry. Our group will be welcomed at the school to learn about the life and work of young movie makers, another highlight of this Cuba travel experience.
Cigar roller, Partagas Cigar Factory
Authentic Cuba tours will take you to explore the stories and history behind famed Cuban cigars. A visit to the Partagas Cigar Factory is an unparalleled opportunity to learn all about one of Cuba’s oldest industries while meeting cigar rollers and workers eager to share anecdotes and jokes with the Cuba Explorer.

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  • Day 1. Saturday 9 December 2017. Hello Cuba

    Your Authentic Cuba Travel full time escorts for the entire trip (an expert Cuban guide and bus driver) will meet you at the arrivals lounge after you clear customary procedures and pick up your luggage at the Havana airport. That marks the official beginning of your cinematographic journey into the Havana International Film Festival of the New Latin-American Cinema.

    Escorted by your Cuban tour leader, you will enjoy a short bus ride to the Nacional de Cuba hotel. This would be your "center of operations" for the next week. Keep your eyes open and your camera handy for photo shooting opportunities with famous international guests, actors and film directors attending the film festival.

    Evening: after your guide hands out the all access Havana Film Festival Pass, we are off to explore the array of venues related to the 2017 International Festival of New Latin American Cinema throughout Havana.

    Films, animation, documentaries, and short films from the Caribbean and Latin American region will be shown, as well as films that fall into the “Made in Cuba” group which are highlights of the festival and serve to depict the realities of Cuba’s daily life.

    Day 2. Sunday 10 December 2017. Havana

    Morning: this morning we will embark on a guided walking tour of the 2.14 square kilometers that comprise an area that UNESCO declared World Heritage Site in 1982 in Old Havana - a “lively museum city” that houses over 60000 Cubans (in the entire Havana Vieja) and over 3000 buildings erected in a period of 500 years.

    A good place to start is the Cathedral Square, a secluded colonial square surrounded by magnificent palaces and mansions and dominated over by the Cathedral of Havana, from which the square took its current name back in the 18th century.

    The cathedral’s façade showcases the so called Cuban baroque style and is both imposing and intimidating all at once. Cuba travellers will note that one tower is much larger than the other, giving it a visually pleasant, albeit asymmetrical look. Much like other churches in Old Havana, the cathedral is built from coral that was taken from the sea through the labor of slaves. Marine fauna and flora fossils can still be seen in the cathedral’s stones.

    Afterwards, our Authentic Cuba Travel guide will lead the way to Plaza de Armas, the oldest colonial square in the historical core with a rich colonial and republican history always centered on authority and power.

    Following the traditional system of settlement of the Spanish conquistadores, the house of government, the fortress, the church and the houses of the important neighbours were established around the Square of Arms, that was used for military exercises by the Spanish garrison of the Fortress of the Royal Force which stands in the northeast side of the square since the very 16th century, and it is considered as the oldest existing castle in Las Americas.

    The Fortress was the seat of the Spanish Captains Generals, the ruling authority of the colony until the Palace of the Captain Generals was completed in the late 18th century on the site occupied by the first church of the city. Standing in the western side of the square, the Palacio de Los Capitanes Generals showcases an imposing yet majestic architecture. Until 1898 it was the seat of Spanish authority in the island, then the headquarters of the US military governors, and finally the presidential palace after the Republic of Cuba was born in 1902.

    Since we are in the neighbourhood, we will make a stop in the former residence of the Bishop of San Cristobal de La Habana during early colonial times. The magnificent and airy building houses today the famed “La Mina” restaurant where we will enjoy a complimentary lunch and some refreshments.

    Afternoon: we will continue our walking tour of Old Havana’s historical squares. Our next visit will be to the Square of San Francisco (1628) that was established as the trade hub of the city and place of replenishment of Spanish galleons in transatlantic journeys.

    Please do notice the domed structure of Lonja del Comercio in the north side of the square, one of the most magnificent buildings erected in Cuba at the early 20th century to house the Commodities Exchange of Havana. Today it serves as the seat of foreign companies and joint ventures operating in the island.

    Standing tall over the square is the bell tower of the former Basilica de San Francisco. In fact, this is the highest church tower in the city. The former church and convent house a concert hall and religious today.

    Next we will move on to the Plaza Vieja established in the 16th century as the civic square by excellence of the city (notice there are no churches or government buildings in the surroundings). It served as a popular market until 1835 and chronicles of the times tell the stories of African slaves being traded here as well as a place for executions.

    The remainder of the afternoon will be used at leisure to go shopping to the Arts & Crafts Market located inside the former San Jose Warehouse.

    Evening: with our Havana Film Festival passes in hand, we will go out tonight to reconnect with the Latin American cinematographic movement as we visit Havana’s most popular cinema houses.

    Day 3. Monday 11 December 2017. Authentic Cuba destination: Vinales Valley

    Cuba tours from Authentic Cuba Travel are always full of pleasant surprises such as escapes to the neighbouring countryside provinces such as Pinar del Rio, our destination today. Once in the province, we will traverse one of the most amazing and unique landscapes on earth, the Vinales Valley declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999 in the category of Cultural Landscape.

    At the heart of the valley, we find tobacco plantations, guano-sheltered tobacco houses and bohios and the mogotes, flat top hills of limestone origin that were the first lands to emerge from the Caribbean sea in the prehistoric period.

    Among the authentic Cuba attractions that make the valley so unique is the tobacco growing culture of the region. For cigar aficionados, this is the land that produces the best tobacco in the world, and today we will meet local farmers who have been passing from one generation to the next a set of techniques that made that possible.

    The large number of prehistoric fossils that have been found in the fertile plains and mogotes justify the belief that flora and fauna were once abundant in the basin during the Jurassic Period. A belief that inspired local artists Leovigildo Gonzalez to paint a huge mural painting known as El Mural de La Prehistoria on the side on one of the mogotes in 1961.

    At lunch time, we will make a stop at “Cueva del Indio” restaurant that specializes in local dishes such as baked chicken, roasted pork and manioc cakes.

    Afternoon: at one time in its geological history, the region was seven meters high above the sea level, but underground rivers eroded the limestone bedrock creating one of the largest cave systems in Cuba. And next we are off to verify this theory. Wear your Cuba explorer hats; we go deep into the Indian Cave.

    The cave was “discovered” in 1920 but the truth is that Guanahatabey Amerindians and runaway African slaves were quite familiar with the site back in earlier centuries. We will traverse the cave sometimes by foot and sometimes by rowboat along a river that flows underground.

    Afterwards our tour guide will take Cuba tour participants to Vinales town (home to about 4000 people) and after providing some orientation, we will enjoy some free time to explore the sights and sounds of this town full of vernacular traditions and architecture at our own pace. We recommend you explore Marti Park surrounded by the Church, the Casa de La Cultura and open air markets.

    Evening: we will continue our discovery tour of the latest Spanish-language films produced in the Latin America region over the last year. Please, do not forget your festival pass as it grants you access to all movie theatres in Havana during the Cuba Film Festival.

    Day 4. Tuesday 12 December 2017. Exploring Havana's Art Scene

    Morning: the architecture of the national school of arts (Higher Institute of Arts today) mirrors the euphoria, optimism and political changes taken place in the island in the early 1960’s after The Cuban Revolution came to power. Sitting on the former 18-hole championship golf course of the Havana Country Club, the schools were built using brick and other local materials as the US Embargo made difficult the import of steel.

    Today the Instituto Superior de Arte contains the Faculty of Music, located in the original country club building, the Faculty of Theatre and Dance and the Faculty of Visual Arts where about 900 students- including foreigners receive artistic education similar to conservatory education in North America.

    Next we will travel to a coastal village in the western edge of Havana city. Home to humble fishermen, Jaimanitas has transformed from a sleeping town into one of the most authentic Cuban attractions today thanks to the artwork of Jose Fuster, a Cuban visual artist who have decorated with amazing ceramics and paintings about 80 buildings in the community...and counting! Lunch will be hosted by the artists himself at his residence and workshop.

    Afternoon: another highlight of the official Cuba tour to the Havana Film Festival is the opportunity to visit the ICAIC Film Poster Art Gallery that contains the largest and most important collection of Cuban-made-movie posters in the world. Here tour participants will also have the chance to purchase reproductions of the original posters that are commissioned to Cuban artists for the advertisement of Cuban films.

    Late afternoon & evening: exploration of International Festival of New Latin American Cinema 2017 related venues across the city.

    Day 5. Wednesday 13 December 2017. Film Education in Cuba

    Morning: this morning we will enjoy a pleasing bus ride to San Antonio de Los Banos, a town in neighboring Havana province that has gained worldwide recognition as the seat of the Escuela International de Cine y Television (EICTV). Originally created in 1987 after an idea of Colombian author Garcia Marquez and sponsored by the Cuban government and the Latin American Film Foundation (based in the Cuban capital), education at the school is free for students of developing nations through Latin America and The Caribbean but also accepts students from Africa and Asia.

    Afternoon and evening: we continue our film discovery tour of the latest films and cinematographic trends produced in the Spanish-speaking world in 2017.

    Day 6. Thursday 14 December 2017. Into the Heart & Soul of Cuba's Culture

    Morning: Cuban art is a reflection of the authentic culture of the Caribbean island as we will witness in today’s tour of the world-class Museo Nacional Palacio de Bellas Artes (1954). Artworks from colonial times until present day made up the largest existing collection of Cuban fine arts in the world and show visitors the unique cultural fabric of this Caribbean destination, a blend of Spanish and African roots with Chinese and American influences.

    Late afternoon & evening: exploration of International Festival of New Latin American Cinema 2017 related venues across the city.

    Day 7. Friday 15 December 2017. Touring Cuba's Oldest Cigar Factory

    Morning: the cigar industry has been connected to Cuba’s history since ancient times but the art of making the finest cigars in the world is a phenomenon of the 19th century when big cigar factories were built and entrepreneurs like Don Jaime Partagas implemented new techniques for the aging and fermentation of tobacco leaves. The decoration of cigar boxes with unique lithographs and artwork also contributed to seal the authenticity and popularity of Cuban brands during this period.

    So it is only fair to pay a visit to one of the landmarks of Cuba’s cigar industry, the Partagas Cigar Factory (1845) where hundreds of Cuban rollers work every day to create manually one at a time the finest cigars in the world. At the end of the tour, we will have the chance to buy cigars like Partagas, Romeo y Julieta, Cohiba and other popular brands at the very own salesroom of the factory which also presents a good opportunity for tasting new vitolas.

    Late afternoon & evening: exploration of International Festival of New Latin American Cinema 2017 related venues across the city.

    Day 8. Saturday 16 December 2017. GoodBye Cuba

    This morning we will enjoy our final bus transfer to the Havana international airport located some 30 minutes away from the hotel. After saying goodbye to our Authentic Cuba Travel tour guide and bus driver, we will go through Cuban Customs and Immigrations.

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