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Spanish director Fernando Trueba gave classes in Cuba
With several lessons in dramaturgy and production given to five third-year direction students of the San Antonio International School of Cinema and Television (EICTV, in Spanish), Spanish director Fernando Trueba added his name to the list of celebrities from worldwide cinema who have visited the schools classrooms.

¨I have spoken about my experiences, about the things I think of this job, about the art of directing, not only about the philosophy and the concept of what making a movie means to me, but also about specific things concerning the work with the rest of the film crew, about the way I deal with rehearsals. I have told them about my working methods, based on my experience¨, said the director in an exclusive to Cubanow.

The author of La niña de tus ojos, who has directed some of the finest actors from his country like Fernando Fernán Gómez, Penélope Cruz, Ariadna Gil, Gabino Diego, Maribel Verdú and Jorge Sanz, used four ¨incredibly good¨ Cuban actors to show the future directors the filming possibilities that a scene can offer. Mario Guerra, Alexis Díaz de Villegas, Blanca Rosa Blanco and Aleida Enríquez were the protagonists of the exercises, in which Trueba showed his great skill in the acting direction and taught the ¨kids¨ how ¨to shoot a scene in the simplest possible way, or how to complicate it unnecessarily in order to allow the camera movement and the change of shots¨.

With an Oscar won for his film Belle Epoque, and with several Goya awards given by the Spanish Academy of Cinema, the filmmaker came to Cuba not only to teach. He also watched the audiovisual materials that students have made at the Cinema School. ¨The five students I had were great, both personally and professionally. Its been very good for me to meet them. Im leaving now, but Id like to see them again, to know how theyre doing and what theyre doing, how theyre progressing¨.

Although hes been to Havana several times, this is the first time Trueba visits the EICTV, currently located across the Latin American Federation of Schools of Image and Sound. He went there after he met Cuban director Daniel Díaz Torres in Brazil, who told him about the School. He said he had heard about it before from two assistant directors with whom he had worked in the past and who had taught at the school. ¨I loved it. I wouldnt tell you this if it wasnt true. I can be very critical when I want to. But Ive been thrilled by the atmosphere of the school. I wish I were twenty to come here to study¨.

The international status of the school was one of the things Trueba liked the most about the EICTV: the fact that young people from different countries can live, study and work under the same roof for three years. ¨The communion of so many nationalities in this school is something I consider very special, because we are similar and different at the same time, everyone one of us is special. As I grow older, I become more aware of what being a Spanish American, a Latin American really is. I become more aware of that wonderful communion formed by those who speak Spanish, in which I include Brazilian and Portuguese people, even though the speak Portuguese, and the Spanish-speaking population of the United States, which is larger than Spains¨.

Founded in 1986 under the auspices of the New Latin American Cinema Foundation in the town of San Antonio de los Baños, the EICTV has graduated more than 500 young students from fifty countries, mostly from Latin America, in the specialities of Direction, Screenwriting, Production, Photography, Edition and Sound. A new course has started recently: Documentary Direction. Around a thousand filmmakers have also visited its classrooms. They have participated in the different international workshops given by the School of the Three Worlds, as its founder and first director called it, the Argentinean director Fernando Birri. Among the most renowned visitors, some of which have shared their experiences with the students, we can mention Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Redford, Steven Spielberg and Oliver Stone from the United States; Mike Figgis, Stephen Frears and Ralph Fiennes from Great Britain; French-Greek director Costa Gavras; Italian director Ettore Scola; and Fedrico Luppi, Fernando Pino Solanas, Jorge Sanjinés, Nelson Pereira Dos Santos and Fernándo Pérez from Latin America.

Some of them have marked the schools walls with their impressions on art and the school. Theyve done so as pieces of advice, like Birri's suggestion to dream with open eyes, or Coppola's motto that art never sleeps. Trueba's phrase says that Life is an ill-directed film with a shitty ending. ¨I thought about it before writing it, and I asked the kids what they thought of it. They told me it sounded a little bit pessimistic, but that there was some humour in it¨.

Once he finished his classes at the EICTV, the director was invited to the animation studies of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC). There, he spoke with several artists from that sector, in which the Spanish director is also trying its luck. He is preparing an animated film called Chico and Rita, about the musicians and the musical environment in Cuba and New York during the 1940's. ¨The script is ready and weve finished all the research and setting work. We are in the middle of a storyboard with the films style. Weve also tried some animation scenes to define the style and were now making the voice casting¨. One of those castings was made in Havana.

Trueba said that he hopes to have recorded the dialogues and the music by January of 2008. ¨It will have a lot musical scenes. Bebo Valdés has written a few pieces for the movie. Bebo and I have made so many things together, and we are so close, that I think I would have never thought of telling this story if it wasnt for the close friendship we have. Its a story about a musician from his generation. Theres a lot of him in this movie, but its not about Bebo's life at all. Its also inspired by the stories that Ive heard from many Cuban musicians that I know in Cuba and abroad. Its about the life of a musician that could be the summary of many of them.¨

Trueba's visit was the best pretext to exhibit some of his films. The Glauber Rocha Theater, at the New Latin American Cinema Foundation, was the place for the exhibition, which, according to ICAIC's sources, could also be shown at the Charles Chaplin theatre.

Source: By Reina Hernández, CubaNow

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