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Humberto Solas, renowned Cuban filmmaker, traveled to Bilbao as ambassador of the Low-Budget Film
The largest showing abroad ever dedicated to the International Low-Budget Film Festival was screened February 25th through the 29th in movie theatres of Bilbao, Vitoria, San Sebastián and several higher education centers in the Basque Country, sponsored by the ONG Mugarik Gabe (the main foreign sponsor of the sixth festival set for April) and the festivals organizer Carlos Vázquez.

It included 17 films with the most diverse genres and subject matters.

Director of Cuban classics like 'Lucía and 'Un hombre de éxito and more recently 'Barrio Cuba, Solás gave conferences, in which he explained why he has repeatedly said that the concept 'low-budget films has to do with ethics rather than aesthetics.

To understand what 'low-budget films really mean it would be enough to watch the selected films, most of which have been favorably received by the audience, while also winning several prizes at the Gibara event. 'Voyage en sol majeur (France 2006) won the prize to the Best Documentary Film at the 5th festival. It deals with filmmaker Georgi Lazarevskis travel to Morocco - the land of his ancestors- accompanied by his 91 year-old grandpa.

Also included was the documentary film 'Invierno en Bagdad (Winter in Baghdad) by Spaniard Javier Corcuera, which won the jurys special recognition during last years event.

The documentary film 'Revolución Azul by Diego Fabián Archondo (Cuba, 2006) deals with environmental protection, and 'Carretillas Driver by Peruvian Fernando Torres Salvador tackles the dilemma of poor children who scratch out a living doing hard labor, while also trying to devote some time to study. Another praiseworthy film dealing with current issues is 'Trabajo infantil en Nablus --the result of a video workshop that served to train 18 Palestinian women from Hebron.

The contradictions of a society that promotes the sexual market, while at the same time discriminating against and condemning streetwalkers, led a group of Catalan girls known as Malasuerte to shoot 'La hipocresía del deseo, another good documentary film shown in the Basque Country.

In the fiction category stand out 'Los elefantes nunca olvidan (Venezuela/Mexico, 2004), shown during the opening session of the 5th Gibara festival. It is a short movie by Lorenzo Vigas Castes that tells the story of a father who abandoned his children, who later want to take their revenge on him; and the feature film 'Las cruces... poblado próximo by Rafael Rosal, who won the Pobreza Zero prize during last years Low-Budget Film Festival. It deals with the guerrilla struggle in the mountains of Guatemala during the 1980s.

The showing of these films in Spain will certainly favor the audiences response to two good fiction short films by two Spaniards: 'La maltratada historia de María -a rural conflict shot by Nacho Ruipérez Fernández that earned him the prize to the Best Short Film at the Gibara festival (2007) - and 'Hiyab, which was awarded the jurys special recognition during the 4th festival. Director Xavi Sala uses the Islamic veil that made young Fatima confront her professor as an indication of the huge dilemma of immigrants in the way to adhering to an alien culture.

Despite the fact that the filmmakers represent different geographical regions and use the most diverse styles, all these films have a common factor: the efficient use of state-of-the-art technologies to support productions with very few resources. These productions do not intend to meet Hollywood standards as an entertainment industry, but rather explore and reflect the complex, controversial realities of todays societies.

The 6th Low-Budget Film Festival is set for April 14th through the 20th, 2008 in Gibara.

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