The Americas Media Initiative Presents: Elena

Saturday, November 8th, 7:30pm

The Americas Media Initiative Presents: Elena

Marcelo Martin, 43 mins, 2014

The new Cuban documentary Elena follows several residents in the “Elena” building, located in Central Havana, over a three-year period. Elena is one of the first contemporary investigative documentaries made in Cuba about a serious social problem that affects many Cubans.

Since 1988, following a decision by the government to demolish the bathrooms and kitchens of a wing of the building, the inhabitants of Elena still await the needed repairs. They are experiencing an alarming deterioration of their property along with the social degradation that has affected their daily life. Threatened by an imminent collapse of their building these residents are also victims of endless broken promises by the government. Some await a miracle while others have adapted to coexist with misery, where even death doesn’t scare them anymore.

Elena was filmed with a small “MiniDV” camera by director Marcelo Martin. Martin is part of the new generation of documentary filmmakers living in Cuba who are beginning to document the many serious issues facing Cuban society, with the intent to provoke discussion within Cuba.

Q&A with director Marcelo Martin.

Americas Media Initiative

Founded in 2010, Americas Media Initiative (AMI) is charting new territory using the power of film to give Cuban and U.S. citizens a better understanding of one another. AMI is presenting Cuban films by young filmmakers that speak directly to issues of concern for Cuban citizens. These films present a critical perspective that challenges many of the U.S. stereotypes around censorship and freedom of expression in Cuba.

AMI has consistently done groundbreaking work in Cuba; organizing tours of independently produced U.S. films in the provinces, engaging with Cuban audiences, and generating significant media coverage on Cuban television, in the press and on the Internet. In the U.S., AMI has facilitated four tours, bringing Cuban filmmakers to universities and community centers across the U.S. AMI also distributes DVDs of independently produced Cuban documentaries, animations and short fictions in collaboration with Icarus Films, New York.