HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba’s Communist government on Thursday issued a decree legalizing the country’s independent movie industry in a move that should facilitate production, although critics said it fails to resolve issues of censorship and distribution.
Until now, Cuba’s independent filmmakers have had to scramble to get their projects made due to the lack of legal recognition. And while their works have sometimes won renown in film festivals abroad, they have lacked distribution at home.
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The government said on Thursday, however, that as of Aug. 23, a new law will “approve the figure of the audiovisual and cinematographic creator as an independent artist” and create a national film fund.
While Cuba’s movie industry welcomed the long-awaited news, many cautioned it remains to be seen how it will be implemented.
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“We’ve been waiting for this for many years,” Gustavo Arcos Fernández-Britto, a Cuban film critic and film studies professor in Havana, told Reuters. “This will not, however, resolve the issue of distribution, which remains controlled by the state.”
In a country that has been dominated by the state since the leftist revolution of 1959, it was long up to the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC) to produce and finance movies.
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But filmmakers began to make movies independently from the 1980s thanks to new technology like video cameras.
A majority of Cuba’s filmmakers now work outside of state institutions, saying it gives them more creative freedom and that they have been tolerated to...
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