Tagged: Michael Chanan

Havana Report (1986) documentary report on the 7th Havana Film Festival directed by Michael Chanan and Holly Aylett

A documentary report on the 7th Havana Film Festival, produced and directed by Michael Chanan and Holly Aylett, commissioned by Alan Fountain’s Independent Film and Video Department for the weekly Eleventh Hour slot on 30th June 1986 as part of the channel’s second season on New Cinema of Latin America. The festival focused on new Latin American Cinema and features a speech by Fidel Castro at the closing ceremony.


Michael Chanan – Salute to Fernando Birri

To mark Fernando Birri’s 90th birthday, Michael Chanan, documentarist, writer and contributor to the forthcoming book Marc Karlin-Look Again, recalls his first meeting with Birri. He also includes a film made with Marc Karlin Archive co-founder, Holly Aylett, on the Havana Film Festival broadcast on Channel 4 in the early 1980s.

Michael Chanan http://www.putneydebater.com   @PutneyDebater

There was something magical about the first time I met Fernando Birri, who celebrated his 90th birthday a few days ago. I had just arrived in Cuba for the first Havana Film Festival in 1979. Checking in to the Hotel Nacional in the late afternoon, I looked for a bar to quench my thirst, where I found this strange but very friendly figure—all the more mysterious in the dim light—with his long straggly beard and wearing the hat which I later discovered he never took off. I found out who he was—happily still is—over the following days. Three years later, he became a key figure in the documentary I made for Channel Four about the New Cinema movement in Latin America, of which Fernando is one of the founding figures. This portrait is drawn from those films (with a snippet—the short sequence with Fidel—taken from the film I made a couple of years later on the Havana Film Festival with Holly Aylett, also for Channel Four.) Enhorabuena, Fernando!