Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute

Tulane University

Yan Vega, Film Screening and Q&A

November 5th, 2018

100A Jones Hall, Greenleaf Conference Room

Yan Vega is a Cuban film director and editor. After graduating from Cuba‘€™s arts university, the ISA, and Cuba‘€™s international film school, the EICTV, he lived and worked for several years in Paris, France, where he directed the award-winning Memorias de una familia cubana (Memories of a Cuban Family; 2007; 15 min.). While residing between Havana and Miami, he edited Carlos Machado Quintela‘€™s second and third feature films, La obra del siglo (The Project of the Century; 2015; 100min.), and Los lobos del este (The Wolves of the East; 2016). Vega currently lives in New York, where he continues to work in filmmaking, including editing a documentary about the history of the South Korean community in Cuba.

Memorias de una familia cubana uses Yan Vega‘€™s own personal family album to recount the story of a fictional Cuban family in the Revolution. Paying homage to and inspired by the work of French filmmakers Agnès Varda and Chris Marker, both of whom made documentaries in Cuba in the 1960s, as well as to the work of Cuban greats such as experimental documentarist Santiago Álvarez, this short film mobilizes archival footage and montage techniques to describe an uncertain present. It demonstrates the importance of taking the filmmaking of the diaspora into account in order to understand Cuban cinema and its role in reflecting the politics, history, and the present of the Cuban nation.

Directed by Carlos Machado Quintela, La obra del siglo tells the story of three generations of Cuban men living together in the Ciudad Electro Nuclear or CEN (Electro-Nuclear City), a city that was constructed to house the Soviet and Cuban workers recruited to take part in an ambitious plan to build two nuclear reactors in Cuba. Work on the nuclear reactors began in 1983 but was interrupted following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Combining fiction with found footage drawn from a recovered archive shot in the CEN in the 1980s, La obra del siglo contemplates Cuba‘€™s lost dreams of modernity.

Following the film screenings, Vega will take questions and talk about independent Cuban filmmaking and working as a Cuban artist in the diaspora. This free event is open to anyone with curiosity about Cuba, its art and its politics, or with questions about experimental filmmaking and the use of found footage, archival images, and montage techniques in contemporary cinema. Sponsored by CCSI and the Department of Communication.