The Americas Media Initiative organizes ground breaking U.S. documentary film tour, the PBS series POV to tour Cuba for the first time, April 5 – 14, 2014
Burlington, VT – For the third time in less then one year, a U.S. documentary program will tour Cuba. Closing Distances/Cerrando Distancias 3 will bring POV Executive Director, Simon Kilmurry who will screen the POV film, Getting Back to Abnormal. Alexandra Halkin, Director of the Americas Media Initiative (AMI), a non-profit that works with Cuban filmmakers, organized the tour. The Cuban organizational counterpart providing the logistical support is the Young Directors Film Festival (Muestra Joven) based in Havana. The tour will begin with a presentation by Mr. Kilmurry at the Young Director’s Festival and then Ms. Halkin and Mr. Kilmurry will travel to the Isle of Youth, and Pinar del Rio where they will screen
In spring 2012 AMI launched its pioneering Closing Distances/Cerrando Distancias U.S. Documentary tour with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and was the first time that the MoMA did an official program in Cuba.
Since then the Closing Distances tours have screened six U.S. documentaries and engaged with Cuban audiences in Cienfuegos, Camaguey, Holguin, Bayamo, Guantanamo, Baracoa, the Sierra Maestra Mountains and Havana. Interviews and portions of the presentations have been broadcast on Cuban National Television, reaching millions of Cubans throughout the island. AMI is the only U.S. organization that Cuba has allowed to screen U.S. documentaries in the Cuban provinces.
Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and now in its 27th season on PBS in 2014, the award-winning POV is the longest-running showcase on American television to feature the work of today’s best independent documentary filmmakers from around the world. POV has brought more than 365 acclaimed documentaries to millions in the U.S. POV films have won every major film and broadcasting award, including 32 Emmys, 15 George Foster Peabody Awards, 10 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards® and the Prix Italia. Since 1988, POV has pioneered the art of presentation and outreach using independent nonfiction media to build new communities in conversation about today’s most pressing social issues.
Closing Distances/Cerrando Distancias 3 will screen Getting Back to Abnormal, directed by Louis Alvarez, Andrew Kolker, Paul Stekler, and Peter Odabashian. New Orleans’ long history of political dysfunction and complicated racial dynamics gets a new lease on life when Stacy Head, a polarizing white woman, wins a seat on the city council after Katrina. Four years later, she needs to get black votes to be re-elected. But will her record of blunt racial talk doom her chances? With its cast of only-in-New-Orleans characters, Getting Back to Abnormal is a provocative and amusing look at race in America, set against the backdrop of New Orleans’ rich culture. The film is part of the POV 2014 line-up and will be broadcast later this year.
Simon Kilmurry is the executive producer of POV, the long-running PBS showcase of independent documentaries. Mr. Kilmurry oversees all of POV programs, including production and programming, POV digital, community engagement and development. In addition to POV, he is the executive producer of America ReFramed, a documentary series on the WORLD Channel. He has served on juries and panels at film festivals around the world including IDFA, Hot Docs, Visions du Reel, and Doc Aviv. Alexandra Halkin is a documentary filmmaker and Founding Director of AMI. Ms. Halkin, a Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellow, has been working on documentary projects in Cuba for over two decades. AMI focuses on the distribution of Cuban independent and community media in collaboration with Icarus Films in New York. Closing Distances/Cerrando Distancias 3 is funded in part by the Ford Foundation.