The Mexican documentary film Away from Meaning / Lejos del sentido by Olivia Luengas and the Peruvian fiction film Retablo by Álvaro Delgado Aparicio were the top winners at the 20th edition of the Havana Film Festival New York, taking home the Havana Star Prize for Best Documentary Film and Best Fiction Film respectively.
A poetic and personal portrait Away from Meaning takes the management of mental health out of the shadows. The film follows Liliana, the filmmaker’s sister, as she struggles with her borderline personality disorder, trying to be normal. When two of the best private mental institutions in Mexico closed down, Liliana has to fight her crisis at home, supported by her parents and closest friends.
Retablo, the debut feature by Álvaro Delgado follows Segundo Paucar, a 14 year old boy who wants to become a master story-box maker just like his father to carry on with the family legacy. On his way to a community celebration in the Andes, Segundo accidentally observes his father in a situation that shatters his whole world. Trapped in a chauvinistic environment, Segundo will try to deal in silence with all that is happening to him.
Other winners at the Havana Film Festival New York include Cuban Alejandro Gil for Best Director for Innocence, Ana Katz for Best Screenplay for Sueño Florianópolis / Florianópolis Dream and a Special Jury Mention in the fiction competition to the Cuban film The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste García / El extraordinario viaje de Celeste García by Arturo Infante.
The documentary films Councilwoman by Margo Guernsey and Las Cruces by Carlos Vásquez Méndez and Teresa Arredondo also received a Special Jury Mention in the non-fiction competition.
The 20th edition of the Havana Film Festival New York took place April 5-16 in New York City.