Collaboration agreement between Cuba and France for the conservation of the ICAIC Newsreel collection.
The restoration, digitalization and appreciation of the collection of the Noticiero ICAIC Latinoamericano (ICAIC Latin American Newsreels) - declared part of Cuba’s National Heritage and included in the Memory of the World Register of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2009 - is the objective of a cultural cooperation agreement signed between the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC) and the National Audiovisual Institute (INA) of France
Regarded as an unprecedented agreement between the two institutions, it was signed in Havana by Omar González, president of ICAIC, and Mathieu Gallet, president and CEO of INA.
Collaboration between these two important institutions will allow the restoration of the 35 mm copies and the digitalization in High Definition format of this significant Cuban audiovisual heritage. This agreement also ensures the joint utilization of digitized materials with benefits for both sides, although ICAIC retains its rights of heritage and ownership of the original Noticiero resources.
Composed of 1,490 weekly broadcasts produced and screened between 1960 and 1990, the Noticiero ICAIC Latinoamericano bore witness to major national and international events during the second half of the twentieth century. Directed by the late and great Cuban documentary maker Santiago Álvarez (1919-1998), the Noticiero became a school for Cuban and Latin American filmmakers, and a cultural phenomenon that aroused the interest of large audiences.
Following the signing of the important agreement, the representatives of both institutions met with reporters in the presence of relatives and collaborators of maestro Santiago Álvarez, as well as well-known figures of the world of culture and national cinema such as Alfredo Guevara and Julio García Espinosa.
The top representative of the Cuban film industry described the accord as “a gentlemen’s agreement.” He also acknowledged the security and value that the signed document, whose objective is to safeguard and collectivize the images captured by the Noticiero in various spots around the world, symbolizes for both institutions.
“This is about preserving for the future, in high definition, several very important moments in the history of humankind. There is no process from the 1960s and 1970s that has not been depicted in the Noticiero ICAIC,” said González.
In addition, the Cuban official made known that some of the topics contained in this collection deal with historical events linked to figures such as leader of the Revolution Fidel Castro, and Argentinean-Cuban guerrilla Ernesto “Che” Guevara. They also deal with cultural and political processes in Europe and Asia, as well as the wars against colonialism in Africa, and heroic deeds in Latin America. \"The reality of life in Cuba is also depicted with a critical and self-confident vision,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mathieu Gallet highlighted the merit of this work of universal scope and said he was very pleased to contribute - through the organization he heads - with the digitization of this collection.
“Although INA is a French institution, we feel a responsibility to help with the digitization of world heritage,” said the French director.
INA is recognized as the world\'s top repository of digital audiovisual archives and the appreciation of films. Since 1974, this French institution has focused on the collection and preservation of images and sounds that make up the collective historical memory, so as to share them with the widest possible audience. This is what makes them the present-day leader in technological innovation in this branch.
During the meeting, the president of ICAIC also stressed that the intention of ICAIC is to undertake similar experiences in the future with collections that bring together the works of other significant Cuban filmmakers, such as Tomás Gutierrez Alea and Humberto Solás.
Translated by Xelcis A. Presno
Revised by Susana Hurlich