Diana Vargas during the inauguration of the 20th anniversary of Havana Film Festival New York. Photo Javier Castaño

By Diana Vargas, artistic director of HFFNY. 

In these 20 years of the Havana Film Festival NY and the 19 in which I have been part of this Latin American movie caravan that comes to NY every spring, we have lived as a kind of a traveler whose itinerary is always subject to changes. Every year, we take this journey accompanied by admirable, unpredictable and uncomfortable characters and plots, in which we know will lose ourselves and rediscover our own setbacks and amazements.  For their creativity and passion, I am always grateful to their creators: the  screenwriters, cinematographers, actors, producers, directors, musicians, distributors.

This year, we wanted to pay homage to the Cuban Fernando Pérez, who, like the authentic traveler he is, has never been afraid of getting lost; showing us new, unmapped territories where his characters, from Clandestinos up to Insumisas, have proven to be dear travel companions. Thank you, Fernando, my friend and ally. You do not need and ever will need a visa. You are already here. We dedicate this festival to you.

To Carole Rosenberg, thank you for giving me this ticket with many layovers. For your constancy and the wisdom to travel without labels. You, Carole, who as a truthful New Yorker has shown me how to understand that the world is and always will be made better by the mixing of cultures.

To Ivan Giroud and Luciano Castillo for always having a compass at hand to help me in case I am lost. To Gio, Samantha, and the whole “office”: Ivan, Lorena, Elsa, Erika, Pablo, Christian, America, Leo, Augie, Eleni, Lydia, Anita, Jimmy, Marcos, Sid, Marcela, Lili, Kyle, Michelle, Flavio and Martin for making a map that constantly finds a path to make things right.
To our sponsors, volunteers and audiences who have understood that Havana Film Festival New York has been an adventure born of that feeling of not wanting to be tourists, but rather to be more like travelers without borders.
I have learned firsthand that Latin American and Cuban filmmakers, and those who are not Latino but portray Latin America and Cuba through their images, are beyond awards and box-office success, they are, as we in this festival, committed to find stories that bring us closer, erasing borders and taking down walls.
Please remember: nobody needs a visa to be part of the Havana Film Festival New York.
I invite all of you to join us to travel with our cinema. Havana Film Festival New York just started! #ElCineNosUne.
See you at the movies.

Diana Vargas, artistic director of HFFNY