Havanna, Cuba


Samuel Fischer Guest Professor

Fernando Pérez

Fernando Pérez is an internationally renowned filmmaker from Cuba. He was born in 1944 in Havanna. During his studies he began to work as a production assistant and translator at the Cuban Film Institute ICAIC (Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos) in 1962. Pérez wrote film reviews and lead cinema debates.

He completed his linguistic and literary studies at the University of Havanna in 1970. Afterwards he worked as an assistant director and furthermore as a Russian teacher. Pérez produced numerous documentaries before he made his first feature film in 1987. His two first films La Vida es Silbar (Life is to Whistle) and Suite Havana are considered milestones of the Cuban cinema and received numerous awards, including the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, the SIGNIS Award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, the Goya Award of the Spanish Film Academy and the Prize of the CICAE (Confédération Internationale des Cinemas d’Art et d’Essai) at the International Forum of the Berlinale. In addition to the awards he received for his work as a director and screenwriter, Fernando Pérez was honored with the Premio Casa de las Américas for his book Corresponsales de Guerra in 1982, in which he describes the struggle of young cineastes against the Somoza regime in Nicaragua. From 1993 to 1995 he was Academic Director of the International Academy of Film and Television in San Antonio de los Baños. In addition, he taught as a professor of film history at the Universidad de la Habana. Most recently, he published the film José Martí, El ojo del canario in 2010. Pérez is married to the German director Claudia von Alemann and lives in Havanna.

„It was my dream to create a film as if Magritte had painted his paintings in today’s Havanna.“

Fernando Pérez