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Women to Watch: Cuban Producer Ivonne Cotorruelo

Photo of Sydney Levine By Sydney Levine | Sydneys Buzz August 15, 2014 at 9:00AM

Ivonne Cortorruelo is a remarkably busy (and very happy) young producer epitomizing the energetic activities happening these days in Cuba.
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"Venecia" directed by Kiki Alvarez and produced by Ivonne Cotorruelo
"Venecia" directed by Kiki Alvarez and produced by Ivonne Cotorruelo

Ivonne Cortorruelo is a remarkably busy (and very happy) young producer epitomizing the energetic activities happening these days in Cuba. Only three years ago she was a participant in the Berlinale’s Talent Campus and attending EICTV, the international film school in Cuba which was founded by Gabriel Garcia Marquez with his Nobel Prize money on land donated by Cuba itself.

Now she is working non stop in Cuba a land of scarcity of goods but huge in spirit and positive energy as she prepares her fall travel.

Producer Ivonne Cortorruelo and director Kiki Álvarez
Marije van Woerden Producer Ivonne Cortorruelo and director Kiki Álvarez

Her feature film “Venecia” directed by Kiki Álvarez is premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival 2014. This is their Ivonne and Kiki’s feature together. Last year at the Havana Film Festival, Ivonne had three films in the fest. In Official Competition was Jirafas, the debut feature of director Kiki Álvarez. At the same festival, “ Venecia Kiki Álvarez’s second film was the prize winning film in Primera Copia which means it received sound post-production aid. “Venecia” was initially financed by crowdfunding and was paid for through Pay Pal. That is not easily accomplished in Cuba where internet is very difficult to say the least. “ Digna guerra” directed by Marcel Bertran was in the Documentary Official Competition.

"Jirafas" directed by Kiki Alvarez and produced by Ivonne Cotorruelo
"Jirafas" directed by Kiki Alvarez and produced by Ivonne Cotorruelo


Her other latest film, “Dark Glasses”, now in post, will be in Encuentros Cinergia in Costa Rica after Toronto. Espejuelos Oscuros (Dark Glasses) is the first feature of female directorJessica Rodriguez. It is the second time the two have worked together. Their short documentary, El mundo de Raul” was a festival favorite which won the SGAE prize in Spain. It was a product of their time together at EICTV. “Dark Glasses” covers four periods of Cuban history, the Mambistas in 1898, the 1950s fight against Batista, the 1970’s female leader of the workers and today. The contemporary story is about a blind woman who lives alone with her cat in a great mansion in the middle of nowhere. One night she is visited by a man who is fleeing and he attacks her. She tries to gain time by telling him stories of the past which she can infuse with desire, revenge and love. The actress, Laura de la Uz was nominated for the Best Actress Award at the first ever Platinum Prizes which was held in April in Panama to recognize the best of Iberoamerican cinema. The male lead is a very well known Cuban actor named Luis Alberto Garcia.

Ivonne Cotorruelo
Ivonne Cotorruelo

Her documentary “ The Belly of the Whale” (“El Vientre de la Belleina”) is participating in Doc Montevideo and has won prizes already at Doc Leipzig and Doc Buenos Aires. It also won a generous grant from the Tribeca Film Institute’s Latin America Media Arts Fund in 2014. “ El Vientre de la Belleina(“In the Belly of the Whale”) also received 4,000 Euros for research and development from the Bertha Fund (IDFA’s former Jan Vrijman Fund). She is now applying for an Ibermedia grant, and it will be in the Dominican Republic’s Encuentros.

Keep an eye on this woman; she is truly one to watch!

Ivonne Cotorruelo P: ivonne.eutrapelia [AT] gmail.com

This article is related to: Ivonne Cortorruelo , Cuba, Women in Film, Women to Watch , International, International Film, International Film Sales, International Film Business, International Film Festival, International Sales Agent

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