Cuban filmmaker Alejandro Alonso triumphs at Vienna short film festival.

The audiovisual work "History is Written at Night" won the highest award at the Vienna Shorts International Festival in Austria, and is eligible for awards from the Academy of Hollywood, European cinema, BAFTA, and Austrian cinema.

Realizador cubano Alejandro Alonso © Cubanet
Cuban filmmaker Alejandro AlonsoPhoto © Cubanet

With the award for Best Short Film at the Vienna Shorts International Festival in Austria, Cuban filmmaker Alejandro Alonso rekindles the flame of independent cinema on the island and, in the process, sets the course towards the Oscars.

His work "History Is Written at Night" was honored this Sunday with the highest recognition of the event, which consists of a cash reward (5,000 euros) and the opportunity to be eligible for awards from the Academy of Hollywood, European cinema, BAFTA, and Austrian cinema.

"Congratulations to this team!", the text on the Facebook page of the independent production company Estudio ST - Servicios Audiovisuales referred in a cheerful tone, which celebrates this achievement among more than 300 films from 67 countries that made their way to Viennese theaters, while highlighting the Audience Award obtained at Documenta Madrid during its Spanish premiere.

Facebook screenshot/ST Studio - Audiovisual Services

"On one hand, Alejandro Alonso, and on the other hand, Sergio Fernández (@sergeborras), were fortunate to be in these cities to receive the awards. We hope to be able to upload images soon! Thanks to the festivals and to everyone who supported us on this journey," the publication stated.

He also highlighted the value of the film "amidst the darkness, which not only inhabits our movie, but has become a persistent and real fact in our island." And he added: "Knowing that festivals and audiences give relevance to a story so close and spiritual, which is at once a record, omen, and hope, is a gift of light."

The 21st edition of the competition was an extraordinary showcase for Alonso's proposal, whose Cuban-French production competed in the Fiction and Documentary category, reported the EFE agency.

According to the synopsis, the film presents a reality that is becoming increasingly prevalent in the Caribbean nation: a widespread blackout. In this case, it narrates how power outages have plunged Cuba into darkness, and "on the streets, the residents try to escape from the dimness while the fires of the bonfires seem to announce the end of an era. Sheltered inside our home, my mother tells me about a vision that has haunted her for years."

Premiered at the beginning of 2024 at the International Film Festival of Rotterdam, Netherlands, the short film started from the premise of filming a blackout in its purest form, without artificial lights, as described by its director in an interview with Cubanet.

Qualified by specialized critics as an "exquisite exercise in cinematic atmosphere," the short film "is made up of the accumulation of images that I have been archiving for almost five years. Even many of them are research material for other projects," Alonso pointed out.

In the production team of the play, whose journey includes stops at festivals in Greece, Italy, Spain, Brazil, and Colombia, among others, names such as Teresita Estrella, Daniela Muñoz, Boris Prieto, Lázaro Lemus, Daniel Alemán, Sergio Fernández Borrás, and Rafael Ramírez stand out.

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