LGBTQ PolitIcs and Gay Marriage

WHEN: March 1, 7:00 PM

Short documentary films of Afro-Cuban Queer filmmaker, Damián Sainz (all films in Spanish with English subtitles):

Close Up / 22 min. / 2009 / Documentary Short

Filmed on a normal Saturday night at the park on G Street in the Vedado neighborhood, downtown Havana. The park is an oasis for different kinds of youth identities, a place where they can be whatever they want to be. 

De Agua Dulce (From Fresh Water) / 15 min. / 2012 / Documentary Short

At sunset, Kinkin prepares to go fishing at the local river that passes through his town. Fishing is his night job but also his shelter. As night falls, the turbulence of the polluted river starts to reveal the deep connection between the water and the dark side of Kinkin’s past.

Homenaje (Homage) / 22 min. / 2013 / Documentary Short

Two women and a dead man. One of them was his wife for 30 years and the other his lover and work colleague. The threesome lived in a tiny apartment in apparent harmony. Nevertheless, the man’s death unleashes a silent battle between the two women to take control of the memory of the man who separates and connects them.

Batería (Bateria) / 16 min. / 2017 / Documentary Short

The ruins of an ancient military fortress outside Havana have become a clandestine gay cruising spot. The old walls and rubble give shelter not only to Cuban homosexuals, but also to a culture of resistance and socialization.

Director Damián Sainz will present his work, together with Norge Espinosa, LGBTQ activist, playwright and author. The discussion will focus on gender identity, LGBTQ politics and the present situation concerning the constitutional reform on gay marriage in Cuba.


BATERÍA Damián SainzHighRes.jpg

Damián Sainz graduated from the University of Arts, Havana, Cuba and from the Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV (EICTV), San Antonio de los Baños, with a degree in documentary direction. Sainz also studied at the Mel Oppenheim Film School in Montreal, and at the Cinema du Reel Department at HEAD Genève, Switzerland. He has worked as a director, editor and producer in documentary film in Cuba, Canada, Switzerland and Spain and has collaborated with visual arts projects like Galleria Continua, Ludwig Foundation and Citta de L’Arte as well as Stockmans Studio. His short documentary films focus on LGBTQ culture on the island and Cuban youth. His films have been selected and received awards in several international film festivals including Havana Film Festival, Fribourg, FICUNAM, Documenta Madrid, Morelia, among others. Sainz teaches documentary cinema at the EICTV in San Antonio de los Baños, The Ludwig Foundation in Cuba and at the Cinema Program of Altos de Chavón in Dominican Republic and has presented at conferences at Tulane University, UPenn, URI, Dartmouth College (USA) and UNAM (Mexico). Sainz also curates the Cineclub CUIR, an independent project that showcases afro-feminist queer films in Cuba. He lives and works as an independent filmmaker in Havana, Cuba.


Norge Espinosa Mendoza is a poet, critic and playwright. A graduate of the National School of Arts and the Superior Institute of Arts in Havana, Cuba, he has since worked with some of the most important Cuban arts organizations, such as Teatro El Público, Teatro de las Estaciones, Teatro Pálpito, among others. He has written several original plays including, Ícaros, 2010; La Virgencita de Bronce, 2004; Cintas de seda, 2007. He has published poetry books (Las breves tribulaciones, National Award of Poetry El Caimán Barbudo), essays (Escenarios que arden, Notas en Piñera) and plays for adults and children, winning some of the highest awards in Cuban theater and literature. His works have been translated to English, French, Bulgarian and other languages. As an activist with the Cuban LGBTQI community, Espinosa has been working since the ‘80s as a community organizer, as well as advocate, publishing and promoting his own work and the work of other queer Cuban artists. He organized the first ever Cuban event dedicated to Homoerotism in Cuban Arts (Jornadas de Arte Homoerótico, 1998-2000). His book, Cuerpos de un deseo diferente (2013) is a collection of his writings on this issue.

Read Mendoza’s article on Cuban theatre here.