LETTER FROM MANAGUAMy good friend Daniel del Solar writes:
First Ever Retrospective of Film and Video Opens in Managua
By Daniel del Solar
The opening of "Ten Years that Changed the World," a film festival lasting a week in four different venues around Managua and featuring films by and about Nicaragua, opened last night at Managua´s, and Nicaragua´s, most modern commercial film venue, the Alhambra. Largely composed of films and video´s that were made in the ten years following the demise of Nicaraguas Somoza dictatorship that had lasted 45 years, even the aisles were filled by those wishing to attend the Latin American premiere of Canadian filmmaker Peter Raymont´s film "The World Stopped Watching."
More detail of the Raymont film can be found at his website.
The standing room only audience on opening night consisted of a Nicaraguan film makers, representatives of the Spanish and Italian embassies, and regular Managua film buffs both young and old.
The opening night featured a second film produced by xyz describing the literacy campaign initiated in the early 1980´s by the new revolutionary government that had dedicated considerable portion of its meager post-revolutionary resources to counter the more than 50% illiteracy rate tolerated by the previous government. The campaign had literate people from the cities traveling to rural areas to teach people how to read.
Shot in Nicaragua in late 2002 and early 2003, THE WORLD STOPPED WATCHING is a sequel to the award winning documentary film "The World Is Watching" (1987) - a cinema verité examination of foreign news coverage of a climactic moment in the US-financed Contra war against Nicaragua’s revolutionary government
Afterwards, at a modest reception following the film showins, I ran into Susan Meiselas, Kay Stubbs, a hollywood actress who was in town visiting Giaconda Belli, and many other individuals. A good time was had by all. I will catch up with Kay, who had married Enoc, a Nicaraguan who had lived in exile in Washington DC. Enoc was killed on the last day of the conflict and I wrote a poem for him, and her, which Kay still has. I also was introduced to a number of nicaraguan film makers. I will be at the movie theater tomorrow mornng for the early showing at 10•30 am. and for the rest
of this week through next Thursday.
The exhibition of films is composed of works that will help the Nicaraguan people recover their history as many of the films have not been shown in NICARAGUA. 70% of the nicaraguans are younger than 30 years of age and so many do not have any clear idea of what happened in Nicaragua during or after the dictatorship.
More than 50 films will be shown in four different locations in the coming week and there will also be discussions about the role of film in the development and maintainace of Nicaraguan film industry.
Fundacion Lucierniga, the organizer of this major international film and video retrospective, was organized ten years ago. See cinenica.net >for all of the information about the film festival, including brief descriptions of the films and videos that will be shown.
Nicaragua, in addition to being a nation of young people, is also extremely poor so that of the one million children of school age in Nicaragua, only half can attend schools as there are no schools for them to attend. The current government that is ruling Nicaragua in a coalition with the Sandinistas, have no current viable plans to remedy this situation. As a result, illiteracy in Nicaragua, which had fallen to 25 percent in the years following the overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship, is currently above 50%.
A week from this coming Sunday is the big party for Managua, the fiesta of San Antonio, Saint Anthony, where there will be a number of home-made floats, the appearance of many mounted Nicaraguan cowboys on horses decorated with fine saddles, and much music and carrying on.
Water has been missing for five days from one of Nicaraguas principal cities, Granada situated at shoreline of Nicaragua´s largest lake, lake Nicaragua. The reason most of the city has had to make do with no water from the city supplies is that a pump has broken and it technicians have thus far been unable to repair it.
In other news of Nicaragua, the government has announced the planned
destruction of 333 SAM-7 anti-aircraft missiles as part of its aim to maintain good relations with Washington. The missiles have been assigned a cost of $20,000 each while informed sources say that such missiles can bring more than $200,000 each on the world market.
A previous consignment of SAM-7´s were also destroyed within the past year as part of a deal to sell several thousand AK-47´s to an arms dealer in Panama. The ship onto which these weapons had been loaded never landed in Panama but was found to have delivered the shipment of AK-47´s to a United Fruit Company dock in Colombia and the weapons were delivered to para-military forces in that country. These same forces have been accused of serious human rights violations, and the news of the final landing of the Nicaraguan arms in Colombia has not been explained by the Nicaraguans.
Considerable money exchanged hands, but the exact identity of the parties involved, other than the Nicaraguan military, has not been clarified.
Managua, Nicaragua, remains a key element of United States Government interest.
Daniel del Solar,Solarmedia
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