About TV Serrana
If we look for community and participatory television in Cuba, we will find it in Granma Provence, right in the heart of the Sierra Maestra: its name is Television Serrana (TVS). TVS began as a project initiated by UNESCO with the collaboration of the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television (ICRT), the Cuban Government and the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP). TVS received its formal recognition by the Cuban Government on January 15, 1993. Since its founding, TVS has been collecting the voices and images of the farmers who inhabit the mountainous regions of far eastern Cuba, preserving the culture of these communities and connecting them to the broader cultural life of Cuba. To tell the story of TVS, it’s necessary to go back to those first days, when a group of youth traveled up to the town of San Pablo de Yao with documentary filmmaker Daniel Diez Castrillo to found what would be the first community and participatory television project in Cuba, and a unique project in Latin America. These youth were guided by the idea of an adventure, but a kind of adventure based in a certain reality. Before them was a path few had taken, they knew that first they had to gain the confidence of the Serranos and not to act like colonizers who would steal their images and then disappear. To achieve this, they took the first indispensable step: to live in the mountains with its people, sharing their joys and sorrows, their good times and bad, but always retaining the idea that they must give more then they would receive. So that, afterward, the work would be an honest reflection of this reality.
TV Serrana’s work is based in its commitment to the people of the Sierra Maestra. Their documentary productions speak to the community’s needs, beliefs, customs and identity. The documentaries form part of a collective vision, an aesthetic where community members are not just spectators, but also participants in the images and stories that are created. The object isn’t only intended to cultivate values, rescue identities, and help to find solutions to problems, but also to produce in the best way: with art. The art of creation at TVS functions as a process of cultural reaffirmation that has a positive impact on on the quality of life of everyone participating. In its 18 years, TVS has produced close to 500 documentaries. Many of them have received recognition and awards in national and international film festivals. These productions are broadcast on national television with a wide viewership. But the most important achievement of TVS is that today all of the filmmakers are children of farmers (trained at the Center for Study of Community Communication at TVS) where they continue to support this community television project deep in the Sierra Maestra mountains.