AMI organized Closing Distances 2, with US Filmmaker Minda Martin in Eastern Cuba, May  17 – 24, 2013

Burlington, VT – For the second time in less then one year, a U.S. documentary shorts program toured Cuba. Closing Distances/Cerrando Distancias 2 featured the films of U.S. filmmaker, Minda Martin. The tour was organized by Alexandra Halkin, Director of the Americas Media Initiative, a Burlington, VT based non-profit that works with Cuban filmmakers.  The Cuban organizational counterpart providing the logistical support was the Young Directors Film Festival (Muestra Joven) based in Havana. Ms. Halkin and Ms. Martin screened Martin’s films and engaged in Q&A sessions with Cuban audiences in the towns of Bayamo, San Pablo de Yao based in the Sierra Maestra Mountains, Guantanamo, and Baracoa.

Minda Martin is an award winning experimental documentary and narrative filmmaker. Her films, including The Long Distance Operator (2012), Free Land (2009), Monsoon St., ¹77 (2006), anda.k.a. Kathe (2000) have screened at international and competitive venues including the Locarno International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Vienna International Film Festival, Buenos Aires International Film Festival, among others.  

Closing Distances/Cerrando Distancias 2 presented two of Ms. Martin’s films, FREE LAND (2009) and Mother’s Heritage (1995). As a child, filmmaker Minda Martin's life was one of poverty, constant relocation and even homelessness. FREE LAND incorporates found footage, historical documents and personal interviews as she traces her family's history through the forced Cherokee relocation in the 1800s. What emerges is a challenging, heartbreaking and visually arresting documentary that draws unsettling parallels between land, history, Cherokee culture and American identity. Martin creates a unique cinematic landscape that conveys the trauma of displacement and the reality of poverty. Mother’s Heritage tells the story of Ms. Martin’s mother’s untimely death: she was accidentally shot by one of her brothers.  In her absence, her story is told through recollections of family members who discuss the many challenges she faced during her life.


Song written for us after we visited the Sierra Maestra Mountains on the Closing Distances 2 tour:

Band:   Quinteto Delirio. From Guisa, Bayamo, Cuba.
Song's title: Cerrando Distancia.     

'Cerrando Distancia' a song by Quinteto Delirio.
Written by: José Benito López Chávez



“Mujer norteamericana, Preciosa de alma, te pude ver aquí donde mis montañas 
siempre regalan aroma y miel.
Mujer norteamericana cerrando distancia has hecho bien.
Es que cerrar las distancias  es como llegar al sol.
Uniendo culturas sembramos amor.
No veo tan grande el mar, grande el espacio entre tu y yo
que impidan cerrar con lazos tus primaveras con mi canción.
Las vi mujeres cubanas norteamericanas, las vi reír.
Es que cerrar las distancias es como llegar al sol
uniendo culturas sembramos amor.