Closing Distances 3 Brought POV Executive Producer Simon Kilmurry to Cuba

The Americas Media Initiative organized andother groundbreaking U.S. documentary film tour; PBS’s award-winning documentary series POV toured Cuba for the first time, April 5 - 14, 2014

For the third year in a row, a U.S. documentary program toured Cuba. Closing Distances/Cerrando Distancias 3, took place April 5-14, 2014, brought Simon Kilmurry, Executive Producer of PBS’s award-winning POV (Point of View) television series, to Cuba. He did a presentation about several of the Latino films that have aired on POV and screened the new POV film GETTING BACK TO ABNORMAL. Alexandra Halkin, Director of the Americas Media Initiative (AMI), a non-profit that works with Cuban filmmakers, organized the tour. The Cuban organizational counterpart that provided the logistical support was the Young Directors Film Festival (Muestra Joven), based in Havana. The tour began with a presentation by Mr. Kilmurry at the Young Directors Festival and then Ms. Halkin and Mr. Kilmurry traveled to Pinar del Rio, where they screened GETTING BACK TO ABNORMAL and engaged in Q&A sessions with Cuban audiences.

In spring 2012 AMI launched its pioneering Closing Distances/Cerrando Distancias U.S. Documentary tour with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and was the first time that the MoMA did an official program in Cuba. Since then, the Closing Distances tours have screened six U.S. documentaries and engaged with Cuban audiences in Cienfuegos, Camaguey, Holguin, Bayamo, Guantanamo, Baracoa, the Sierra Maestra Mountains and Havana. Interviews and portions of the presentations have been broadcast on Cuban National Television, reaching millions of Cubans throughout the island. AMI is the only U.S. organization that Cuba has allowed to screen U.S. documentaries in the Cuban provinces.

Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and beginning its 27th season on PBS in 2014, POV is the longest-running independent documentary showcase on American television screening films from around the world. POV has presented more than 365 films to date. POV films have won every major film and broadcasting award, including 32 Emmys, 15 Peabody Awards, 12 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards®, the Prix Italia and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers Commitment to Diversity Award. POV has pioneered the art of outreach, using nonfiction media to build new communities in conversation about today’s most pressing social issues. 

Closing Distances/Cerrando Distancias 3 screenws GETTING BACK TO ABNORMAL, directed by Louis Alvarez, Andrew Kolker, Paul Stekler, and Peter Odabashian. New Orleans is the setting for the film, which serves up a provocative mix of race, corruption and politics to tell the story of the re-election campaign of Stacy Head, a white woman in a city council seat traditionally held by a black representative. Supported by her irrepressible African-American aide Barbara Lacen-Keller, Head polarizes the city. Featuring a cast of characters as colorful as the city itself, the film presents a New Orleans that outsiders rarely see. The film was an Official Selection of the 2013 SXSW Film Festival and is a co-production of ITVS. It will be broadcast on POV on July 14, 2014.

Simon Kilmurry oversees all of POV programs, including production and programming, POV digital, community engagement and development. He is also the executive producer of America ReFramed, a documentary series on the WORLD Channel. He has served on juries and panels at film festivals around the world including IDFA, Hot Docs, Visions du Reel, and Doc Aviv. Alexandra Halkin is a documentary filmmaker and Founding Director of AMI. Ms. Halkin, a Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellow, has been working on documentary projects in Cuba for over two decades. AMI focuses on the distribution of Cuban independent and community media in collaboration with Icarus Films in New York. Closing Distances/Cerrando Distancias 3 is funded in part by the Ford Foundation.