We sat together in the sun-dappled courtyard of a magnificent Spanish colonial building, once a residence and now the headquarters of the Cuban Women’s Federation. Everyone who filtered through the garden waved and Lizette, in turn, attached an endearment to her responses: “Hello, my love!” “How are you, dear heart?”
Lizette Vila is all soul, a woman with the energy, personality — and the courage — to communicate her feelings and ideas despite the restrictions of stressful economic and political times. Along with being an award-winning documentary producer, Lizette produces a regular television interview program. With typical candor, Lizette tells us Cuban television is “a disaster” — a bare-bones operation because TV is not a high priority.
But despite the difficulties, Lizette knows this is the best way she can communicate her message: all women are stars. “Te lo Cuentan las Estrellas” (The Stars Will Tell You) is the name of her show, where any Cuban woman might be featured — from the outstanding artist Zaida Del Rio to Amelia Valdes, a cane cutter from Camagüey.
Lizette’s show “set” is comprised of two chairs on the porch of one of Cuba’s old marble mansions — and one mini-cam. Her cameraman is very overqualified. She describes with great respect his work covering wars and political events all over Central and South America.
Lizette is president of the Cuban Association of Cine, Radio and Television. She teaches workshops, judges film festivals all over the world, and represented her country at the International Women’s Conference in Beijing.
Her awards include the Cathedral Prize on the International Catholic Organization of film (O.C.I.C.) for her work, “Changing Lives”; the Ibero/American Prize in Ethics; the Women and Image Prize of Ecuador; the 26th of July Prize: and second prize at the Festival of Trieste for her documentary, “And Female is My Soul.”
From the Interview:
“I wanted to create an environment in which she was the star — the center of attention and the illuminator of her surroundings. I feel so happy because there is a sector of the Cuban audience that has accepted the show, and its concept, with warmth. It has served to give that light to those women who already had it, but no one saw it.”
“Humor is what has made us cope all these years. My God! The way we laugh about things! Cuban men and women live in terms of comedy, in those elements of laughter and sadness, and they complement each other.”
"Humor is what has made us cope all these years. My God! The way we laugh about things! Cuban men and women live in terms of comedy, in those elements of laughter and sadness, and they complement each other.”
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