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H. Belafonte & D. Glover Caused a Stir at Havana

Friday 20 December 2002

Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover at a Press Conference during the 24th edition of the Havana Film Festival (December 3 - 13) caused a stir when they delivered a strong critical message to Festival attendees, criticizing media censorship prevalent in the U.S.A as expressed their own anti-war feelings.

The American actors made use of their Conference platform to voice their strong opposal to all war waging against Iraq, now that a pacifist documentary is circulating in America, endorsed by leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.

Both heavily levied criticism against the US government, particularly against the way the Bush administration tends to justify the need for war and spewing of a war-mongering atmosphere which in their opinion, is intended to maintain a censorship over all discussion and activity reflecting any opposite view to government war-cry emotional pleas.

"Currently, the U.S. government, in a unilateral policy not shared by most Americans, is plying a belligerious sentiment upon the American public opinion, strengthened by memories of September 11, and thus stirring up fear and concern in the hearts of American citizens. Such emotion-provoking is used to advance imperialistic goals on the part of the States towards the rest of the world," opined Harry Belafonte.

He furthermore complained about the domination of communication media. by a handful of industrial concerns which result in an unequivocal body of mass information circulated worldwide. Belafonte was especially adament against CNN, which he claimed, has transformed itself from being an informative news channel into one of the most vociferous press organs responsible for `doctoring` news data into war letters to persuade the public for the need of war.

When asked about the opportunities for independent filmmaking in Hollywood, Danny Glover replied: "The very fact that we have been coming to the Havana Festival de Cine over the last 24 years demonstrates how impossible it is to produce an alternative kind of cinema in Hollywood. That is why, we should no longer talk about the possibility of making alternative cinema but rather, call it this cinema.

"Festivals like Havana give us American filmmakers a chance to get together and design this alternative filmmaking. We have no chance of support from Hollywood," Glover added, who praised Latin American cinema for its directors, who tell their own story, in their own language and in their own way.

"Americans who come to this Festival, and witness the scantiness of the system are amazed to see what comes out of it in spite of all and they can be inspired in their own works and how to make them," Glover concluded.

Belafonte then commented on the manipulative role of cinema, especially now, how it serves to expound war and felt that censorship presently excludes any form of possible differences in opinion, although once in a while, you can hear a little voice from somewhere that seems to come from someone living in a "blossoming democracy".

Helen Dobrensky,


Manager International Press Relations

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