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Cuban filmmaker to screen award-winning movie at ASU

still image from the film "Memories of Overdevelopment"
October 16, 2014

Acclaimed Cuban filmmaker Miguel Coyula will visit Arizona State University’s West campus Oct. 27-28 to interact with students and make public presentations. A highlight of the visit will be a screening of Coyula’s award-winning film “Memories of Overdevelopment (Memorias del Desarrollo)” on Oct. 28.

The film event begins at 6 p.m., with Coyula leading a discussion focusing on “50 Years of Cuba: Looking In, Looking Back.” The discussion will explore influences and scenes from other films that have marked Coyula as a director. “Memories of Overdevelopment” wil then be screened at 7 p.m. The discussion and screening will be held in the Kiva Lecture Hall at 4701 W. Thunderbird Road in Phoenix.

The public is also invited to hear Coyula address “Digital Audiovisual Grammar: Understanding Independent filmmaking as a One Man Crew” at 3 p.m., Oct. 27 in Second Stage West, in the lower level of the University Center Building.

The events are free and open to the public. Visitor parking on campus costs $2 per hour.

Coyula was born in Havana in 1977. He was part of a new wave of independent Cuban filmmakers working outside of the mainstream using digital technology on shoestring budgets. Early on, he came to the attention of the critics through his shorts, which garnered many awards at various Cuban film festivals. After graduating from the prestigious International Film School of San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba, in 1999, Coyula went to New York to study at the Strasberg Theater Institute and to direct his first feature, “Red Cockroaches.” The film gathered more than 20 awards.

For his second feature film, Coyula embarked on the challenging job of directing “Memorias del Desarrollo,” a follow-up to the Cuban film classic “Memorias del Subdesarrollo,” and also based on a new novel by Edmundo Desnoes. He received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in support of his work on the film.

“Memorias del Desarrollo” premiered at Sundance 2010 and has won 19 awards around the world. The International Film Guide chose it as the best Cuban film of the year. The film centers on an intellectual who leaves the Cuban Revolution and “underdevelopment” behind only to find himself at odds with the ambiguities of his new life in the “developed” world. It is a portrait of an alienated man, an outsider with no clear-cut politics or ideology – a stranger in a strange land struggling with old age, sexual desire and, ultimately, the impossibility for the individual to belong in any society.

“It’s an honor to bring such a talented filmmaker to campus, and we are pleased to offer the public the opportunity to meet Miguel and experience his work,” said Ilana Luna, assistant professor of Latin American studies in ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, the core college on the West campus. New College is sponsoring Coyula’s visit along with its academic programs in Latin American studies and interdisciplinary arts and performance, and Undergraduate Student Government on the West campus.

“Faculty members in a range of disciplines within New College’s School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies have collaborated to make this experience possible for our students and the community,” Luna said.

Details about other upcoming cultural and artistic events at ASU’s West campus may be found at