Fernando Pérez

Foto: Fernando Pérez © Fernando Pérez
© Fernando Pérez

Fernando Pérez Valdés is one of Cuba’s internationally most renowned filmmakers. Born in Havana in 1944, he (starting in 1962 and still during his studies) worked as production assistant and translator for the Cuban Film Institute ICAIC (Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos). Pérez wrote film critiques for, among others, the film journal Cine Cubano, and led debates about cinema. In 1970 he completed his studies in linguistics and literature at the University of Havana. After graduating he worked as a director’s assistant and a part-time teacher of Russian. Between 1974 and 1984, Pérez made over 20 documentary films and newsreels – such as Camilo (1982) about Camilo Cienfuegos, and Omara (1983) about Omara Portuono – before he made his feature film debut in 1987 with Clandestinos. After this he directed Hello Hemingway (1990) and Madagascar (1994).

His two next films, Life is to Whistle (La vida es silbar) from 1998 and Suite Habana from 2003 are considered milestones in Cuban cinema. Among the many awards bestowed upon these films are the Special Jury Award at Sundance Film Festival in 1999, the SIGNIS Award at the San Sebastián International Film Festival, the Best Spanish Language Foreign Film at Spain’s Goya Awards, as well as the prize of the C.I.C.A.E. (Confédération Internationale des Cinémas d’Art et d’Essai, The International Confederation of Art Cinemas) at the Forum of International Film at the Berlinale. In 2007, he directed Madrigal, dedicated to René Clair. In collaboration with José Martì, he made the movie El Ojo del Canario, a film about the Cuban freedom fighter José Martì, for which he in 2010 again received international acclaim.

In 2014 he directed a music video for the first time: He illustrated the song “Canción fácil” by the composer Marta Valdés, sung by Haydée Milanés [1].

In addition to the honors he has received for his activities as a movie director and scriptwriter, Fernando Pérez received the Premio Casa de las Américas for his book “Corresponsales de Guerra” in which he traces the battle led by young cineastes against the Somoza regime in Nicaragua. From 1993 to 1995, Fernando Pérez was the Academic Director of the International School for Film and Television (Spanish: Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión, EICTV) at San Antonio de los Baños. Furthermore, he was professor for film history at the Universidad de la Habana. In the winter term of 2006/2007, Pérez was Samuel Fischer Guest Professor at the Peter Szondi Institute of the Freie Universität in Berlin.

He is married to the German film director Claudia von Alemann and lives in Havana.

Events spring term 2016


Fernando Pérez, film-maker, Cuba

Date: wednesdays
Time: 2:15 – 3:45 pm
Location: Universität Bern, Unitobler, F007
Languages: Spanish and French


Kick-off event

Fernando Pérez, film-maker, Cuba

Date: March 9, 2016
Time: 8:00 – 10:00 pm
Location: Kino REX Bern, Schwanengasse 9, 3008 Bern

Kick-off Event