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HBO pulls Stone doc from Tribeca

Cuba still represented by smuggled 'Dissident'

The fallout over Oliver Stone’s controversial Castro pic “Comandante” has now been extended to its upcoming screening at the Tribeca fest. HBO, which decided to drop the film last week from its broadcast schedule, asked Tribeca to similiarly drop the feature docu from the fest sked.

However, next month’s Gotham- based fest will screen a lesser known film, a Cuban doc with a very different view point.

“Dissident: Oswaldo Paya and the Varela Project,” a 20-minute documentary shot in Cuba and smuggled out of the country for international screening, recounts the story of the Havana-based free speech campaign group, headed by Oswaldo Paya Sardinas, a 2003 Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

Tribeca Film Festival director Peter Scarlet told Daily Variety that HBO, which controls the presentation rights to Oliver Stone’s “Comandante,” asked Scarlet to drop the film from the schedule, due to the concerns it had about the incompleteness of the film, in light of the current human rights situation. (Daily Variety, April 17). “Dissident,” the tale of the grass-roots pro-democracy movement, was shot in Cuba in August 2002, but presents a far different take on the current political strife in that country than Stone’s personable interviews with Castro during the same period.

“Dissident” is particularly well-timed with the current human rights struggles in Cuba. Some 42 of the 80 dissidents who have been jailed in Cuba in recent weeks are activists in the Varela Project with Paya.

“Dissident”, was produced by Heidi Ewing and screens at Tribeca May 9.

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