Helmer was part of New Latin American Cinema wave

Humberto Solas, one of Cuba’s brightest cinematic lights, died Sept. 17 at the age of 66 from cancer.

Considered one of the founders of the New Latin American Cinema wave, Solas is best known for his odes to Cuban women such as “Manuela” and “Cecilia.” He achieved international renown with his debut pic “Lucia” at the age of 27.

Solas also presided over the Gibara International Low Budget Film Festival (Festival Intl del Cine Pobre de Gibara) which he founded in 2003 in response to the economic difficulties assailing Cuba, following the demise of communism in Eastern Europe. Festival celebrated pics that were scant in financing but rich in conceptual ambition, among them pics he had helmed on digital video “Miel para Oshun” (2001) and “Barrio Cuba” (2005).

His death is a blow to the fest which also saw its infrastructure in the coastal village of Gibara destroyed by the recent hurricane Ike. Fest has now been renamed Festival Internacional del Cine Pobre de Humberto Solas.

He is survived by a sister.

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