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Gloria Victoria Rolando Casamayor 
Artist's 1998 Statement of Purpose and Biography

My name is Gloria Victoria Rolando Casamayor and I am from Havana, Cuba. My video entitled "Un eterno presente: Oggún" is dedicated to the tradition of Yoruba singing and, especially, to the leading akpwon (singer) of Cuba, Lázaro Rós, a son of Oggún.

From the foot of a "ceiba" (holy tree), Lázaro tells us about the legend of Oggún, God of the metals, iron and of warfare. Due to Oggún's attachment to the modern world of industrialization, he is the deity of great belief among practitioners of "Regla de Ocha", the practice of Santería religion.

The story of Lázaro, the songs and dances, and the scenes of fiction, start weaving a drama where other "Orishas" (gods) related to Oggún begin appearing: Oshún (goddess of love), Oyá (goddess of the wind), Shangó (god of thunder and lightening), and so forth. Lázaro's interview takes us back to his first steps into the world of the Santería religion. These passages he refers to become an homage to those who have anonymously preserved the heritage of the African Yuruba religion in Cuba up to the present.

It is my belief that the men and women of Lázaro's generation and others much older, are the last bridge tying us to the Africa that gave birth to its roots in America since the time of slavery. In the future, I hope to continue with other chapters of the series "Afro Cuban Traditions", which began with this production of Oggún by Video America, S.A., located in Havana. My belief in this project relies on the fact that it is necessary not only to film the dances and songs, but also to reveal the essence of this culture. We must recognize that it contains legends and universal values that explain the world. My personal experience with Oggún demonstrates to me that this is possible.

I hope that the objectives of my work will be of interest to you.

Biographical Information and Résumé
revised 2002

I was born in Havana, Cuba, on April 4, 1953. I attended and completed my elementary studies at different schools in that city. I attended high school at the "Conservatorio Provincial de Música Amadeo Roldán" (Provincial Conservatory "Amadeo Roldan"), where I studied piano, music theory, harmony, music history, music composition, etc.

At the age of eighteen, I obtained my pre-university diploma with a major in Science and Literature and a minor in Music.

I immediately began intensive studies of the Humanities. In 1976, I completed my studies of Art History at the University of Havana and began working at "ICAIC" (the Cuban Institute of Art and Film Industry).

Post Graduate Studies:

1. Caribbean Literature (University of Havana). Final paper presented at the Scientific Conference of Social Sciences, held in February, 1987, "Emigration, a Recurring Theme in Caribbean Literature".

2. "Literature and Identity in the Caribbean" (Seminar sponsored by "Casa de las Americas"). Course work and paper entitled "Slavery", 1988.

FILM WORK

Documentaries (Director)

1. "Oggun: the Eternal Present," 1992, - opens with a recounting of the patakin (myths) of the Yoruba gods Oggun and Oshun. Interview with Lazaro, scenes from a toque (Yoruba ceremony) in Habana with members of the Conjunto Folklorico Nacional)

2. "My Footsteps in Baragua," 1996, - This film attempts to reveal the assimilation of British cultural patterns in Cuba due to the presence of immigrants from different British Caribbean Islands. The film also shows the native customs of the immigrants through their songs and dances. Research was done during the "Emancipation Celebrations" in Barrio Jamaiquino in the Cuban Province of Ciego de Avila, in August, 1987. The video was shot in 1996 in Baragua, Ciego de Avila.

3. "Eyes of the Rainbow," 1998, a film on Assata Shakur, the Black Panther and Black Liberation Army leader who took refuge in Cuba after years of struggles in the US. The film brings in AfroCuban culture, including the Orisha Oya, to show her context in Cuba, where she has lived for close to 20 years.

4. "El Alacrán" (the Scorpion), 1999, which deals with the carnaval in Havana and one comparsa especially, which was founded in 1908 and dedicated to Yemaya.

5. "Raices de Mi Corazon," 2000, a short feature which deals with the destruction of the Independents of Color.

6. "Los Marqueses de Atarés," her second documentary on a Havana comparsa, continuing Images of the Caribbean's effort to rescue and preserver AfroCuban culture.

Documentary Features (Script Writer)

1. "Tumba francesa" - Origins of French "tumba" (drum) societies in eastern Cuba. Festivals and dances of the slaves that were brought to Cuba by the French as a consequence of the eighteenth century Haitian revolution.

2. "Desarrollo pecuario" - Illustrates the development and advances of the cattle industry in Cuba since the revolution.

3. "Haití en la memoria" - (Original story) Testimonials of Haitian immigrants that see in Cuba a better standard of living and opportunities not available in their own country. This film also reveals the presence of Haitian culture as part of the Cuban national heritage.

4. "Tan sólo con la guitarra" - (Original story) The life of Argentinean Maria Luisa Anido, also known as "The Lady of the Guitar".

Narration of Short Documentaries

5. "Pintar con vidrio"

6. "A cielo abierto"

Note: The above six projects were directed by Santiago Villafuerte.

Other Projects ¾ Short Documentaries

1. "Winnie Mandela" - Homage to South African Women. Completed by Mayra Vilasis.

2. "Volver a la naturaleza: Obertura a cuatro manos" - The story of a group of artisans whose creative work comes from using natural materials. This documentary was directed by Santiago Villafuerte.

Proposals for Future Films

1. "Esa corta vida" - The life of Paquito Gonzalez, the hero kid, who died in the demonstration and funeral procession that accompanied Julio A. Mella's ashes, in 1993.

2. "Sarita ¾ With Her Image In Memory" (Story and script) - Dedicated to the first Cuban film director, Sara Gomez. This documentary will be about her life and involvement with the Cuban Revolution. Her life was very short because she died at the age of thirty one. In need of a producer.

Documentary Features (Script Writer, Researcher, and Assistant Director)

1. "Algo más que el mar de los piratas" - Film about cultural identity in the Caribbean directed by Bernabe Hernandez in collaboration with a team that filmed the CARIFIESTA 1976, Cuba.

With Director Rogelio Paris

2. "Algo más que una medalla" - Reflections on sports beginning with the Panamerican Games in 1982.

3. "Canto a la vida" - Documentary about the advancement of medicine in Cuba.

4. "La huella del hombre" - Documentary about the most important aspects of Cuban culture, such as roots and outlook.

With Director Santiago Alvarez

5. "Historia de una plaza"

Feature Films (Assistant Director)

1. "No hay sábado sin sol", directed by Manolo Herrera.
2. "Manuela", directed by Sergio Giral.
3. "Habanera", directed by Pasto Vega.

Other Documentaries (Researcher and Assistant Director)

1. "Islas sonantes", directed by Miguel Torres.
2. "Diario de una esperanza", directed by Miguel Torres.
3. "El camino del exilio", directed by Bernabe Hernandez.
4. "Latin Jazz o música cubana", directed by Bernabe Hernandez.
5. "Tercera edad", directed by Bernabe Hernandez.
6. "Semilla del hombre", directed by Rigoberto Lopez.
7. "El viaje más largo", directed by Rigoberto Lopez.
8. "Esta es mi alma", directed by Rigoberto Lopez.
9. "Mensajero de los dioses", directed by Rigoberto Lopez.
10. "Mamanee", directed by Orlando Rojas.
11. "Jau", directed by Enrique Colina.
12. "La soledad de los dioses", directed by Santiago Alvarez.
13. "Memorias para un reencuentro" (News Special) directed by Santiago Alvarez.
14. "1999" and "Signo de los nuevos tiempos", directed by Santiago Alvarez.
15. "Encuentro en la línea del frente", directed by Hector Veitia.
16. "Bacanao", directed by Melchor Casals.
17. "Emigración catalana a Cuba", directed by Rigoberto Lopez.
18. "Aquí y en cualquier parte", directed by Luis Felipe Bernaza.
19. "Hasta la reina Isabel", directed by Luis Felipe Bernaza.

 

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