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Oct 99 Tour

Gloria Rolando

"Eyes of the Rainbow" - Assata Shakur and Oya

Interview in "Women," Havana

Biography, list of films

Contacting Gloria Rolando

Gloria Rolando: speech at
Black Women Writers and the Future Conference,
Oct '97, New York

Gloria Rolando's career spans over 20 years at ICAIC, the Cuban national film institute. She now also heads an independent film-making group, Imágenes del Caribe, based in Havana. Recently, she directed three documentaries that focus on African cultures in Cuba, all of which have English versions:

The following is a speech she gave at the Black Women Writers and the Future Conference in New York City, October 1997:

Holding Back the Tears

We are at the end of the 20th century, we have left behind us the bitter days of slavery and the nightmare of the plantation. The blood of our African ancestors was spilt time and again in those fields of cotton, sugar cane, and coffee which gave so many riches to today's world. Many women suffered the abuses of their masters.

Cruelty was the name of the philosophy that the Europeans spread over the lands of the American continent, without any exception: in Cuba, Columbia, Uruguay, Ecuador, the Caribbean islands. In all those places where the system of slavery was present, the men and women who came from the African continent had in common a long chain if sufferings. Families were torn apart, bonds of affection destroyed on the altar of a savage exploitation for an international trade which saw the African only as a rustic tool of labor.

Many of our ancestors shed their tears, but many others never shed theirs because they converted those tears into rage, into rebellion and history. This history which many times remains forgotten or distorted by a eurocentric bibliography is precisely our principal source of creativity as much for literary works as for the world of images. Oral literature, the personal histories of our people are the obligatory references to penetrate into this inexhaustible universe of the collective memory.

Those of us who work with the language of images, we know the value of testimony. Documentary film making holds this possibility so perhaps that is why I chose, for the moment, this means of expression to show with my documentaries stories which reveal chapters of the African Diaspora.

We have this responsibility, this task to capture these small pieces of our common history which many times we hold close by, for example in our own family circle. And we have the responsibility to exalt these values to seek that which is called identity and know our music, our culture, to prevent the youngest from losing themselves in the falsehoods of material values and cultural globalization.

That is part of our responsibility as women communicators. In this manner the tears held back by our ancestors can be shed, but in this case tears of joy that come from knowing that their energies have been transformed into sources that promote our creativity for the struggle in the present.

Gloria Rolando
New York, October 17, 1997
Black Women Writers and the Future

More information:

  1. A write up of "My Footsteps in Baragua." This video is available in English (the original production language) and Spanish.
  2. An interview with Gloria in "Mujeres" ("Women"), 1996, published in Havana. This describes the Oggun video, available with English subtitles, and a proposed film on Sara Gomez, noted AfroCuban movie maker.
  3. An introduction to the West Indian Welfare Center and its programs. This independent institution is located in the city of Guantanamo (not the US base!) and is charted to provide social and medical services among other activities. The Center recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and today includes many professional members.
  4. Gloria's write up on Eyes of the Rainbow, with Assata Shakur
  5. A Biographical Notice of Gloria Rolando with an extensive portfolio listing and a statement of purpose.

Anyone interested in having Gloria give a talk or show her films, please contact [replace _AT_ with @]

Contacting Gloria Rolando

When in Cuba, Gloria Rolando can be reached at home by phone at tel: 011 53 7 67.69.36 and by mail at:

Obispo #356, 3ra piso, apto 3
Entre Habana y Compostela
Habana, Cuba 10100

Contacting AfroCubaWeb

Electronic mail [replace _AT_ with @]

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