Sun, 29 Nov 2020

HAVANA, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Havana will kick off its 42nd International Festival of New Latin American Cinema on Dec. 3 under strict anti-pandemic protocols, event personnel told a press conference on Thursday.

The festival will screen more than 90 films from about 20 countries, including Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, in the first part of the event, which will last until Dec. 13, said festival president Ivan Giroud.

Stressing the irreplaceability of cinema-going against the backdrop of rising digitalisation and the new challenge of the COVID-19 crisis, Giroud said, "we are open to the digital world, but the social and cultural experience of watching a film at cinemas cannot be replaced."

Screenings will take place indoors at five movie theatres in Havana's entertainment district, Giroud said.

To minimize the risk of COVID-19 contagion during movie premieres at the oldest film festival in Latin America, strict safety measures will be put in place. For example, audience will be asked to wear face masks, observe social distancing and provided with disinfectant solutions before film screenings.

Yumey Besu, director of the event, said that movie theaters will operate at less than 30 percent capacity, and steps have been taken to avoid long lines and massive gatherings.

"We have enhanced measures so there is enough time to properly disinfect auditoriums between screenings," he said. "To protect people's health is our paramount priority."

Cuba reopened movie theaters in early October after they had been closed to the public in March, when the pandemic started to wreak havoc in the Caribbean nation.

Cuba has so far reported 7,639 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 131 deaths.

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