Filmmaker, screenwriter, professor, journalist, newscaster, critic, and actor across all media, the illustrious Enrique Pineda Barnet was a published poet and novelist who also wrote for theater, dance and music. He was born in Havana, Cuba on October 28th, 1933 and passed away January 12, 2021 at the age of 87.
From an early age, he was active in many artistic disciplines, receiving prestigious national and international awards including Premio Nacional de Literatura Hernández Catá (1953) and Cuba’s Festival de la Canción. Pineda Barnet had written for numerous films, video projects, ballets, and other media. Work in this field includes his collaboration with the Russian poet Evgueni Evtushenko on the screenplay for Mijail Kalatozov’s Soy Cuba; he also collaborated with Franco Solinas on the screenplay for Gillo Pontecorvo’s Quemada. He was renowned internationally, having served as a juror and speaker at various film events in Latin America, Europe and Arabic countries — and having taught, lectured, workshopped, published books and shown films in universities and cultural institutions in 47 countries and five continents.
Over the course of his lifetime, Pineda Barnet was awarded gold and silver medals from the Asociación de Anunciantes Cuba (from 1954 to 1958), the Medalla por Cultural Internacional, the Universidad de La Habana’s Jose Manuel Valdés Rodríguez Medal, and in 2006, the Premio Nacional de Cine. He founded the Sociedad Cultural Nuestro Tiempo, the legendary Teatro Estudio, Escuela Profesional de Publicidad, and La Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (UNEAC). A
His filmography began in 1961 and includes over 25 titles. His two most emblematic works are Giselle (1963), often cited as one of the best ballet films ever made, and Beauty of the Alhambra (1989), inspired by Miguel Barnet’s novel Cancion de Rachel. The latter film boasts having been the best attended film premiere in Cuba’s history; in Cuban theaters alone, the film has pulled in more than two million five hundred thousand spectators. Beauty of the Alhambra (1989), the story of a Cuban cabaret star, the history of this theater genre and the history of the pseudo-republic, received the 1990 Goya Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Spain, the Mano de Bronze award at the Latino Festival of New York, the Premio Pitirre at Festival Cinemafest in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was an Oscar contender in 1991 for Best Foreign Film.