The 22nd Havana Film Festival New York will award the twelfth Havana Star Prize for Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor/Actress; and the ninth Havana Star Prize for Best Documentary at the Festival’s Closing Night Ceremony, preceding the screening of LA HABANA DE FITO / FITO’S HAVANA.

The winners will be chosen by prominent members of the film industry and art world. Get to know them below!



Michelle Leigh Farrell is an associate professor of Spanish and Department Chair at Fairfield University where she teaches Latin American film, literature and both Spanish and Portuguese languages. In her research she focuses on the contemporary changes in film in Cuba, Venezuela, and Brazil through emerging cinemas and access to digital production. She explores how films are not only made but also how they reach audiences by analyzing the role of festivals in film distribution and her work in Cuba’s audiovisual phenomenon known as the paquete semanal. Her current research is a close look at the crossroads between independent digital filmmaking, and censorship. Complementing her research, Dr. Farrell is active in local film communities serving as a film juror for NYC and Boston-based film festivals including the Cinema Tropical Annual Film Awards, the Havana Film Festival NYC, the Americas Film Festival, and the Boston Latino International Film Festival, among others.


Flavio Florencio is a Mexican-Argentinian filmmaker. His work has been featured in a slew of prominent print, TV and online media including CNN, Huffpost, Indie Wire and Attitude Magazine. He was listed as a ‘Mexican Filmmaker on the Rise’ by the influential Hollywood trade, VARIETY. Florencio was recognized for his critically-acclaimed documentary feature debut Made in Bangkok. As a TV host, he directed and created a VICE series about the transgender community in Mexico. At the moment he is producing his first feature film set in the Dominican Republic.


Ana María Hernández (Ph.D., Comparative Literature, New York University) specializes in Caribbean and River Plate studies, fantastic literature, and interdisciplinary studies (art/music/literature and film). She is Professor of Latin American Literature and Culture at LaGuardia Community College, The City University of New York, where she directs the Latin American Studies and Spanish Translation programs. Since 2005 she has been a Fellow of the Cuba Project at the Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her publications have focused on Julio Cortázar, Horacio Quiroga, Julio Herrera y Reissig, Felisberto Hernández, Antonio Benítez Rojo, Nicolás Guillén and filmmaker Arturo Infante. s. She is a frequent contributor to Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas and has served on the juries for the Havana Film Festival in New York (HFFNY), The Americas Film Festival (TAFFNY), and the Latin American and Iberian Film Festival at Yale (LIFFY).


Winner of twelve NY Emmy® Awards,a Student Academy Award® (Oscar) and Two Telly Awards, Carmen Vidal is a Spanish-American filmmaker and TV producer. Her work has been exhibited in international film festivals, as well as the United Nations, ARTE TV, PBS, LeMonde.fr, and the MoMA. She works as a TV producer for the show "Nueva York" (CUNY TV), about Latinos in New York. She is the director of the feature documentaries EXILIOS (Spain/Mexico, 2020) and Retrats Spain/Mexico 2019). For Le Monde, she co-directed with journalist Marta Martínez the short documentary Tanzanie : un mariage entre femmes qui défie la tradition (2019) about Tanzanian women's difficult access to the land. Other highlights of her work include the short films El Eclipse, Slate, and 6 a.m.


Dr. María Guadalupe Arenillas

Dr. María Guadalupe Arenillas (Ph.D. University of Notre Dame) is a Professor at the University of Northern Michigan. She has written about documentary cinema, literature, and tsudies of memory in Latin America in national and international publications, including A Contracorriente: Revista de Estudios Latinoamericanos, Alba de América, Vanderbilt e-journal of Luso-Hispanic Studies, and Revista Cine Documental. She co-edited with Michael J. Lazzara, Latin American Documentary Film in the New Millennium (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) .During 2012-2018, Dr. Arenillas was the co-editor of the series Memory Politics and Transitional Justice (Palgrave Macmillan), and was responsible for the edition of six volumes on Latin American memory politics and transitional justice. Her current research focuses on Southern Patagonia in documentary film, especially the relationship between images of indigenous people, law, the State, and science and technology.


Iván Giroud graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Havana in 1981. He served as President of the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema of Havana from 2013 to July of 2022, before which he served as Artist Director from 1994 to 2010. From 2008-2010 he served as Director of Programming at the Buñuel Institute, Sala Berlanga of Madrid. He is currently the Director of La Revista Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano, and the author of the books: El pretexto de la memoria (Editorial Capital Intelectual, Buenos Aires, 2018) and La historia en un sobre amarillo: El cine en Cuba (1948-1964), (Ediciones Icaic, 2021). He has been invited to serve on the juries of several important film festivals in Europe, Latin America, and North America, including the San Sebastian Film Festival (1999), the Venice Biennale (2018), and Cannes Film Festival (2019).

Silvina Sterin Pensel

Silvina Sterin Pensel is an Argentine multiplatform journalist and documentary producer. She is the NY Correspondent for Radio France Internationale RFi en español, the Paris based public radio conglomerate. Ms. Sterin Pensel has more than twenty years of experience as a journalist and has worked in different roles, from producer to anchor in several news outlets. In 2003 she was part of the small team of seasoned reporters who founded NY1Noticias, the Hispanic sister to NY1, and has worked as a Correspondent for TV Azteca and Todo Noticias TN, the biggest Argentine 24-hour news network based in Buenos Aires. In addition, Ms. Sterin Pensel produces documentaries and she has worked in films for Discovery, National Geographic, the History Channel, Anima Films and Paramount+. She holds a Masters in Journalism from NYU and a degree in International Affairs from Universidad del Salvador, Argentina. She lives in Brooklyn with her family and can usually be found running around New York, her camera on one hand, her tripod on the other.