HAVANA, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- The 40th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema kicked off here Thursday to feast the audience's eyes on over 400 movies, documentaries, short films and animations.
Among them, more than 300 films are from Latin American and Caribbean countries, in line with the yearly gala's purpose to encourage the work of Spanish language filmmakers.
This year, 20 fiction movies, 22 short and medium-length films, 25 documentaries and 26 animated motion pictures, among other categories will compete against each other.
"The movies demonstrate various aspects of the societies, countries, and cultures, and preserve our memories of struggles for social rights, against violence, racial and gender equality," said, Ivan Giroud, director of the film festival, which will run until Dec. 16.
He said that the event has changed significantly since its foundation in 1979 and that Latin America's film industries must develop over time.
Serbian director Emir Kusturica's documentary, "El Pepe, a supreme life," was screened at the opening ceremony. Kusturica is one of the few filmmakers who has twice won the Palme d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival.
Films such as "Roma," by Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron, and Japanese movie "A family affair," winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in France will also be shown.
Another highlight of the festival will be the debut in Cuba of the film "Yuli" by Spanish director Iciar Bollain, which tells the story of legendary Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta, who had been a leading figure of the Royal Ballet of London for over 10 years.