Cuba on film: still from <em>I Am Cuba</em>

Cuba on film: still from I Am Cuba, screening at the Getty Center on June 11

What is “¡Sí Cuba! SoCal,” you ask? Well, it all started in New York this spring with a multi-venue festival celebrating Cuban culture, called ¡Sí Cuba!.

Then, coincidentally, several cultural institutions across Southern California, including we here at the Getty, realized we were all planning events about Cuba, too.  Since the events in Southern California begin at almost the same time the events in New York end (with just about a month’s overlap this May), we  decided to continue the celebration through the summer and give it a local name—and so ¡Sí Cuba! SoCal was born.

The festival, carried on to the West Coast, offers you lots of fun ways to explore the island nation through art, dance, film, music, and discussion. Besides the Getty, participants include the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, SPARC, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the Los Angeles Film Festival, and the Music Center in Los Angeles.

¡Sí Cuba! SoCal includes three exhibitions—featuring amazing hand-silkscreened film posters, political cartoons, and photographs documenting Cuba’s history; plus performances by the Ballet Nacionel de Cuba in Costa Mesa and L.A.; a film series with filmmaker Q&As; and a concert by the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club® at the Hollywood Bowl.

Here at the Getty, we’re offering A Revolutionary Project: Cuba from Walker Evans to Now (through October 2), which looks at three periods in the nation’s history as witnessed by photographers before, during, and after the 1959 Revolution.

Sol and Cuba, Old Havana / Alex Harris

Sol and Cuba, Old Havana, Looking North from Alberto Roja’s 1951 Plymouth, Havana, Alex Harris, negative, May 23, 1998; print, December 2007. The J. Paul Getty Museum. Gift of Michael and Jane Wilson, Wilson Centre for Photography. © Alex Harris

Plus, we’re putting on a free, four-film series on June 11 and 12, which examines both the beauty of Cuba and its people and the brutality of its political past. Included are four classics of direction and cinematography: Our Man in Havana (1960) directed by Carol Reed, I Am Cuba (1964) directed by Mikhail Kalatozov, Memories of Underdevelopment (1938) directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, and Lucia (1969) directed by Humberto Solas.

Cuba is in the air this summer! To learn more about what’s on, check out the event listings on

Si Cuba SoCal