BBC News
Friday, 1 November, 2002

Spielberg to host Cuban film festival

               Top Hollywood director Steve Spielberg is travelling to the Cuba to host a festival of
               some of his biggest films, including the Cuban première of his most recent movie Minority

               Eight of his other films - including Saving Private Ryan, Raiders of the Lost Ark and
               Schindler's List - will be shown at four Havana theatres.

               "Steven Spielberg is a filmmaker whose work is well-known and widely admired in Cuba, by
               filmmakers and audiences alike," said Omar Gonzalez, president of the Cuban film institute.

               Cultural exchange

               Spielberg will also visit members of Cuba's 1500-strong Jewish community, as well as
               Cuban film-makers and a film-school set up by the Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

               He will be accompanied by his wife, actress Kate Capshaw.

               "Steven has always said that film is a universal creative medium that can reach out to people
               across national boundaries and cultures," said the director's spokesman Marvin Levy.

               After Cuban leader Fidel Castro took power in a coup in 1959, the US Government
               banned its citizens from visiting the Communist state, and US citizens have to get
               special dispensation to visit Cuba..

               Spielberg's visit has been given the go-ahead by the US Treasury Department because
               it is a non-commercial cultural exchange.

               Several other actors have visited the country in the past, including Robert Redford, the late
               Jack Lemmon and Kevin Costner.

               Last year, the Manic Street Preachers became the first major Western band to play a concert
               in Cuba; their Havana performance was even attended by Castro.