Negotiated Endurance: Rural Film Production and Improvised Cinema at Televisión Serrana
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Balaisis examines the importance of non-profit and transnational filmmaking in the late socialist period by examining films produced at Televisión Serrana, a rural media organization in eastern Cuba. He argues that the films and videos produced at TVS exemplify an ethos of making do in the face of technological and material scarcity, both in their means of production as well as in the stories that they document about rural Cuba. Balaisis draws particular attention to a 2001 documentary entitled Como por primera vez, which documents the continued “late” arrival of media and technology into rural parts of Cuba, and highlights the laborious efforts and on-the-fly repair work performed by mobile cinema projectionists. Balaisis situates these media practices within a discussion of postcolonial modernities, arguing that creative adaptation of media and technology is a way for Cubans to actively participate in global modernity, a modernity that is deferred and delayed largely as a result of the US embargo.