Documentary Summer School in Cuba

20 June 2016 - 15 July 2016

UCL Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Studies, in association with the Escuela International de Cine y Television (EICTV) in Cuba, are offering an intensive, hands-on Documentary Summer School in Cuba this summer.
The workshop will be held at the world-famous Escuela Internacional de Cine y Television (EICTV) which is situated just 30 miles outside Havana in San Antonio de los Baños. Founded in 1986 by Gabriel García Marquez, the International Film and Television School - known as a 'Vatican for Film-Makers' - is a world leader in the field of documentary film-making.


The course will be taught by one of the School's regular professors, Enrique Colina, who has been making innovative documentaries and films for over twenty years, gaining many international awards for his work.

He is also well known in Cuba as the host of an enormously popular TV show about cinema of the 1970s and 1980s called "24 x Segundo" (24 Times a Second). One of his recent films, Entre ciclones (Between Cyclones, 2003), was shown to great acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival. 

About the course

This intensive course has been specially devised in order to inspire participants to make their own documentary within the four-week period. Activities include:

  • Watching, analysing and discussing a selection of canonic documentaries in the mornings (in order better to comprehend the the genre and mechanics of the documentary form)
  • Filming in the afternoons and at weekends - in the first two weeks students will create five, individual 1-2 minute exercises, 'Self-portait', 'The protagonist', 'Conflict Within the Frame', 'Mood of a Place' and 'Stages of a Process'.
  • In weeks three and four,  students team up in groups of four or five in order to devise, create, script, film, and edit their own 8-10 minute documentary.
  • Filming takes place in Havana, and each group is provided with a producer, a cameraman, a sound technician and an editor, as well as transport to and from Havana.
  • Editing takes place in one of the EICTV's fully-equipped editing suites, with AVID or Final Cut. The documentaries are screened at the EICTV on the last Friday of the course.

Who is it open to?

The Summer School is open to English-speaking and Spanish-speaking students from anywhere in the world. Students who have taken this course in previous years - it has been running since 2006 - have come from the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Italy, the Ukraine, Russia, Portugal, Romania, United States, Israel, Canada, and Australia.

You might be currently studying for, or have graduated from, a degree in film studies, media studies, Hispanic/Latin American studies or other relevant areas. Or, alternatively, you might be a professional journalist or photographer wishing to expand your skills set. Students taking this course in the past have been all ages, ranging from 18 to 58. 

Please note:

  • You do not need to be a student from UCL to take this course.
  • You do not need practical experience in filmmaking to take this course.
  • You do not need to speak Spanish as translation is available.

Reputation and film screenings

An article in Times Higher Education has referred to the project organised between UCL and EICTV as making the "acclaimed Cuban film school" "even more culturally diverse and enriching": the atmosphere is "a mixture of warm conviviality and frenetic hard work".

  • One of the documentaries made at the 2014 UCL-EICTV summer course, "Walking Through Havana", won the Raindance Award for Best Documentary Short in 2015

Reality Bytes Independent Student Film Festival

Screened Gentle Men (made at the 2010 Summer School) on 6 April 2011

London International Documentary Festival

Screened Twilight (Crepusculo) on 18 May 2011

UCL Festival of the Moving Image

Screened a variety of films in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

London World Film Festival (LWFF)


This festival showcased two films about Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud when they lived in London in 1873.


Student documentaries showcased in 2011 were El cuentapropista (The Self-Made Man) and La libreta (The Ration Book). The LWFF also celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Fernando Meirelles's City of God.


Student documentaries showcased in 2010 were Nowhere Man, Crespusculo, Gentle Men, and Flush.