Francis Ford Coppola Visits Cuban Film School, Makes Pasta for Students

Read more

In 1986, a group of Latin American intellectuals came together to found a little school on a little island that would embody their vision of a radical, ethical Third World artistic education. Those intellectuals were Gabriel García Márquez, Fernando Birri, and Julio García Espinoza, among others; that island was Cuba; that school was the International Film and Television School (EICTV). And the world took note.

Over the years, world-famous filmmakers like George Lucas, Robert Redford, Steven Spielberg, Costa Gavras, and Asghar Farhadi have graced the EICTV’s small compound with their presence, leaving their marks both literally and figuratively on the school’s walls in the form of graffitied slogans. Yet, with all of these historical figures bestowing their blessing upon the school, one graffito in particular has emerged as a defining slogan for the spirit of Latin America’s preeminent anti-film school. In big red letters, it reads: “Art Never Sleeps -F. Coppola.”

That’s Francis Ford Coppola of course, who, since his first visit to the school in 1987, has become sort of a mythical figure in EICTV folklore – not in the least because of his famous home-cooked pasta dinners. And now, The Godfather is back in Cuba for a three-day residency. Over the course of this week, in addition to holding a series of extended, informal conversations with students, he will be watching thesis projects and finishing things off with an old-fashioned Italian-American pasta dinner for the whole school community.

In his first conversation with the student body earlier this week Coppola once again declared his love for the school, and admitted that in speaking with students, he becomes a student again himself. I’m sure he also doesn’t mind the sunshine and mojitos.

Here are some photos from the visit…

Coppola seated in front of a photo from the EICTV’s inauguration. Right to left: Fernando Birri, Fidel Castro, Gabriel García Márquez

Coppola is greeted by students at the school’s entrance.

Coppola fields questions from students in the EICTV’s Glauber Rocha auditorium.

Coppola discusses thesis projects with third-year students. Photo: Marco Santaniello.

Coppola treated the entire school to dinner, made using his own branded pasta, sauce, and wine.

Coppola and George Lucas on their first visit to the school in 1987.

Coppola’s graffiti on the walls of EICTV have become a defining slogan for the school.