10th edition CIFF – 10-14 April 2024

Playing Lecuona (2017 Feature Film)

Pavel Giroud | Juan Manuel Villar Betancort | Spain, Colombia | 2015 | doc | color | DCP | 105 min | Spanish | e.s.

Cuban Latin-jazz pianist and composer Ernesto Lecuona left behind a rich musical inheritance some decades ago. Three Spanish-speaking contemporaries use stories and music to show how greatly the ‘Cuban Gershwin’ influenced their music. Homage to the legendary Lecuona, his work and the universal love of music we all share.

Musicians know no borders, but always bring their musical roots with them. This also applied to Cuban Ernesto Lecuona (1895-1963). This virtuoso composer and Latin-jazz pianist travelled the world, ending up in Spain. However, he remained one of Cuba’s most legendary musicians ever.

This musical documentary homage to the ‘Cuban Gershwin’ follows three contemporary pianists: Chucho Valdés, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Michel Camilo. They were all inspired by the phenomenal Lecuona. The documentary extensively portrays these equally virtuoso musicians elaborating on various themes that shaped them: Cuban musical history, instruments, various cultures and other musicians who speak the universal language of music. Their stories are interlarded with musical intermezzos ranging from Latin jazz and flamenco to classic jazz. The three musicians portrayed receive passionate support from colleagues including Ana Belén, Omara Portuondo, Raimundo Amador and Los Muñequitos de Matanzas.

Place: CINEMA 6

Date: 6 April 2017

Time: 21:15

Duration: 1:45

Place: CINEMA 2

Date: 7 April 2017

Time: 19:15

Duration: 1:12

Place: CINEMA 6

Date: 9 April 2017

Time: 21:00

Duration: 1:30

Year in



Pavel Giroud
Juan Manuel Villar Betancort


Santiago Torres Marrero




Ximena Alejandra Córdoba
Jose Jorge
Paula Iglesias
Pavel Giroud




105 min


Ernesto Lecuona


Juan Manuel Villar Betancort
Gervasio Iglesias
Gustavo Pazmín

Production Company

Insularia Creadores


DeAPlaneta International


Juan Manuel Villar Betancort
Pavel Giroud

Sound Design

Carlos Mas

Year of Production



Pavel GIROUD (1973, Cuba) lives and works in the Spanish capital Madrid. He is a filmmaker and screenwriter and started his career with video art, music videos and short commercials. Giroud’s feature debut La edad de la peseta/The Silly Age (2006) won multiple prizes. It was followed by various feature films and documentaries. El acompañante/The Companion (2016) was the Cuban Oscar entry for best foreign language film.

Juan Manuel VILLAR BETANCORT (Spain) worked as a TV producer and director for years. He also taught these subjects at various institutes. Since 2006 he has had his own production company that produces independent feature films and creative documentaries.



Pavel Giroud
(selection) Tres veces dos (2004), Esther Borja: Rapsodia de Cuba (2005, doc), La edad de la peseta/The Silly Age (2006), Manteca, mondongo y bacalao con pan (2007, tv doc), Omertá (2008), Playing Lecuona (2015, doc, co-dir), El acompañante /The Companion (2016)

Juan Manuel Villar Betancort
(selection) Colores (2008, doc), Transhavana (2008), Playing Lecuona (2015, doc, co-dir)