Along with Colombia's iconic Nobel Prize for Literature winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro helped create the first film and TV school which supported Latin Americans in presenting the reality of the region's social issues on screen.
First inaugurated on Dec. 15, 1986, the International Film and Television School is located in San Antonio de Los Baños, western Cuba, about 30 km from Havana.
When Garcia Marquez, Argentine poet and filmaker Ferndando Birri and Cuban filmaker Julio Garcia Espinosa wanted to create a film school for students from Latin America, Africa, Asia, they had the full backing and support of Fidel.
Often referred to as the "School of All Words" by Cubans, the school works with the New Latin American Film Foundation and is today considered one of the top institutions of its kind in the region.
The school adopts a guiding principle of "learning by doing" and offers a number of workshops on various topics as well as a prestigious regular course of three years.
When it was founded in 1986, Birri, considered the father of the New Latin American Cinema movement, a trend from the 1960s committed to representing social conflict with revolution at the heart of its project, became the school's first director.
The institution is today funded by a mixture of the Cuban state, local and international donors, as well as agreements with other film institutions.
Now 30 years old, more than 800 film students from 50 countries have graduated from the school's main program while more than 10,000 have participated in international workshops.
The revolutionary leader and former President of Cuba Fidel Castro passed away Nov. 25 at the age of 90, leaving behind a rich cultural legacy after decades of funding and support for the arts.