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Néstor Almendros Cuyás was a Spanish cinematographer who moved to Cuba at 18 years of age to join his father, who had been exiled there by the government of Francisco Franco. He studied in Rome at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, after which he directed six short films in Cuba and two in New York. After the Cuban Revolution of 1959, he returned to the island and made documentaries for the Castro government until two of his films were banned. He then moved to Paris and collaborated with French New Wave directors such as Éric Rohmer, François Truffaut, and Barbet Schroeder.
His first Hollywood movie was Days of Heaven (1978), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. He received Academy Award nominations for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), The Blue Lagoon (1980), and Sophie's Choice (1982).
He co-directed two documentaries about human rights in Cuba: Mauvaise Conduite/Improper Conduct (1984), about the persecution of gay people on the island, and Nadie escuchaba/Nobody Listened (1987), about the arrest, imprisonment, and torture of former revolutionaries who had worked with Fidel Castro. Human Rights Watch named an award after him called the Néstor Almendros Award for Courage in Filmmaking, which is given yearly at the organization's film festival.
Almendros died of AIDS-related complications in New York in 1992 at the age of 61.
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Jorge Ulla is a director and producer known for works such as Guaguasí (1983), Nadie escuchaba/Nobody Listened (1987), and Enchufe.tv (2011). He is a founding partner of the media company d expósito & Partners, active since 2005.
Ulla is the recipient of various accolades, including Clio, Addy, Telly, NY Film Festival, London Film Festival, and CINE Golden Eagle awards, as well as two Latin Grammy nominations and an Emmy.
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Preferred citation: Almendros & Ulla Collection, Cuban Heritage Collection, University of Miami Libraries, Coral Gables, Florida.