Amir Aether Valen

motion picture writer, director & photographer

Film Demo Reel • Amir Aether Valen

Undoubtedly, one of the most formative periods of my life had been living in Cuba. Life influenced my films, and films influenced my life.
I see myself in every person represented in these films. I see myself in every blade of grass, every drop of water, and in every ray of light.
Take a look at who I was from 2017-2020, in this demo reel of works I have had the blessed opportunity to direct and/or photograph.

my name is


I am a creative professional who works primarily
within the non-fiction format of storytelling.

as an audiovisual storyteller

I like to explore the mirrors to man’s being we find in nature, and reflect on the psychospiritual nature of the self through poetic, meditative, and contemplative pictures that follow human relationships with both their internal and external worlds.I delve into the spectrum of human experiences based on a person’s physical, mental, and spiritual selves, but I like to traverse these experiences both literally and metaphorically in relation to the natural world in which we live.

as a commercial artist

I assist growing businesses in expressing their truths and expanding their brand awareness with audiovisual digital content that I can provide, or facilitate in the creation of.Interested?I recommend visiting my profile on Behance to see the full portfolios of my commercial work.Feel free to connect with me if you believe we can create something beautiful together.

The journey begins

In 2012 I made my first short film with a couple of friends at Presentation College Chaguanas to participate in the Trinidad+Tobago Secondary Schools Film Festival. The short film won the People's Choice Award, and with that experience I began my journey of development as a filmmaker.

and into the light we go

While studying at the University of the West Indies (UWI), my student film Who I Say I Am won the Best Trinidad & Tobago Short Documentary Film Award, as well as the United Nations Award for Best Emerging Documentary Filmmaker, at the Trinidad+Tobago Film Festival in 2016.

answering the call

In 2017 I was chosen from among 215 applicants in 24 countries to be a part of the 27th Generation of students at Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión (EICTV) in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba; where I completed the Curso Regular programme of 3 years, specializing in the field of Documentary Film Direction. I was 1 of 8 students to have been granted a scholarship provided by the Cuomo Foundation of Monaco to fund my tuition.In 2023 I was selected out of 820 applicants to be 1 of the 33 participants of the 15th edition of Talents Guadalajara - being 1 of the 4 participants selected for the Directing Studio.

and bearing witness to growth

I have made several short films across Cuba, including The Whisper of the Leaves which had its world premiere at the Academy Award-qualifying film festival Sheffield DocFest in 2021, and While the Night Falls which had its world premiere at the True/False Film Festival in 2023. My work has been screened internationally at numerous international film festivals and programs such as the Daimon Muestra de Cine, Third Horizon Film Festival, Vancouver Latin American Film Festival and many more, as well as cultural institutions like the Pérez Art Museum of Miami, Olympic College and the Northwest International Education Association.

as we hold fast to the present

I'm a former education facilitator of the Living Water Community's Ministry for Migrants and Refugees, and I'm currently a lecturer at the University of the West Indies where I deliver the Cinemas of Latin America course. I also teach martial arts and produce commercial creative content through my production company, Elements of Mental Zen Productions Ltd.


filmography as director

2022 . While The Night Falls . Cuba . 18 min
2020 . The Whisper of the Leaves . Cuba . 16 min
2019 . Floating in the River of Time . Cuba . 14 min
2018 . Pick Up the Wind . Cuba . 14 min
2017-2020 . EICTV Student Films . Cuba2016 . Who I Say I Am . Trinidad & Tobago . 33 min

News & Press

• • • 2023 • • •

A Season of Caribbean Cinema part 2 | Pérez Art Museum of Miami

Featuring The Whisper of the Leaves at Miami's flagship museum of contemporary art - the Pérez Art Museum of Miami. Presented by PAMM's Caribbean Cultural Institute (CCI) and the Third Horizon Film Festival. The film also became a part of PAMM TV, the museum's streaming station for specially curated video art.31. August. 2023 | read more 📜 | pamm tv 📺

Directing Studio | Talents Guadalajara

Talents Guadalajara is an intensive developmental lab of advanced cinematographic improvement activities for professional filmmakers from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Of 820 applicants this year, 33 persons from around the world were selected to be a part of this 15th edition.03 - 09. June. 2023 | read more 📜

• • • 2022 • • •

Lounging with Ricky | TV Jaagriti

Television Interview with Amir Aether Valen hosted by Ricky Ramlogan for TV Jaagriti.30. October. 2022 | look at interview 🎤

Filmmaker Q&A | Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival

Q&A Session about Floating in the River of Time at the Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival.22. september. 2022

Discussion about Caribbean Cinema with Karukerament

Podcast moderated by Maëlla Kancel for Karukerament - a Caribbean podcast from Guadeloupe about the representation of the Caribbean in cinema, literature and music. In collaboration with Conch Shell International Film Festival.27. august. 2022 | listen to podcast 🎤

Virtual Lunch & Learn hosted by the NIEA

Film Screening and Q&A Session about Who I Say I Am facilitated by Heather Lukashin. Presented for the educators, lecturers and faculty members of the Northwest International Education Association - a consortium of 14 colleges across the Pacific Northwest, United States.28. february. 2022 | look at q&a session 🎤

• • • 2021 • • •

International Education Week at Olympic College

Film Screening and Q&A Session about Who I Say I Am facilitated by Hideko Lyle. Presented to the students and faculty members during International Education Week at Olympic College, Washington State, United States.21. november. 2021

The Poetry of the Little Things - Towards a Caribbean Avant-garde Cinema | Dok Leipzig

Podcast moderated by Jonathon Ali for DOK Leipzig International Film Festival in collaboration with DOK Industry, What's Up with Docs Podcast & Programmers of Colour Collective (POC2).8. october. 2021 | read more 📜 or listen to podcast 🎤

Filmmaker Q&A | Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival

Q&A Session about Pick Up The Wind facilitated by Samara Lallo for the Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival.27. september. 2021 | look at q&a session 🎤

Charla con Cineastas | Daimon Muestra de Cine

Q&A Session about Floating in the River of Time facilitated by Bianca Ashanti González for the second edition of Daimon Muestra de Cine - a compendium of national and international films streaming by way of the IMCINE film streaming platform FilminLatino.10. july. 2021 | look at q&a session 🎤

People, Places - Filmmaker Q&A | Third Horizon Film Festival

Q&A Session about The Whisper of the Leaves facilitated by Jonathan Ali for the Third Horizon Film Festival.27. june. 2021 | look at q&a session 🎤

Crossing Borders - Conversation and Q&A | ttff & UNHCR

Virtual Discussion with Carlos Sandoval Garcia and Amanda Choo Quan facilitated by Amir Aether Valen for the Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival as part of ttff's #WatchAMovieOnUs human rights edition with the support of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.20. june. 2021 | look at virtual discussion 🎤

Image & Memory - Filmmaker Q&A | Sheffield Doc Fest

Q&A Session about The Whisper of the Leaves facilitated by Jonathon Ali for Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival.7. june. 2021 | look at q&a session 🎤

• • • 2020 • • •

Dialogue with Directors in Competition | Vancouver Latin American Film Festival

Q&A Session about Floating in the River of Time facilitated by Christian Valenzuela for Vancouver Latin American Film Festival.2. september. 2020 | look at q&a session 🎤

• • • 2017 • • •

The Personal Work, The Public Worker
Filmmaker Reinvents Himself

Newspaper Article
Personal profile about Amir Aether Valen
written by Joel Henry for UWI Today / Trinidad and Tobago Guardian
10. september. 2017 | read more 📜

• • • 2016 • • •

UWI Student Film Wins Big @
Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival

read more 📜

Mientras Anochece

While The Night Falls

| spanish / non-fiction / cuba / 2023 / 18 minutes

While The Night Falls (Mientras Anochece) is an intimate portrait of the lives of Delvys and Carlos, siblings who live alone with their elderly mother in a rural part of a small Cuban town. The film portrays a family engulfed in their inner worlds. Between the sacrifices they make out of love for those who are present, and their longing for things that are absent, they struggle to find meaning as they reflect, contemplate, and carry the weight of existence, trying together, to move forward.

featuring • Carlos Escalona Ruiz, Delvys Escalona Ruiz, and Jacinta Ruiz Hernández

writing & direction • Amir Aether Valen
production • Dany Celeiro Rodríguez
cinematography • Amanda Cots Martínez
sound recording • Andrea Sáenz Pereiro & Marisol Cao Milán
sound design & mix • Marisol Cao Milán
5.1 sound mix • Victor Jaramillo
editing • Angel Suárez Avila
production management • Yenisleidi Vásquez Capote
executive production • Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión (EICTV)

About The Project

This film was my thesis project - my final project at Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión (EICTV). It was shot at a small neighbourhood right next my school in San Antonio de los Baños, Artemisa, Cuba.

Director's Statement

During my inner search for the idea of this film, my thesis film at Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión in Cuba, I thought a lot about the bittersweet feeling brought unto me by the transience of time. Order and stability attract me, and entropy - the constant and inevitable movement of the universe from order to chaos - frustrates me. This connects me to my own insecurities; the anguish of instability that arises from our constant movement through space and time, and the insecurity brought unto us by the impermanence that comes from attachment to fleeting moments, and people. These feelings were already present within me, and had been for a long time. However, within the context of my life at that point in time in 2020, those feelings were magnified.

I had been developing a very personal passion project for months with a subject that I cared deeply about. Set within the Planetarium of Havana and a Children's Home in a small rural town with an orphan baby boy as my protagonist, the story that I wanted to bookend my 3-year stay in Cuba was the best gift I felt that I could leave behind for so many persons who had loved and cared for me so deeply during my time there. But the fates would not allow this to see the light. The arrival of Covid-19 brought about an abrupt end to all of my aspirations, and ended my contact in every way with so many persons who I was not ready to lose contact with in Cuba.

The pandemic brought a wave of frustration, panic and anxiety unto all of us, especially amongst my crew with family in Italy and Spain, who had been directly affected by the virus. But the virus was not the only issue. The baby boy who was set to be my protagonist got sick with an unrelated illness a week before production was set to take place, which of course could not be delayed because of the pandemic. Within that week, projects after projects were being scrambled to put together, and one by one they all failed, for varying reasons. All that I knew for that long week was failure, and all that I felt was hopelessness, despair, and the uneasiness and anxiety brought about by the unpredictability of Covid-19 in Cuba, and the world.

Charged with these heavy thoughts and feelings, I found myself connected to a woman I encountered in that week who lived with her mother and brother in a small rural village right next to my home, my school in Cuba. Her grief over the loss of her deceased husband made me feel connected to her, as it resembled the grief that I had been feeling for lost projects, lost opportunities, and soon to be lost people in my life. I identified with her yearning and nostalgia for the moments she shared with her distant son and her late husband, as it was a reflection of my own nostalgia for the moments I had shared with my own distant family, and yearning for the moments that I knew would never come again, as my time in Cuba had been abruptly cut.

The sacrifice, indomitable will, and responsibility that she imposed onto herself to take care of both herself and her loved ones inspired me, because these were characteristics that I needed to have at that point in my life. Shrouded in insecurities, anguish, frustration, loss, loneliness, amongst other problems, she kept her inner light lit, just so that she can care for her others dear to her, who had also been suffering in their own ways. Bound by love, she did not allow herself to become a victim or be engulfed by all of the despair that surrounded her. Her human spirit motivated me, and my crew, to move forward. And so, I decided to stay with her for this process, my last film in Cuba, as we collectively shared in each other's feelings, and tried to show the world that we are not alone in this existential angst.


True/False Film Festival / shorts: serotonin / columbus, missouri, united states. march 2023

El Susurro de las Hojas

The Whisper of the Leaves

| spanish / non-fiction / cuba / 2021 / 16 minutes

The Whisper of the Leaves (El Susurro de las Hojas) is a poetic and contemplative journey of harmony between different forms of life that coexist on the earth. This film is a meditation on the effect of time, movement of the human spirit, and passage to new forms of life, through the eyes, ears, and bodies of three elderly land workers living in a small community in the outskirts of Bauta, Cuba.

featuring • Beneranda Zarabaza Cordero, David Truel Romero, Isidro Pérez Almaguer, and Jesús Rodríguez Torres

writing & direction • Amir Aether Valen
cinematography • Sara Brusciano
camera assistance • Amanda Cots Martínez
sound recording & design • Daniela Cano
sound mix • Borja Barrera Allué
editing • Emilia Vergara
production management • Celeste Martínez León
executive production • Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión (EICTV)

About The Project

This film was my pre-thesis project - the first primary assignment of my third and final year at Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión (EICTV). It was developed and shot after a month-long retreat of introspection and investigation alongside my fellow film peers while staying in the small village of Bauta, in the province of Artemisa, Cuba.

Director's Statement

Before coming to the village of Bauta, I had thought of making a film with a rhizomatic structure, in which very different narrative elements would be connected in some way. The way in which the Cuban people sustained themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally through the difficulties of life interested me. According to my beliefs, all forms of life have their place and importance in the world, and I wanted to do an investigation to look for ways in which people, plants, insects and animals interacted with each other, their environment, and their natural world. I was interested in doing a treatment of the coexistence of various forms of life as different forms of a singular consciousness that does not die, but continues to live, albeit in different ways. My goal was to look for metaphors that would generate associations and connections between these elements, while I also tried to find my own place there, slowly discovering how I was connected to everything as well.

In the initial stages I investigated the symbol of a flower, and pondered upon the life of a flower as part of an actual living organism. I wanted to elaborate on its symbolic representation in the human social context, as well as its role in emotional sustenance for humans. I sought to detonate or create simple connections between flowers, the persons who worked with flowers, and the persons to whom these flowers were meant for. Upon investigating the village however, I discovered that there were no flowers anywhere, as a result of the lack of water and fuel (for machinery) needed by the Cuban people who cared for them and maintained them. But the lack of flowers in the village revealed to me a truth beyond what I had been thinking about initially. The spirit of what I sought in the representation of a flower, continued to live through the Cuban persons who I encountered. I tried to compare a flower to a human being, but what I found instead was the comparison between a human being and a flower. My failure to find flowers on the Earth led to my discovery of the flowers within us, in a manner of speaking.

This discovery influenced my perspective for the rest of the development of the film. Every interaction I had with those land workers started to feel to me as emotionally satisfying as the receipt of a flower in a social conventional context. However, a flower, like all other ephemeral things, do die. These land workers were in their late 70's and mid 80's, and had been actively thinking about the concept of their mortality for quite some time. Because of this, I felt it was only right that I try my best to convey their inner states of mind on screen. It became my intention to not only convey how they thought and how they felt (without words), but also to show how they marched forward and continued to live their lives despite it, trying every day to seek some form of harmony, balance, and understanding.


Pérez Art Museum Miami + Third Horizon / PAMMTV cinema from the Caribbean and its diaspora / miami, united states. September 2023
Pérez Art Museum Miami + Third Horizon / a season of Caribbean cinema part 2 / miami, united states. august 2023
Soleil Space / global community streaming platform / VOD global. august 2023-2025
Conch Shell International Film Festival / winner of the award for best cinematography / new york city, united states. august 2022
Third Horizon Film Festival / shorts program: people, places / miami, united states. june 2021
Sheffield DocFest / ghosts and apparitions strand / sheffield, united kingdom. june 2021


Third Horizon Film Festival - People, Places Q+A Session / interview
Sheffield DocFest - Image & Memory Q+A Session / interview
Prensa Latina / report
El Artemiseño / report
Radio Santa Cruz / report
Juventud Rebelde / report
Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión / report

Flotando en el Río del Tiempo

Floating in the River of Time

| spanish / non-fiction / cuba / 2020 / 14 minutes

Floating in the River of Time (Flotando en el Río del Tiempo) is a meditative observation of the poetry present in the world of Pedrito, an elderly man of the mountains and relic of a time that no longer exists, while he comes to an understanding of his physical mortality and becomes aware of his spiritual immortality.

featuring • Pedro García Pineda, Nersa Zayas Leyva, and Héctor Ramón Manso Montejo

writing & direction • Amir Aether Valen
cinematography • Amir Aether Valen
sound recording • Isabel Moratinos
sound design & mix • Andrea Saenz Pereiro
editing • Amir Aether Valen
production management • Amir Aether Valen, Isabel Moratinos, and Televisión Serrana
executive production • Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión (EICTV)

About The Project

This film was the product of my one-to-one assignment - the final primary assignment of my second year specializing in documentary film direction at Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión (EICTV). It was a process that placed emphasis on the more solitary aspects of documentary filmmaking - highlighting the difficulties as well as liberties that come with it. For this exercise, the developer of their film acted as producer, writer, director, cinematographer, editor, and post-production coordinator. For my project, I worked with Pedro García Pineda, a former national Cuban boxing champion who resides in Buey Arriba, Granma, situated within the Sierra Maestra - the largest mountain range in Cuba.

Director's Statement

I have been a martial artist since I was 5 years old. Speaking from personal experience, I believe martial arts can be a tool for understanding yourself, and for understanding life, because everyone has something to fight for, from the moment they are born. In boxing specifically, there is only offense and defense. There is no escape. In a boxing ring, it is just you and the opponent in front of you. To win and overcome the obstacle in your way, you have to be present, allowing everything else outside of the ring to disappear so you can focus on that which is in front of you at that point in space and time. It is the only thing that matters in that moment.

For those who do not practice boxing, that ring can just be a metaphor for your mind - the opponents and obstacles in front of you, or your own memories and thoughts that are weighing you down. To win, you have to control the rhythm of the fight. Your body has to coincide with your mind. You have to take control of your own breathing, a process that normally occurs naturally. You have to make the decision to not be a passive participant in life, and instead be an active one. You have to change states, being soft like a stream of water to go with the flow when necessary, and crashing down with the force of a hail storm when it is becomes the right time. And sometimes, although you do everything according to plan, you can still get knocked down and feel defeated. But when this happens, you are no longer fighting someone else, you are fighting your own insecurities and doubt, and your own thoughts that are telling you to give up. But that's where the true test is. The real value is being able to overcome your own shortcomings. To face yourself.

This is what I wanted to show with this film. Not many people can relate to being a champion-level fighter on a national and international level, as Pedrito was. Not many can relate to having been a combatant in Angola for two years. Not many people can relate to having walked for eight miles every day just to train. Not everyone can relate to the struggles of everyday life for an old Cuban bread salesman living up in the mountains, who practices the religion of Spiritism. But everyone can relate to the feeling of nostalgia for moments in their past that will never return, especially when facing the mundanity of everyday life, or the limitations that come with getting older. Everyone can relate to the existential crisis brought about upon by confronting one's own mortality. Everyone has something to confront, and everyone has their own ways of overcoming and navigating their way throughout life. With Pedrito, I intended to convey some of these ideas from my perspective.


Soleil Space / global community streaming platform / VOD global. august 2023-2025
Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival / official selection / port-of-spain, trinidad & tobago. September 2022
Daimon Muestra de Cine II via FilminLatino / section: interior / mexico city, mexico. september 2021
Vancouver Latin American Film Festival / in competition for best short film / vancouver, canada. september 2020
Rastro Film Festival / in competition for best documentary short film / brasília, brazil. june 2020


Daimon Muestra de Cine II - Conversation with the Directors of the Interior Section / interview
Vancouver Latin American Film Festival - Conversation with Directors in Competition / interview

Recoger El Viento

Pick Up The Wind

| spanish / non-fiction / cuba / 2021 / 14 minutes

Pick Up The Wind (Recoger El Viento) follows Anthony, a young child from the small, rural town of San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. We accompany him in various moments of his daily life as he interacts with different forms of environmental, familial, and social influences. While Anthony displays contradictory traits of creativity, destruction, rigidity, and tenderness as he explores both his external and internal worlds, we see a story built from the multidimensionality of Anthony's layered personality as a young man.

featuring • Mario Anthony Montero Durand, Yordenis Cobas Durand, Keilan Durand Rodríguez, and Salet Montero Durand

direction • Amir Aether Valen
production • María Félix Morales Lotz
screenplay • Marco González Guillén
cinematography • Nohely Barahona
sound recording, design & mix • Marcela Navia Miranda
editing • Elisa Chen
executive production • Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión (EICTV)

About the Project

This film was the result of my provincial documentary / campismo assignment - the first primary assignment of my second year at Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión (EICTV), and the first primary exercise that incorporated all students working solely in their respective areas of specialization. Our project incorporated the home, school and surroundings of eight-year-old Anthony, including many of his friends and family into the developmental process which spanned over two months.

Director's Statement

Throughout human history, to adapt to their role in society men have been encouraged to force themselves to fit into a male archetype. The formation of this archetype began in the lives of the child's ancestors, and traits such as the desire to hunt, explore and conquer, are eventually inherited. These primitive instincts unconsciously influence the way the child expresses his masculine energy, and the archetype of the man he chooses to be.

The search for new creative tendencies, the development of primitive warrior traits, the recognition of sensibilities commonly associated with femininity in our society, and the confrontation of vulnerabilities - are some examples of factors that show the complexity of a child's growth. I believe a man is not simply an archetype, but a multidimensional human being. Before making this film, I was interested in showing some of the scenarios within the intimate world of the home, as well as the external world where a child interacts, because these experiences all contribute in different ways to defining the type of man he will eventually become.

I have seen in my own life, as I have seen in the lives of my peers, the difficulty young men face to connect with their emotional selves. We prevent part of our development, in the face of social pressure that leads us to hide aspects of our personality, essential to define ourselves fully. When I see the way children are, I recognize a part of myself, and an aspect of adults, that is usually hidden or forgotten. The free spirit - full of life and energy, whether positive or negative, creative or destructive.

Upon meeting Anthony, I knew I had to do this film with him. He was one of the most free-spirited kids I have ever met, and in him I saw many aspects of myself. He helped me to reconnect with a part of myself that I had not been giving much attention to. With this film I wanted to incite that same type of reflection. I wanted it to be the mirror of a phase in life where we were not forced into the confines of social norms. I wanted to show situations and scenarios from a period that may not seem crucial, but has deep-rooted impacts in our personalities as men, as it certainly had for me.

My goal was to provoke a journey of introspection, showing the subtleties and complexities of the formation of masculinity at the beginning of adolescence, as a possibility to encourage reflections needed for the development of a new, better man.


Soleil Space / global community streaming platform / VOD global. august 2023-2025
Festival Scope Pro + Open Doors - Locarno Film Festival / online film discovery platform, european union. june 2022
Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival / in competition for best film as decided by the youth jury / trinidad & tobago. september 2021
Huntington Beach Cultural Cinema Showcase / general viewing block: using the arts as a bridge to promote human dignity / california, united states. september 2021
Providence Latin American Film Festival / official selection: festival de cortometrajes / rhode island, united states. april 2021


Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival - Filmmaker Q+A Session / interview

Student Films

Eternal Space

Eternal Space

| silent / documentary / cuba / June 2019 / 1 minute

The bittersweet poignancy of a fleeting present moment fading into memory, and the intent to capture it all. Ethereal and ephemeral, my eternal space.The film is a mental voyage and visual trip, aiming to portray the transience of time, space, and states of being.

About The Project

Eternal Space is a 5-minute short film consisting of hand-processed images filmed on 16mm Kodak and Fuji colour film using the Bolex H16 Reflex camera. The images were filmed and developed by me during an Experimental Cinema film workshop by Daïchi Saïto at Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión. The concept was derived from the theory of collective consciousness, and the idea of the connectedness of everything in the known universe. However, during the process of shooting, the images seemed to me to be abstractions not of how everything in the universe is connected, but of how I am connected to everything in the universe.

Written, directed, produced, photographed, edited & sound designed by Amir Aether Valen.

Light Upon Light

Light Upon Light

| arabic / docu-fiction hybrid / cuba / June 2019 / 7 minutes

Light Upon Light is sensorial short film consisting of the thoughts and abstractions of the archangel Azrael, or Malak-al-Maut as he is identified in Arabic culture, following his travels through the celestial and terrestrial planes before he takes a soul to the afterlife. Underscoring the film are his thoughts - recitations taken directly from the Quran.

About The Project

This 7-minute short was filmed for the Hybrid Forms of Cinema film workshop by Eloy Enciso at Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión. The objective was to incorporate elements of fables or folklore into a documentary film - using subjective truths to blur the lines of reality and fiction.

Written, directed, produced, photographed & edited by Amir Aether Valen.

Featuring Marco González Guillén and Amir Aether Valen.

Luz de la Tarde

Light of the Afternoon

| spanish / documentary / cuba / March 2019 / 8 minutes

Light of the Afternoon follows the adventures of a group of kids at a rural park in a small village one afternoon after school.

About The Project

Production of this 8-minute observational short documentary film was almost completely improvised; scouted and filmed by Amir in one day as part of the Direct Cinema film workshop by Carolina Corral at Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión, in preparation for the primary project which succeeded - the one-to-one exercise at the Sierra Maestra, Cuba.

Written, directed, produced, photographed & edited by Amir Aether Valen.

Featuring children of the Pueblo Textil, Cuba.

Leave The Camera On

Leave The Camera On

| english / documentary / cuba / February 2019 / 7 minutes

Leave The Camera On is an observational documentary film constructed from discarded footage of Amir's previous film - Who I Say I Am. It follows Amir as he prepares to film a scene with his mother in a car, however complications consistently arise, and nothing goes as planned.

About The Project

The footage of this 7-minute short film was originally shot in Trinidad before my time in Cuba, but the concept of the film and montage of archival material was done during the Autoreferential Cinema film workshop by Susana Barriga at Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión.

Written, directed, produced, photographed & edited by Amir Aether Valen.

Featuring Anesa Ali and Amir Aether Valen.

Vida Eterna

Eternal Life

| silent / documentary / cuba / January 2019 / 8 minutes

Eternal Life is an observation of life returning to a lifeless sanctuary, the cemetery of Vereda Nueva in Cuba.

About The Project

This observational short documentary film was made utilizing only that which was present at the location of a cemetery in a small town to tell the narrative. It was the first exercise of the second semester of Year 2 at Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión, during the Documentary Narrative film workshop by Fernando Valenzuela.

Written, directed, produced, photographed & edited by Amir Aether Valen.

La Semilla de Gracia

The Seed of Grace

| silent / documentary / cuba / June 2018 / 7 minutes

The Seed of Grace is based on the concept of mono no aware - a Japanese term for the impermanence of things, and empathy towards them. The film is a meditation towards this concept, highlighting the pain that comes from the transience of all things in the universe, and the struggle to let go.

About The Project

This 7-minute experimental documentary short was filmed for the Documentary Film Outlook workshop by Alejandro Alonso and Rafael Ramírez. The film is a mixture of autoreferential cinema, observational cinema, film essay, and video letter - all of the elements taught at the workshop, which is the final exercise of the Year 1 of studies at Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión.

Written, directed, produced, photographed & edited by Amir Aether Valen.

Featuring Amir Aether Valen.

Con Nosotros Esta Navidad

With Us This Christmas

| spanish / documentary / cuba / June 2018 / 4 minutes

With Us This Christmas follows Amir while he films the Christmas dinner preparation of a group of his closest friends, before they leave for travels throughout Cuba.

About The Project

This 4-minute observational short documentary was shot by me during the Christmas vacation of 2017, then edited into a film for the Documentary Film Outlook workshop by Alejandro Alonso and Rafael Ramirez at Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión. The film consists entirely of edited archival footage shot on a cellular phone.

Written, directed, produced, photographed & edited by Amir Aether Valen.

Featuring Amir and friends.

Himno a la Llama Inmortal

Hymn to the Immortal Flame

| spanish / fiction / cuba / May 2018 / 3 minutes

On the anniversary of the death of her mother, a young woman ponders about the nature of life as she recalls the little stories that her mother had shared with her in her childhood. As all things in her natural world bring to mind the memories that they had once shared together, the young woman struggles to accept that these moments will never again come to pass.

About The Project

This film was part of the "3-Minute Film" group of projects. It is an exercise that prioritizes the process over the product, and one which aims to escalate the level of efficiency of students' abilities to work as a primary member of a production crew, as well as to understand the role and function of every other member of the crew as well through experience.

Written & directed by Amir Aether Valen.
Produced by Hans Astrik and Laura Gabay.
Photographed by Angel Suárez.
Sound recorded by Daniel Patrick Martins.
Edited by Sara Shazli.

Featuring Davide Grillo and Verónica Abarca Lara.

Lenguas Romance

Romance Languages

| spanish / fiction / cuba / May 2018 / 3 minutes

One night after arguing with his girlfriend Andrea, Miguel hears a voice calling to him from under the sheets. When he gets underneath to find out what it's all about, he finds Andrea's vagina, some sensual lips called Gigí, speaking to him.

About The Project

I was the director-of-photography of this 3-minute short film written and directed by Hans Astrik. The exercise was part of the "3-Minute Film" group of projects - the second primary exercise of Year 1 of the Curso Regular 3-year programme at the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión.

Written & directed by Hans Astrik.
Produced by Leinad Pájaro de la Hoz.
Photographed by Amir Aether Valen.
Sound recorded by Sara Shazli.
Edited by Otávio Almeida.

Featuring Davide Grillo and Verónica Abarca Lara.



| spanish / fiction / cuba / November 2017 / 2 minutes

A sound recordist has a disease in which her actual life imitates soundtracks of famous movies based on her emotional states as she interacts with various persons.

About The Project

This comedic sketch piece was an episode of a 30-minute television program that was developed by all 40 year-one students during their first year of the Curso Regular at Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión.

Written, directed & edited by Amir Aether Valen.
Produced by María Félix Morales Lotz.
Photographed by Daniel Patrick Martins.
Sound recorded by Marisol Cao Milán.

Featuring Gabriela Fonseca Villalobos.

Síndrome de la Serenata

Syndrome of the Serenade

| spanish / fiction / cuba / October 2017 / 1 minute

Syndrome of the Serenade is a trip inside the mind of a young singer, chronicling her internal reaction to the reception of her singing capabilities.

About The Project

The first primary exercise in Year 1 of the Curso Regular 3-year programme at Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión. For me, it was the first major challenge of directing at the EICTV - being able to communicate ideas effectively with a cast and crew in a foreign language (Spanish).

Written & directed by Amir Aether Valen.
Produced by Daniel Patrick Martins.
Photographed by Leinad Pájaro de la Hoz.
Sound recorded by Alejandro Uzeda Ucharro.
Edited by Jorge Gómez.

Featuring Marcela Navia Miranda.

Who I Say I Am

Who I Say I Am

| english / non-fiction / trinidad & tobago / 2016 / 33 minutes

Who I Say I Am is a short documentary film about the impact that a person’s name has on their identity, and how it influences their sense of self. It tells the tale of a young man driven on a quest to discover what the names of people across all facets of society means to them in relation to their identity and sense of self, as he attempts in retrospect to find his own identity and be comfortable with his own sense of self.

featuring • Amir Aether Valen, Eniola Orisagbemi Adelekan, Srikanth Rao Adidam Venkata, and Xala Ramesar

writing & direction • Amir Aether Valen
production • Amir Aether Valen
cinematography • Amir Aether Valen, Jian Hennings, Kyle Sahadeo
sound recording • Amir Aether Valen, Jian Hennings, Kyle Sahadeo
sound design • Amir Aether Valen
editing • Amir Aether Valen
music • Kevin McLeod
executive production • University of the West Indies Film Programme (UWI)

About The Project

This film was the primary assignment of my second year of studies at the University of the West Indies, B.A. Film programme, which was focused on short documentary storytelling. It was also an official selection in the Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival of 2016, where it was nominated for the Best T+T Short Documentary Film Award as well as the United Nations TT Award for Best Emerging Documentary Filmmaker - both of which it had won.

Director's Statement

In many cultures, it is believed that a person's name contains his or her essence. The way in which we portray ourselves to the world begin with our identity, and what we call ourselves. This film's existence was based on my own personal decision to legally adopt the names Aether and Valen, but its concept and execution is centered upon the experiences and ideologies of a diverse range of persons, from experts to ordinary citizens.

"Everybody's name is Chelsea these days. So, when it comes to a name, and somehow linking it to identity, it's really loosely linked for me. I don't think it really has much say in who I am as a person. A name for me isn't anything more than what I'm called, or something that's on my birth certificate. I think that at the end of the day, having such a common name made me realize that I'm more than just a label, and some arbitrary name that someone happened to like and gave me at birth." - Chelsea Rampaul

*"There is a power of affirmation that comes from the spoken word. When you announce you own name, it's like a mantra that brings whatever you are saying into being. And when people address you by that name, it means that you have more people speaking this mantra. More people agreeing to help you accomplish that destiny. So, identity is something that is partially decided, and partially assigned. You are what you say you are. But you also are what you are to other people. So, when other people give you a name or announce your name, they are actually using their power of word to support your destiny. It becomes like more people are pushing you in the direction that you are destined to go." - Adelẹkan Oriṣagbemi Eniola

Those are just two opinions of the multitude expressed in this film. As I see it, the degree to which a person’s name is a significant part of his or her identity varies from person to person. To some, a name is not merely a conglomeration of letters put together as a convenient way to refer to them. It is the definition of their individualistic identity; a description of their personality and an interpretation of their traits. To others, it can be just an arbitrary label. Some persons try to live up to their names, while others try to run away from it. This film is an odyssey of those experiences and more, delving profoundly into themes of individualistic identity, cultural identity, lineage identity, and spiritual identity.