The award will help fund Irina Patkanian’s latest documentary on Cuba’s political and economic transformation.

Television, Radio, and Emerging Media Professor Irina Patkanian has been named a 2021 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Video/Film by the New York Foundation for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts, an award that comes with $7,000 in unrestricted funding.

Patkanian said the award will help pay for her documentary “Somos Cuba,” which follows several characters from Old Havana for 10 years from 2015 to 2025, a period that observers have hoped would be a transformation from a communist dictatorship to a free market economy.

“This is a very personal project for me,” said Patkanian, who was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. “It is a requiem for the revolution and a hymn to human spirit, resilience, and undying thirst for freedom. What is now happening in Cuba happened in Russia in the 1990s. This abysmal change has been hardly documented, let alone explored in depth. Communist regimes break the spirit and crush souls, creating deep wounds and atrophies that take decades to heal. And, as in some cases among Russia’s older generations, they may never scar over.”

She said he award will also help her continue sharing her research with students on documenting events from all over the world.