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Basilia Mirtha Ibarra Collado was born in Havana in 1946. She graduated at the National School of Arts in Havana and took an Arts degree at Havana University. She has belonged to the most important emblematic theatre groups on the island. She has acted for cinema and television in leading roles for many of which she has received major international awards. She established her reputation with Up to a certain point, directed in 1983 by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea which won her the Coral prize at the Havana International Film Festival.
International success came with Strawberry and Chocolate (1994) and Guantanamera (1995), both directed by Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío. In 1994 she took part as a guest together with the filmmaker Tomás Gutiérrez Alea in the Oscar ceremony with the nominated film, Strawberry and Chocolate.
Since the death of her husband, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, in April 1996, Mirtha Ibarra has combined working between Cuba and Spain, and took part in Mararía (1998) by Antonio Betancor and Havana Quartet (1999) by Fernando Colomo. She has also taken part in the films So Far Away (2003) and Horn of Plenty (2008), both directed by Juan Carlos Tabío.
In the year 2000 she had enormous success with the play Obsesión Habanera, which she wrote, codirected and acted in. In 2007 she published the book Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Volver sobre mis pasos, a letter compilation. She has given lectures and workshops at various Universities and specialized institutions in Latin America and Europe. Lately she has coscripted and directed the documentary Titón, from Havana to Guantanamera.
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