Promoting Authentic and Underrepresented Voices in Cuba

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CELEBRATION OF THE “AUTHENTIC VOICE"

  • Promoting and defending human rights, by encouraging and establishing open expression and dialogues about local issues through the producing of authentic, indigenous stories about Cuban and Caribbean life.
  • Facilitating Cuban producers with access to networks of distribution for their content, and encouraging diversity of expression by including authentic Cuban stories in the mainstream of the Caribbean audiovisual thus increasing the pool of audiovisual content from Cuba.
  • Strengthening international distribution and circulation of Cuban and Caribbean stories grounded in authentic creative expression.
  • Promoting accountability and transparency, by encouraging the authentic and honest expression of local ideas through audiovisual content, which promotes transparency by giving voices to the marginalized, and facilitating the international distribution, circulation, and exhibition of those products.
  • Encouraging vigorous local debate on local issues and supports the creation of authentic and honest audiovisual content that celebrates the exploration and reflection of local issues.
  • Promoting inter-island, regional, diaspora, and international circulation of information that can be used in academic institutions to create an understanding of the realities on the ground in Cuba across language and national lines. These educational tools can be used at all academic levels for studying subjects such as history, social sciences, Caribbean studies, economics, and beyond.
  • Encouraging networking and facilitating collaboration and co-productions between Cuban, Caribbean, and international producers and content creators.
  • Strengthening a broad-based market economy through the monetizing of Cuban content and diversifying the economies of the Caribbean region, ultimately helping to alleviate poverty of Cuban producers and supporting inclusive, regional, Caribbean, audiovisual industry, and increasing the pool of world-class marketable content coming from Cuba and the Caribbean region
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In December 2016 CaribbeanTales decided to step into ‘unchartered’ territories in our region to Cuba during the Havana Film Festival to meet one on one with a new batch of filmmakers and offer a 2-day workshop in Cuba to preparatory training and gain access to participate in the Production Support  Program in January 2017.  

The goal was simple:  Find, access and work with underrepresented filmmakers hone their craft and create content from their own experiences.  Underrepresented groups include (but are not limited to):  People of colour, those from the LGTBQ community and women.

We were successful in selecting 6 filmmakers to participate in our Production Support Program (PSP) in January 2017 to work with us in March- June 2017 to hone, develop and create a proof concept for their unique series projects.

Project: Havana Detectives (series)This series highlights the contemporary socio-economic issues between Caribbean Cubans and Miami-born Cubans taking on the themes of Old world Cuba vs New World Cuba in a creative and contemporary way. Through the eyes of a female protagonist who is a Cuban immigrant to the US, this production presents the political tensions between the US and Cuba through a fictional detective narrative. It aims to illustrate how these tensions trickle down and affect the political relations of these individuals who share an overlooked common history.

Project: Sisters of the Heart – This 2 part documentary thoroughly discusses the topic of Race in Cuba through the marginalized Afro-Cuban Female lens. It challenges the Myth of Racial Harmony and the overlooked Afro-Cuban History in mainstream Cuban education. Examines the Oblate sisters in their quest to educate young black Cuban women on their history and protect them within a society that does not hear their voice.

Project:Dragon Rojo (film) explores the fundamental freedom to participate as a private vendor. Reference of this goal takes a creative analytical perspective citing influences from Britain and America’s capitalistic autonomous freedom to partake in private business thus highlighting the will of impoverished Cubans to make money in some way by providing entertainment and a break from constant work.

Project: Pure Sentimiento (film)– This silently political production follows an LGBTQ Cuban couple in their day-to- day love story..

 

Project: Abriendo Puertas (series) – This documentary series follows the Club Spectrum highlighting the “activist past” of the Club Spectrum creators and their influence on current figures as they aim to redefine their lives amid new political, social, and economic contexts within the island.

Project: Rumba (series) – This production examines the history of the Rumba and how it developed similar to African American dances as a form of expression within slavery and colonialism.

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Gloria Rolando

Patricia Ramos

By June 2017, the strongest 2 projects from our inaugural year working with Cuban filmmakers were selected to participate in our intensive 8-week training period alongside the other international participants selected in preparation for the renowned CaribbeanTales Market Incubator Program (MIP) and receive full scholarships to travel to Toronto, Ontario and attend /participate in our 5 day international program which culminates at the Big Pitch event held at the Toronto International headquarters to pitch for additional funding to make their films.

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Winners of the “CTI Cuba Visual Civic Activism Award”

Sisters of the Heart

This documentary thoroughly discusses the topic of Race in Cuba through the marginalized Afro-Cuban Female lens. It challenges the Myth of Racial Harmony and the overlooked Afro-Cuban History in mainstream Cuban education. Examines the Oblate sisters in their quest to educate young black Cuban women on their history and protect them within a society that does not hear their voice.

Havana Detectives Inc

This series highlights the contemporary socio-economic issues between Caribbean Cubans and Miami-born Cubans taking on the themes of Old world Cuba vs New World Cuba in a creative and contemporary way. Through the eyes of a female protagonist who is a Cuban immigrant to the US, this production presents the political tensions between the US and Cuba through a fictional detective narrative. It aims to illustrate how these tensions trickle down and affect the political relations of these individuals who share an overlooked common history.

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May 2019 Workshop

Name of Project:
Si Alguna Vez – If Ever

Description:
Short Film, drama

Producer/Filmmaker:
Annia Quesada Milord

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER

Annia Quesada Milord graduated in the specialty of direction at the University of the Arts of Cuba in 2018. She wrote and directed the short Fiction “Trace” (2018) and the Short fiction “Soy,” which exhibited at Festival Icarus in Havana 2016. She was assistant director on several television programs and  also served as Executive Assistant at the 12th international Festival of Poor Cinema of Gibara (2015), among others)

Synopsis / Description of Project

A young woman’s relationship to her husband becomes a living nightmare when her partner places a knife in the refrigerator threatening to use it if ever they should break up.  

Name of Project:
Camino a Cuba – Road to Cuba

Description:
Feature-length documentary

Producer/Filmmaker:
Lenia Sainiut Tejera León

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER

Lenia Sainiut Tejera LeónCuba has a degree in letters from the University of Oriente, Santiago de Cuba and a degree in Audiovisual Media Art at the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA), Holguín, Cuba. She is a member of UNEAC, a television director and documentary filmmaker at Serraa television.

Synopsis / Description of Project

Camino a Cuba looks at the life of four people that walk or build roads as part of their daily life and as a main reason of their existence. Through their lives, humanity and conflicts they travel across Cuba confronting the harsh reality of living in Cuba while revealing their hopes, dreams and expectations for the future.

Name of Project:
Hasta el último Papelito – Until the Last Piece of Paper

Description:
Feature-length documentary

Producer/Filmmaker:
Carla Valdés León

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER

Carla Valdés León graduated from the University of the Arts (ISA) in 2016. She is a member of the jury Mezcal in the 30 FICG and has directed the documentary Days of December which won the award for Best Documentary in the Young sample ICAIC 2017. She wasassistant director  for Cuba in Debate by Carmen Castillo and 80 destinies, by Alice de Andrade. 

Synopsis / Description of Project

A director and editor put together pieces of two different types of footage: the existing archives and the one belonging to the grannies. These images merge into a new movie that mixes the official story and that arising from our family memories.

Name of Project:
Herederos – Heirs

Description:
Feature-length documentary

Producer/Filmmaker:
Katherine T. Gavilan

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER

Katherine T. Gavilan is an actress, scriptwriter, director, producer, voice coach and cultural manager. She graduated with honors from the Academy of Arts José Joaquín Tejada and the Higher Institute of Art.

She has participated in theatrical and shared productions with leading Cuban and international directors.

Synopsis / Description of Project

Herederos proposes a physical and metaphorical trip to the spaces crossed by Cuban immigrants through the journey of a woman following the desires of  her Aunt, who lived in exile in the United States since 1961 and who willed that her possessions be distributed amongst her relatives in Cuba.

Name of Project:
Luna y Mía

Description:
Telemovie, 60 minutes

Producer/Filmmaker:
Mariela López Galano

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER

Mariela López Galano has worked as an assistant director on outstanding musical and children’s programs. 

Synopsis / Description of Project

Luna and Mia are two high school girls who spiritually connect while discovering their sexuality. Mia is openly gay while Luna hasn’t declare herself homosexual yet.  Luna struggles against her parents, friends and her own prejudices until she realizes that what really matters is your feelings.

Name of Project:
Reflejos

Description:
Dramatic Film

Producer/Filmmaker:
Camila Carballo

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER

Camila Carballo has directed several shorts that have screened in national and international festivals. Her last short fiction film ‘Lobos’ premiered at the Verín film Festival in Spain won best soundtrack at the Imago Festival. He also won the Creation Fellowship “José Orlando Jiménez Tajonera” in 2018.

Synopsis / Description of Project

Claudia is a typical girl who is trapped by the insecurities that plague an 18 year old. She is tired of feeling useless and incomplete, suffering bullying and decides to “fit in” trying to transform her body which puts her life in risk.

Name of Project:
Regreso

Description:
Fiction

Producer/Filmmaker:
Fabiana Salgado

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER

Fabiana Salgado is a designer, filmmaker and editor. She is the Co-founder of Arthaus Lab, a collaborative group that explores independent audiovisual production. putting main interest in experimentation, women-driven stories and the creation of debate spaces, training and exhibition.  She has received postgraduate studies from filmmakers Abbas Kiarostami, Naomi Kawase, Susana Barriga and James Benning among others.  She is  currently in post-production on his first feature-length documentary.

Synopsis / Description of Project

Julia is provoked by her sister to leave the fishing village in which she lives. She desires her boyfriend to leave with her, however, something makes her leave alone.

Name of Project:
La Tumba y el papalote (The Tomb and the Kite)

Description:
Feature-length documentary

Producer/Filmmaker:
Aileen Reyes Herrera

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER

Aileen Reyes Herrera graduated in 2016 from the University of Havana. She has been assistant director of Eduardo del Llano in his last short films Domino (2017), Rállame la Zanahoriav (2018) and two veterans, (2019) of the Nicanor saga, as well as assistant manager of the short fictional Sweet (2017) by Natalie Gomez. In 2018 she worked as a producer in the post-Producciónvdel documentary stage The Close Days of Love (2018) by Yosiri López-Silvero.

Synopsis / Description of Project

La Timba, a humble neighbourhood of Havana, is located on the border of the Columbus Cemetery, facing the Revolution Plaza. And just on the other side, the dead from the cemetery carries Cuba’s buried history. The film explores the history of the relationship of this neighbourhood with the Plaza: an ambivalent symbol of the state, of the Revolution, of power, and sometimes of Homeland or Cuba, through the lives of an old woman and a child.

Name of Project:
Nara – Cranes know how to whistle

Description:
Fiction, feature-length

Producer/Filmmaker:
Rosa María Rodríguez Pupo

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER

Rosa María Rodríguez Pupo has directed several theatrical shows and has written texts for theatre and cinema. One of her scripts “Culpa”, was the winner of the Milanese Creation Fellowship of the Hermanos Saiz Association (AHS) and premiered in 2013. She is currently in post-production on her long documentary “Organ”: The Rhythm of the Molío. Music.

Synopsis / Description of Project

Nara and Aran are brother and sister who live in isolation in a wooden house located on the east side of the island. They suffer from strange disease that stops them from being outside during the day. When their mother suddenly dies their everyday life is broken. Aran decides to leave their house on the pretext of having the desire of know the sea. In her isolation Nara discovers herself and the arousal of  her sexual desire and eventually discovers a secret her brother long kept from her.

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Stretching our reach, breaking language barriers and uniting in telling our unique stories throughout the entire Caribbean Region.