The film chronicles the life and careers of seven artists who reside in different regions of the world and whose music expands a great array of genres that include Jazz, Timba, Nueva Trova, Filin, Rock and more. Their common thread is that they are undeniably Cuban and their art transcends the worldly influences distinctively appreciated in their music to foster its irrefutable Afro-Cuban roots. Because words always fall short when attempting to define art, specially complex, multi-layered and globalized contemporary Cuban music, this film features extensive live performances by these artists, mostly as part of the renowned Global Cuba Fest presented by FUNDarte and Miami Light Project in Miami, FL.
Below is a trailer we made last year for fundraising:
Making this documentary has been, for over five years, a great passion of mine which I've actively pursued during the last two. I was born in Cuba and moved to Miami when I was eight but it wasn't until my twenties that I re-discovered Cuban music. Like many of my peers, I erroneously thought Cuban music had become Cubaton (Cuba based regueton) and that the only samples of authentic, intricate and musically elaborate forms of Cuban music were decades old. I was obviously terribly mistaken and it saddens me to come across others my age who are under the same erroneous belief. This documentary gives me the opportunity to shine a light on contemporary Cuban music, to make my generation aware of its evolution while understanding its importance as an art form and a vehicle for our culture. It is the perfect medium to collect the scattered pieces of the Cuban musical panorama, highlighting the diversity and differences in genres, while making the common core elements evident. This film will rekindle music enthusiasts all over the world with what was the most beloved musical export in the early decades of the 20th century, while reestablishing great pride in all Cubans for our art and culture.
With your help of course! We need to cover the large investment we are incurring to film the festival with multiple 4K Digital Video cameras and to record the audio in Pro-Tools for post-production mixing and mastering. We will also be traveling to Cuba, New York and Spain to interview, along with those that live here in Miami, the artists in their prospective surroundings, in order to further highlight the vast differences in their livelihoods.
FUNDarte and Knight Foundation Matching Grant!!!
FUNDarte has selected our film, Global Cuba, as one of the projects to benefit from their Knight Foundation matching grant for 2013. For every dollar we raise through Kickstarter, FUNDarte will double it!
We also invite you to join us by connecting to us on Facebook and stay up-to-date with our process.
Gema Corredera is the one figure in the documentary that seems to hold the entire global Cuban panorama together. An exceptional voice and musical talent, her influence on contemporary Cuban music goes much beyond the reach of her recordings and performances, having had a strong effect on the careers of almost all the other characters in this film. She climbed to success as part of the duo Gema y Pavel which can be most accurately described as having adopted the genre Neo-filin, also known as Progressive filin (the word filin referring to Feeling, a lyrical jazz born in the late 50's). Like many Cuban musicians, she has several art degrees including guitar and musicology. In the early 90's she left the island to reside in Spain where she remained until moving to Miami in 2007. Amongst her many contributions to Cuban music and other artists, she was commissioned in 1996 to return to Cuba and record a compilation album featuring the island's brewing underground music scene. From that effort errupted Habana Abierta, also featured in this film.
Vanito Brown and the other members of his group Habana Abierta, were among the active performers of13y8, a small venue in Cuba that became the landmark for an entire musical movement and evolution. If this movement and its music had to be categorized into a genre, the term “Novissima Trova” would probably fit best, but a more accurate definition would be a rebellious and experimental generation of singer-songwriters who were critical, expressive, and poetic in their lyrical approach to Cuban folk music. In the 90's, after recording the compilation album Gema and Pavel were assigned by their Spanish label and titled Habana Oculta, Vanito Brown, along with other current members of Habana Abierta, had the opportunity to tour the project in Europe. The core defected and established themselves as Habana Abierta in Spain. Since, they have recorded 3 full-length albums as well as several solo projects. Their story is a unique perspective of how an opportunity to collaborate becomes an opportunity to leave the island and how they found ways to lean on each other to find success in exile.
Inevitably when you talk about Cuban people its usually a story of emmigration and Cuban musicians are no exception. Jorge Gomez, band director and founder of Tiempo Libre, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, world renowned jazz drummer, Yosvany Terry, one of the most acclaimed jazz musicians in New York, and Yadam, multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, are all featured in the film and all have a unusual list of countries they have resided and established careers in. Jorge moved to Guatemala at the age of twenty-five where he had to completely reboot his music career, exposing him to learn a new repertoir of music that was common to the new region, only to have to do so again five years later in Miami, FL. Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez moved to Italy where he struggled to make a living. He then moved to New York where he, like Yosvany Terry, and Jorge Gomez in Miami, had to work illegally as a musician while he waited for his work permit. Yadam moved to Denmark, the unlikeliest of places for a Cuban musician, but where he found ways to excel. He now resides in Spain where he is in pursuit of a second solo-album. If there is any doubt as to why Cuban musicians, most notably this generation, are so diverse in their repertoir, these four stories shine a lot of insight into why and how.
Then again, Robertico Carcasses and his band Interactivo would contrast that theory. Robertico Carcasses, as well as many of the current members of the band, have never lived out of Cuba but their music is as globally influenced as it gets. Interactivo is a timba/jazz/fusion band that could solely exemplify the evolution of contemporary Cuban music. However, the group hasn't been completely immune to the emmigrational nature that has plagued many of the country's biggest acts, and the band has seen several members leave the island. Telmary, one of its lead vocalists, is now based in Toronto, Canada and its principal Bass Guitar player and also vocalist, Yusa, now resides in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Robertico seems to have found a recipe to keep the act thriving and prides in having structured a band whose revolving number of members and participants lead to its unpredictability, variety of sounds, and experimental nature. Interactivo absorbs all the different influences that his generation has been exposed to in clandestine ways and mixes them with traditional Cuban music to create a sound that is varied, musically complex and experimental while keeping a strong sense of that Cuban sound and tradition that make it unique and powerful.
With this documentary, the viewer gains a thorough understanding of the individual artist and their complex paths thus gaining a deep appreciation for their music and the panorama of contemporary Cuban musicians. Some living in Cuba, some in Europe, South America, U.S. and Canada; the film explores how their lives and their art are so very different from one another's because of the influences of their new and strange surroundings, yet their approach to both life and art is in many ways alike. Adopting the structure of many successful landmark documentary films such as Woodstock: Three Days of Peace and Music and Buena Vista Social Club, Global Cuba will showcase song performances in their entirety. It will be between songs that we will meet, explore, and understand our characters.
The images below were taken by Elvis Suarez at Global Cuba Fest performances, you can expect more like these as part of our documentary and featured in our photography album that we will be sending to our supporters.
Risks and challenges
Like every film worth making, we face many obstacles, risks and challenges with this film. One unique obstacle we face is the delicate relationship between Cuba and the U.S. where we live. If this challenge didn't exists, however, we wouldn't be interested in making this film in the first place. Our hope is that through art, and in this case specifically music, we can transcend political barriers. Cuban music continues to be a form of expression for its people and if this documentary can make it a household genre again in the U.S. and all over the world, we can make the Cuban story, struggle, and hardship part of the conversation again.
FUNDarte and Miami Light Project have been groundbreakers in growing cultural exchanges between Cuba and South Florida. Having them on-board as Producers and colleagues on this film is an unmeasurable resource.
As to how we will meet the usual challenges that come with filmmaking, we rely on our experience in the field. I have personally been the Director of Photography on 4 feature documentaries, including "The U" for "ESPN's 30for30 series" and I'm very accustomed to the challenges that come with the process. I have also surrounded myself with a very talented and experienced team in fellow cinematographers Julien Diaz of Merge-Studios and John Llambes of 1501 Studios, producer Arianee Andollo, and my business partner and very gifted photographer Elvis Suarez.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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