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7 ordinary people live in makeshift homes on the rooftops of Havana. Resilient and remarkable they  invite us into their secret world.
7 ordinary people live in makeshift homes on the rooftops of Havana. Resilient and remarkable they invite us into their secret world.
59 backers pledged CA$ 12,235 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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CA$ 12,235

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About this project

"In every soul, like every house, there is a hidden interior behind the facade." - Raúl  Brandão

Production : ARANTZA MALDONADO Director: PEDRO RUIZ Artistic Conception : FELIPE BELLO / PEDRO RUIZ Executive Producer: NATASHA DEGANELLO

The movie

The chronic shortage of housing in Central Havana has pushed the city upwards, where life spills out onto the rooftops. A cinematic feature documentary, HAVANA, FROM ON HIGH, will capture life in a canopy that stands several stories above ground – an ecosystem in and of itself. I am chronicling this secret city of terraces and rooftops and the subtleties of the people who live there. Nestled above a decaying district of Havana there is a secret village, hidden from the clamor of the streets below.

And all is not what it appears to be.

A Few of the Characters

LALA: Has lived with her husband on the rooftop 12 years. She does the laundry for her whole building. From her rooftop she can see the tourist boats arriving to the island.

JOSE: Left home because of disagreements with his brother over his sexual orientation. Jose used to be a party-loving drag queen, but has since calmed down his lifestyle and lives in the elevator shaft.

ARTURO: Repairs TV sets – all sorts, Russian, Chinese, American from his rooftop although sometimes he has to hire someone to bring them up the stairs to his shop.

TITA: Widowed when her husband died of an asthma attack, she lives with her chicken and rooster – as pets, not for food. He thyroid issues don’t let her go down too often but her children visit often.

ALEJANDRO: raises messenger pigeons on his terrace, including some of the ones that were released at the baseball game that Obama attended. On occasion he has eaten an injured one.

Arturo and José
Arturo and José

 

Tita and Lala
Tita and Lala

 

 

Why I am Making this Film

I know it is difficult to know precisely what a good life is. I have memories of a magical and full childhood in Venezuela, even though I was lacking most things. It is possible that in the eyes of some, I was perceived as a boy to pity. They may not have come close enough to notice that in the absence of factory-made toys that my mother could not buy, this child invented his own toys, subtler, more nuanced than those sold in stores.

Hunger can wreak terrible havoc, it’s true, but that does not devoid a person of their humanity. Too often, what happens though, is that it actually obscures that humanity from the perception of others, and in so doing, firmly establishes stereotypes. Human beings have understood this for centuries.

Without dissolving commonly-held biases, without coming closer and having a deeper look into one another’s eyes, the establishment of common humanity is elusive. And without that, social equity is unrealistic.

By inviting the audience into the intimacy of marginalized people with whom most people otherwise might not have a chance to interact, Havana, from on high, naturally and without pretense breaks down stereotypes. They crumble on their own, like the Havana buildings that fall with the hot sun that rises after the storm.

 

Where we're at

We have received a grant from Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Québec, which helped us shoot 60% of the film, as well as create the film sample above.

What we need

A final trip to Cuba will allow us to capture the footage needed to complete the 90-minute documentary. We plan to spend 10 days in Havana with a minimal professional team and necessary equipment. We are hoping to cover the expenses for this trip with the funds raised in this campaign.

photos by : Gustavo Marcano

http://www.faitsdiversmedia.com/

Rewards

 

Book Oficio de familia.
Book Oficio de familia.

 

 

DVD Animal tropical in Monteal
DVD Animal tropical in Monteal

 

DVD, The gentle drifting of a haitian child
DVD, The gentle drifting of a haitian child

 

 

DVD Philémon Chante Habana
DVD Philémon Chante Habana

 

Luces del agua mansa
Luces del agua mansa

30 x 40 print of photo, signed by Pedro Ruiz 

A la incertidumbre de reojo
A la incertidumbre de reojo

 30 x 40 print of photo, signed by Pedro Ruiz

Luces del agua mansa II
Luces del agua mansa II

 30 x 40 print of photo, signed by Pedro Ruiz

 

 

Pedro Juan Gutierrez
Pedro Juan Gutierrez

 30 x 40 print of photo, signed by Pedro Ruiz

Portrait of Danny Laferrière
Portrait of Danny Laferrière

 30 x 40 print of photo, signed by Pedro Ruiz

Where we're at

We have received a grant from Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Québec, which helped us shoot 60% of the film, as well as create the film sample above.

What we need

A final trip to Cuba will allow us to capture the footage needed to complete the 90-minute documentary. We plan to spend 10 days in Havana with a minimal professional team and necessary equipment. We are hoping to cover the expenses for this trip with the funds raised in this campaign.

Risks and challenges

Documentary filmmaking always involves risks and challenges. These may be related to production or distribution, we might have setbacks related to the team or to our participants. Things that we can't even imagine might come up.

That said, our team has years of experience with similar productions, so we are not unfamiliar with these sorts risks and challenges.

While we cannot predict what they might be, you have our word that we will deal with challenges as they come up with the best intentions possible and in the most professional way we know how.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 10 or more About $8

    Mention in credits

    Every little bit counts! We are so grateful for whatever you are able to give and would be happy to mention your name in the final credits.

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    Pledge CA$ 30 or more About $23

    Signed book

    everything in 1+ signed book

    Signed book "Oficio de familia, la fotografía periodística venezolana en el siglo XX", essay in Spanish by Álvaro Cabrera and Pedro Ruiz.

    Libro firmado "Oficio de familia, la fotografía periodística venezolana en el siglo XX", libro en castellano por Álvaro Cabrera y Pedro Ruiz. Y mención en los créditos de la película.

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    Pledge CA$ 45 or more About $34

    DVD: Animal Tropical in Montreal

    PEDRO JUAN GUTIÉRREZ, prolific Cuban author, visits Montreal.
    English subtitles, 50 min.
    http://faitsdiversmedia.com/atm

    AND your name in the final credits.

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    Pledge CA$ 50 or more About $38

    DVD: Danny Laferrière

    The Gentle Drifting of a Haitian Child, documentary on author, DANNY LAFERRIÈRE.
    English subtitles, 84 min.
    http://faitsdiversmedia.com/ldd

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    Pledge CA$ 55 or more About $41

    DVD: Philémon Chante Havana

    Documentary film about Québecois singer/songwriter, PHILÉMON CIMON.
    English subtitles, 88 min.
    http://faitsdiversmedia.com/pch

    AND your name in the final credits.

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    Pledge CA$ 75 or more About $56

    3 DVDs

    Animal Tropical in Montreal, The Gentle Drifting of a Haitian Child & Philémon Chante Havana

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    Pledge CA$ 90 or more About $68

    Photo from series 'Luces del agua mansa'

    30 x 40 print of photo, signed by Pedro Ruiz

    AND your name in the final credits.

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    Pledge CA$ 100 or more About $75

    Photo from 'A la incertidumbre de reojo'

    30 x 40 print of photo, signed by Pedro Ruiz

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    Pledge CA$ 110 or more About $83

    Photo'Luces del agua mansa II'

    30 x 40 print of photo, signed by Pedro Ruiz

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    Pledge CA$ 200 or more About $150

    Portrait of Pedro Juan Gutiérrez + DVD

    Signed portrait of famed Cuban author and DVD of the documentary Animal Tropical in Montreal.

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    Pledge CA$ 300 or more About $225

    Portrait of Danny Laferrière + DVD

    Signed portrait Danny Laferrière and DVD of documentary The Gentle Drifting of a Haitian Child

    AND your name in the final credits.

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Funding period

- (40 days)