Skateboarding is a globally popular sport that transcends cultural boundaries. But what do we know of Cuba and its skate culture?
Cuba Skate Documentary: Por los Ojos de un Patinador Cubano (Through the Eyes of a Cuban Skater)
150 km south of the United States lies an island inhabited by over 11 million people, the largest island in the Caribbean, yet diplomatic relations with the most powerful nation in the world have been cut off for over 50 years. The embargo has undoubtedly affected many facets of life in Cuba; however, the country continues to excel in sports. Cubans triumph on their World Championship baseball teams and Olympic medals in almost every sport. Sport has always been an integral part of Cuban society. It is the country's natural passion. From baseball to basketball, boxing to volleyball, it is a dominant force that the Cuban people pride themselves on.
Skateboarding is a recent phenomenon, becoming popular among the youth in Havana and other provinces of the country. Although there are no skate shops, and decent skate spots are few and far between, the Cuban skate scene is quickly gaining acceptance amongst larger skate communities, and is growing into something uniquely original. Skateboarding has become a vehicle for optimism, motivation, and positive energy for Cuba’s youth. Since this skateboarding scene has emerged in the face of so many obstacles and uncommon challenges, we know that showing Cuban society through the lens of this generation’s skateboarders would be fascinating and beneficial for Cubans, international skaters, and citizens of the world.
We will travel to Havana to document the emerging skate culture that has steadily progressed in the last decade, and use this relatable subject as a way to communicate and depict the realities of life in Cuba. With the growing relationships we have established in the last few years, we will embark on a raw and honest journey with three of Cuba’s best skaters under the guidance of the Cuban “godfather” of skateboarding.
In the spring of 2010, Miles Jackson and Lauren Bradley, two University of Michigan undergraduates, traveled to Havana on an anthropological study abroad program. They immediately became attached to the young skate community that congregated outside of their residency at a local hangout spot. Since leaving, they have encouraged international skaters and travelers to engage with the Cuban skateboarding community.
Throughout the years, we have gained more and more support from the skate and arts community. Launch Board Shop has donated tons of gear, Sector 9 and Bustin Boards have contributed longboards, and Vans has given us 25 pairs of skate shoes. Additionally, artists such as Oliver Munday, David Iglesias, Sofia Maldonado, Art Under Pressure, and many more have contributed custom-designed skateboards, posters, and other graphics to help our organic growth. We sincerely appreciate these artists, shops, and companies, and look forward to creating new collaborations with musicians and skaters as we produce this documentary. Since 2011, there have been articles on Cuba Skate in Fox News Latino, Yahoo Sports, GOOD Magazine, Howling Hearts, and a host of other blogs.
In July and August of this year, several skaters and filmmakers will be traveling on a people-to-people visa to Havana, Cuba in an effort to document the lives and experiences of Cuban skaters. We will begin by hitting all of Havana’s skate spots, hosting competitions at the local park, and journeying across the country to visit emerging skate communities in other provinces. Throughout the trip, we will be filming and interviewing the skaters, their families, and members of the community, to truly grasp what it is like to be a skater in Cuba.
In addition to our documentary production, we will be working with the skaters and other cinematographers to produce an original skate video. The documentary and skate video will be part of a two-disc production.
We are trying to be conservative, so we have set our goal at $8,000. This reflects the bare minimum needed to finish the project. We need funds to pay for renting equipment, editing, color correction, transportation, and much more. Ideally, if we raise more than our goal, the money will go towards making the film that much more successful. Additional funding will help us pay for marketing costs, festival costs, and will greatly increase our production value as a whole.
In order to make this documentary a finished product, we really need your support! We are leaving for Cuba in July and need to raise the money by then. Watch our trailer, check out our website (www.cubaskate.com), donate, and spread the word to others!
Abrazos, The Cuba Skate Team
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The challenges in any film are always present given the various elements that go into production. This includes not just the communication between individuals that reside in different cities but elements regarding sound editing, color correction and distribution reach. Once in Cuba, specific challenges might include delays of meetings and logistical changes. Cuba is another tempo of life, which is something we are prepared to patiently work with. Miles has been to Cuba many times and has not just an extensive network of contacts but a solid grasp of how things work. Our film crew is eclectic when it comes to work diversity, ranging from work in Brazil to Haiti. Setting up this documentary alone was a challenge given that 98% of people in the country do not have Internet. We are confident that we have the range of skills and experience to take on this great opportunity that will be an immense amount of work but so much fun at the same time!
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