About this project
WE MADE IT! Now that our project is fully funded we will use any additional funds we can get to make a KILLER SOUNDTRACK for this film! Learn more about our project below:
Discover a tasteful documentary road trip through the island of Cuba.
Cuba is changing. After more than 50 years of isolation due to the embargo, the forbidden island is finally opening up to the United States. Celebrities, brands, religious leaders, and politicians are now rushing to visit. But very little is known about all aspects of our caribbean country. With this in mind, we set out to produce a unique film. From some of the Executive Producers of JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI comes a comprehensive food documentary that captures the true and unadulterated flavors of Cuba, the hidden gems and secrets of an island on the brink of change.
Cuban Food Stories is the first feature length documentary about food, society, and culture on the island of Cuba. Over the course of 45 days, we went on a road-trip adventure all around the island to discover the authentic Cuban cuisine. We had unprecedented access to regions that are so remote that you can only get there by raft, horseback, or swimming. Over and over, from the middle of nowhere to the big cities, we found authentic Cuban stories surrounding food. One example is the humble Cuban family we met in the far east of Cuba, as they enjoy a delicious meal of river shrimp with coconut milk and hearts of palm. !Que rico!
Our journey took us through every province in Cuba, where we found twelve unique food stories which serve as the backbone of the film. A street vendor that lives from carnival to carnival, a nuclear physicist turned fisherman to provide for his family, a tobacco farmer and his family on New Year’s Eve, a boutique hostel owner in Trinidad, an artist turned restauranteur, a makeup artist that left the comforts of the city and moved to the mountains with the love of her life, a coffee plantation owner who is only 12 years old, and a coconut farmer that composes boleros… These are some of the stories we captured in stunning 4K resolution.
Director’s Statement - Why I’m making this film.
I am a filmmaker. I am a Cuban living in the United States. I love to travel, but above everything, I LOVE FOOD! Ever since I can remember, I have had a passion for discovering and creating new flavors. Growing up in Cuba in the 90s this was more like a curse. Our country was very poor and we were going through a dark decade ironically called “The Special Period.” I still don’t know what was “special” about it. During those years, there was basically nothing to eat. Many people considered themselves lucky if they got to eat some bread and “milordo” (a mix of water and brown sugar) just once a day.
Even now, Cubans are still in the middle of a very complicated relationship with food. Years of hardship have made it difficult to keep culinary traditions alive, and as such, people all around the world, including myself, started to speculate that there was no real Cuban cuisine on the island anymore. And while that statement may have some truth in highly populated cities like Havana, the countryside is another story. What we found during production is that hidden away in all corners of the island, the pillars of authentic Cuban flavors are flourishing!
We started our research over a year ago, and the deeper we went, the more gems we discovered. Indeed, Cuban food is much more than rice, beans, and pork! Even in Havana, a new generation of restauranteurs are starting to reshape the core concept of Cuban cuisine. But information is very hard to access, disorganized, and often non-existent on the island. Not even Cubans living in Cuba know about the strong culinary traditions in towns such as Baracoa or Gibara. The story of food in Cuba is as divided as its politics.
Because of this, I strongly believe that our film is an important and timely documentary. This film brings to the screen, for the first time ever, the unknown Cuban flavors, while at the same time capturing an exciting time in Cuban history.
Creating positive awareness
Cuba, in many ways, is like a white canvas compared to most developing countries. There are no big franchises like McDonald's, Starbucks, or Walmart. While most of the food being cultivated in Cuba is still organic, it’s not by conscious choice, just by default. Monsanto and big agriculture have not yet made their way onto the island. As Cuba continues to open up to the world and more international companies set up shop on the island, its valuable traditions may be lost. With our film, we will create positive awareness around the value of Cuba's culinary heritage. We need to be an active participant in the conversation about change in Cuba and help the people of Cuba realize the value of keeping these traditions alive. The misunderstood concept of “going before it changes” must be re-purposed into an understanding of being proactive to help Cuba thrive rather than sold to the highest bidder. Cuba risks losing its tradition and the types of stories we've captured in our film, if we're not involved in the conversation surrounding the fast economic and agricultural development that is about to happen. We ask that you support our project so we can be a positive force in the next phase of Cuban development.
Tax Deductible Donations and our Fiscal Sponsor
We are extremely happy to be partnering with a fiscal sponsor, the Sundial Film Initiative, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Through this sponsorship, we are able to offer tax deductible donations in varying levels for your financial support. The portion of your donation that will be tax deductible will depend on the fair market value of any rewards given to you. For example, if you donate $100 and choose a reward valued at $20, the tax deductible portion of your donation would be $80. If on the other hand, you choose “No Reward” or one of our higher level gifts in exchange for a producer credit, the full amount of your donation will be tax deductible. Please contact us for further clarity about tax deduction opportunities.
Our goal is to make this film available to as wide an audience as possible, AND SOON! There is a huge lack of information about Cuba and people want to know more. We think our film will help educate people and will allow them to go on an incredible adventure... and leave their mouths watering for a taste of authentic Cuban flavor! Que Sabrosa!
Now that the film is completely shot, we need funds for post-production. With your support, we will be able to edit, sound mix, and color grade the film so we can release it later this year. Every contribution counts and we have great rewards for all levels of support!
Who we are
Asori Soto - Director / Producer - Asori is a Producer/Director with a true passion for travel and films. He began his career as an active founder of the Cuban Indie Film Movement producing and directing two independent feature films. Asori later moved to Los Angeles where he produced everything from low-budget to multi-million dollar commercial campaigns for clients such as Airbnb, Toyota VW, Coors, Verizon, T-Mobile, Heinz or AT&T. Asori is currently focused on creating compelling long and short form documentary projects in the United States and abroad. He lives and works in New York City.
Joey Carey - Executive Producer - Joey is a Producer/Director and founding partner of Sundial Pictures. He has worked on a variety of narrative and documentary films including Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Welcome to Leith, Obvious Child, and Pariah. Sundial Pictures has shown films at festivals including Sundance, Berlin, SXSW, Tribeca, and Toronto. Upcoming releases include Jack of the Red Hearts and The Seventh Fire. His latest production credits include the feature film Youth In Oregon and the documentary The Organizer. He lives and works in New York City.
Gilliam de la Torre - Director of Photography - Gigi is a Director of Photography who studied cinematography at the Art Institute ISA in Havana and completed most of the cinematography workshops in EICTV International Film School San Antonio de los Baños. She has worked as still photographer for feature films and publicity, as photographer for theater magazines and as cinematographer for short films, music videos, and mostly for documentaries. Her passion is traveling around the world documenting places, people and animals in a poetic mixture of sounds and images. Originally from Havana, she lives and works in New York City (for now).
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk we had was to actually execute our production in Cuba... but we successfully finished last month! Now our next biggest challenge is time. We want to make this film available as soon as possible, while Cuba is still being “discovered” by the outside world. We want to be a part of the contemporary conversation about a transitioning Cuba. We shot a very ambitious project and we have 12 stories to edit out of the 60+ hours of footage. We have a professional creative team involved who will work around the clock to overcome any delays that may come, but we need your help to make this dream a reality!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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