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A million thanks to our backers!  If you missed the campaign, you can still WATCH the trailer and SUPPORT (R)evolution CUBA at: http://www.patchworksfilms.net/revolution-cuba.
A million thanks to our backers!  If you missed the campaign, you can still WATCH the trailer and SUPPORT (R)evolution CUBA at: http://www.patchworksfilms.net/revolution-cuba.
289 backers pledged $35,741 to help bring this project to life.

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REVOLUTION CUBA: Stories of Art & Change

$35,741

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A MILLION THANKS to all those who helped us reach our goal. Your enthusiasm and vote of confidence buoys us along as we head back to Cuba to shoot the first film in the series and lay the groundwork for the rest. 

We are honored and humbled to be able to tell these stories. Filmmaking always takes a village, and you are a vital part of ours.

For those who are new to our page, read on. We hope you'll join us in bringing you stories of Cuba's cultural vanguard.

                                     •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Rum. Jazz. Vintage Cars. Island paradise or island prison? We read about the shortages, the lack of opportunities, the expected regime change and potentially lucrative business deals, the tourist invasion and the Cuban exodus. Lost is the remarkable tension felt across the country between widespread revolutionary ideals of equality and the alluring opportunities of capitalism. Where is the Cuban point of view? This is the genesis of (R)EVOLUTION CUBA—six short films tracking the experience of Cuban artists navigating their country’s evolution.

Photo by Ivan Soca Pascual.
Photo by Ivan Soca Pascual.

Why focus on artists? Unlike countries where art is a fringe activity, art is central to Cuba's national identity. The small island of 12 million people has outsized influence in dance and music around the world. At the cultural vanguard in any country, artists are some of Cuba's most salient ambassadors, with a history of crossing divides created by the 50+ year embargo. To bring currency into an ailing economy, Cuban artists have been among the first to have opportunities to travel, to sell and perform their work, and for some, to push the limits of free expression. Our characters are unique, dynamic, and visually compelling. Their stories open a window onto a Cuba seldom seen in the USA.

Obama announces a new era in US-Cuba relations at a Havana cafe.
Obama announces a new era in US-Cuba relations at a Havana cafe.

We’ve had the privilege of multiple visits to Cuba over the past year. Ken showed our last documentary feature, HAVANA CURVEBALL, at the Havana International Film Festival on December 17, 2014, the very day Obama and Raúl Castro made their surprise announcement that the USA and Cuba would move towards normalizing their relationship. Ken has traveled there four times since then, touring the island with our film and shooting our new short, WHEEL OF LIFE/La Rueda de la Vida

El Oso, one of the Founders of Casino de Rueda featured in PatchWorks' new short, "Wheel of Life."
El Oso, one of the Founders of Casino de Rueda featured in PatchWorks' new short, "Wheel of Life."

We have engaged with our audiences, made close friends, and heard stories that are nowhere to be found in American media. We want to share these with you.

WHAT WE NEED

Nearly 300 backers helped us reach our Kickstarter goal to fund the first film in the series and then some. We are actively seeking donors and allies to produce the entire series and make sure these stories of Cuban artists get the attention they deserve.

With Cuba all the mainstream media buzz --Obama's visit, talk of finally closing GITMO, the first ever Rolling Stones concert on the island, a Major League baseball game in Havana, the migrant crisis—the sooner we roll out these nuanced stories told from a Cuban point of view, the better.

Here's how we'll spend funds raised through this campaign:

Your support on Kickstarter will enable us to to travel to Cuba this spring to finish filming and editing Ivan's story, and lay the ground work for the remaining episodes of the series. We work with a fantastic Cuban crew, and plan to do our color correction and sound mix in Havana for the first time. We will be back with a new film to share with you early in the summer!

Through the good graces of our fiscal sponsor, the Center for Independent Documentary, all contributions are TAX DEDUCTIBLE, and we have some pretty cool rewards—many generously donated by supporters who value our work.

THE TEAM

Filmmakers, Marcia Jarmel & Ken Schneider
Filmmakers, Marcia Jarmel & Ken Schneider

Ken Schneider (director/producer/editor) is a Peabody-winning producer who believes in the power of documentaries to move people. His passions are stories of war and peace, human rights, artists’ lives, and Cuba. In addition to his feature and short work for PatchWorks, Ken has edited over 35 feature length documentaries for PBS, HBO, Al-Jazeera, and others. Films he edited have been nominated for an Oscar and multiple Emmys, and won prime-time and documentary Emmys, a Columbia-Dupont, two Peabodys, an Indie Spirit award and top awards at the Sundance Film Festival. (See www.kenschneidereditor.net for details.)

In addition to her PatchWorks work, Marcia Jarmel (co-director/producer/writer) worked as consulting producer on HBO’s Emmy-nominated "50 Children," consultant to Academy Award nominee "Last Day of Freedom," and IFP Mentor to "The Last Season." Other credits include co-editing the Academy-award nominee,"For Better or For Worse," and assistant producing the Academy Award nominees, "Berkeley in the Sixties" and "Freedom on My Mind." She is also an impact consultant for documentary filmmakers.

We are PatchWorks Films (www.patchworksfilms.net). For more than 20 years we have created award-winning documentaries exploring contemporary social issues through intimate character stories that build innovative partnerships for strategic use with organizations and educators. Our films have broadcast worldwide and shown at museums, libraries, schools, universities, community centers, conferences, and film festivals. Our previous documentary features include: THE RETURN OF SARAH’S DAUGHTERS, BORN IN THE USA, SPEAKING IN TONGUES, and HAVANA CURVEBALL. (R)EVOLUTION CUBA is PatchWorks' 8th collaboration.

In Cuba we work with a fabulous experienced crew that includes Cuba’s pre-eminent documentary cinematographer, Roberto Chile, veteran sound man, Javier Figueroa, and one of Cuba’s hottest jazz pianists, Harold López-Nussa, who is composing music for the series.

Cinematographer Roberto Chile and Sound man Javier Figueroa.
Cinematographer Roberto Chile and Sound man Javier Figueroa.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

You are an essential partner in the filmmaking practice. Here are ways you can help us support and build audience for these Cuban stories.

  • Back us at any level. Every contribution gets us closer to our goal and builds momentum for the project.
  • Share this page with your social network.  We're on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and we are writing a blog where we tell stories, share anecdotes, and even some footage from the project's journey. 
  • Help us broaden our network.  Forward our email to a handful of friends and let them know why you are backing the project. Introduce us to a friend who is a patron of the arts, has a family foundation, writes for a relevant blog or publication, or works at a related organization.
  • Host a house party. Invite a few friends over for mojitos to screen a sneak preview of WHEEL OF LIFE and watch our Kickstarter trailer. We'll join you, if we can, or Skype in for a Q & A if we can't. Email info@patchworksfilms.net for details.

OUR COMMITMENT

A family story originally brought us to Cuba. Ken’s dad was given refuge there as a child during WWII before the USA opened its doors to him. The story of HAVANA CURVEBALL, our first Cuban film, follows our son’s circuitous efforts to thank Cuba by sending baseball gear to kids who share his love of the game. We had a remarkable experience there and returned to share the film last spring. In all honestly, we were concerned how Cubans would respond to this story of an idealistic young middle class boy from the U.S. with a perhaps naïve idea about how he might help. What we found instead were open hearts, open minds, and a door opening to real friendships with a broad range of Cubans.

After the diplomatic shift in December 2014, things began to change. More tourists. More money. The internet arrived last summer. There was a palpable sense of possibility there, yet back home we hear about business opportunities and the same 50-year-old debate about the best way to foster regime change. The Cubans we met are deeply proud of their values, their artistic achievements, their way of life. They want change—and self-determination.

Our Cuban friends have generously shared their stories with us and we are committed to bringing them to you. We bring 20 years experience making and distributing films to the task. We invite you to join us in building more understanding between Cuba and the world outside.

REWARDS

Original painting by world famous Cuban artist, KCHO.
Original painting by world famous Cuban artist, KCHO.
Wheel of Life, PatchWorks' soon-to-be released Cuban short, featuring the Founders of Rueda de Casino.
Wheel of Life, PatchWorks' soon-to-be released Cuban short, featuring the Founders of Rueda de Casino.
Choose from one of three archival quality Cuban photographs.  © Linda J. Hirsch
Choose from one of three archival quality Cuban photographs. © Linda J. Hirsch
One of several signed Cuban books translated by Dick Cluster.
One of several signed Cuban books translated by Dick Cluster.
One of two photography posters by Ivan Soca Pascual, the photographer featured in the first (R)EVOLUTION CUBA SHORT.
One of two photography posters by Ivan Soca Pascual, the photographer featured in the first (R)EVOLUTION CUBA SHORT.
Original photograph of Jazz piano legend, Chucho Valdes.  © Rick Swig
Original photograph of Jazz piano legend, Chucho Valdes. © Rick Swig
Original  music by (R)EVOLUTION CUBA's composer,  rising star Harold López-Nussa.  © Rick Swig
Original music by (R)EVOLUTION CUBA's composer, rising star Harold López-Nussa. © Rick Swig
HAVANA CURVEBALL, PatchWorks' first Cuban feature documentary. Pre-release Home Video DVD.
HAVANA CURVEBALL, PatchWorks' first Cuban feature documentary. Pre-release Home Video DVD.

Risks and challenges

Make no mistake - every film project is a feat of endurance. We know that from experience and are passionate and determined. We are fortunate to have a terrific Cuban crew, a dedicated support network, and 20+ years of experience meeting production challenges head on.

The shadow of nearly 60 years of USA-Cuba acrimony precedes us. We have heard stories of mistrust of American film and music producers, who have taken from Cuban culture and given nothing in return. This is a violation of our core values. We have built strong friendships and creative collaborations, forged in seven trips to the island. Working closely with our characters to portray their authentic experience is critical to us. It deepens the inquiry and fine tunes the story. Authenticity in storytelling is fundamental to our work.

Even though Ken's Spanish is excellent, we know that a misunderstanding can sever a relationship. Our translator, Ernesto, is a multilingual professor at the University of Havana. He accompanies us to meetings and shoots, not just to translate the words, but to make sure we understand their underlying cultural meaning.

The U.S. embargo is still in place, and imposes limitations and inconveniences—travel requires advanced planning, money transactions are regulated. But we have consulted with attorneys and have been assured there are no issues with our plans.

Cuba has a very accomplished film culture of its own. Rarely do those films make it to the USA. (R)EVOLUTION CUBA can help bridge the divide by conveying thoughtful, insightful Cuban stories, expressed by Cuban voices.

We welcome your thoughts and questions. Please feel free to write us at kickstarter@patchworksfilms.net.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Thank you! You will receive our heartfelt thanks for your support, a tax deduction, and a social media shout out. Donors above $10 will receive an esteemed place on the (R)EVOLUTION CUBA website's Wall of Honor.

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    ADVANCE SCREENING OF LA RUEDA DE CASINO SHORT FILM. Donors at this level receive a 1-month opportunity to stream PatchWorks' soon to be released short film about the legendary Cuban Casino de Rueda founder, El Oso. You will also receive a tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, and a social media shout out.

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    RISING JAZZ PIANO STAR. 10 lucky donors will receive a near-impossible-to-find CD by Harold López-Nussa, (R)EVOLUTION CUBA's composer and one of Cuba's jazz piano superstars, virtually unknown in the U.S.A.

    Also, donors at this level will receive a 1-month opportunity to stream PatchWorks' soon to be released short film about the legendary Cuban Casino de Rueda founder, El Oso. You will also receive a tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, and a social media shout out.

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    THE MYSTERY MUSIC REWARD. Donors at this level will receive a CD of one of Cuba's hottest pop musicians, virtually unknown in the U.S.A. Discover hot music, good rhythm, soulful lyrics.

    All donors at this level will receive a 1-month opportunity to stream PatchWorks' soon to be released short film about the legendary Cuban Casino de Rueda founder, El Oso. You will also receive a tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, and a social media shout out.

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    PATCHWORKS CUBAN FEATURE DOC. A personal use licensed DVD of PatchWorks' award-winning feature documentary, HAVANA CURVEBALL. Called "an inspiring documentary that leaves an impact," in the School Library Journals Top 10 list this is a heart warming story that has played to audiences around the world. Not yet available for home use, you will receive an advance copy and a tax deduction to boot.

    All donors at this level will receive a 1-month opportunity to stream PatchWorks' soon to be released short film about the legendary Cuban Casino de Rueda founder, El Oso. You will also receive a tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, and a social media shout out.

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    WHEEL OF LIFE. Donors will receive their own advance DVD of PatchWorks soon-to-be released short film featuring El OSO, one of the legendary founders of Cuba's world-popular Rueda de Casino dance.

    You will also receive a tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, and a social media shout out.

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    ROCHY ALBUM REWARD. Donors at this level will receive a CD of one of Cuba's most beloved musicians - Rochy Ameneiro’s work is virtually unavailable in the U.S.A. Discover Rochy's beguiling voice, rhythmic beats, soulful lyrics and peace-driven mission.

    The remarkable Rochy Ameneiro leads a countercurrent musical project aimed at strengthening the culture of peace framed within a national Cuba campaign to combat violence against women. Ken and Marcia had an incredible experience working and touring Cuba with Rochy in April 2015. Ameneiro’s heartfelt lyrics transcend language, as she uses her singer-songwriter gift to bridge boundaries. Her remarkable work, poised as a counter-current revolution, aims to educate audiences on the common responsibility we all share in combatting domestic violence.

    Contribute $55 today to receive a ROCHY album, a tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, and a social media shout out.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    EXCLUSIVE SOUND TRACK. Be one of a limited group to own the original soundtrack for (R)EVOLUTION CUBA, composed by acclaimed Cuban jazz pianist, Harold López-Nussa.

    A tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, a social media shout out and an esteemed place on the (R)evolution Cuba website's Wall of Honor, are included.

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    HISTORY OF HAVANA book signed by D. Cluster (co-authored with Cuban writer R. Hernández).

    "This colorful work explains the singular allure of Havana . . . What makes it compelling is how effectively Cluster and Hernandez convey the personality of the city."
    - Chicago Sun-Times

    A tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, a social media shout out and an esteemed place on the (R)evolution Cuba website's Wall of Honor, are included.

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    ORIGINAL POSTER featuring the work of Ivan Soca Pascual, the remarkably talented Cuban photographer featured in the first (R)EVOLUTION CUBA film whose work is not available elsewhere in the U.S.

    A tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, a social media shout out and an esteemed place on the (R)evolution Cuba website's Wall of Honor, are included.

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    EXCLUSIVE CONTENT. You will receive access to password-protected additional scenes from PatchWorks' first Cuban feature documentary, "HAVANA CURVEBALL," and an exclusive, live group chat with the filmmakers.

    Donors will also receive a 1-month opportunity to stream PatchWorks' soon-to-be released short film about the legendary Cuban Casino de Rueda founder, El Oso.

    A tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, a social media shout out and an esteemed place on the (R)evolution Cuba website's Wall of Honor, are included.

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    CORNER OF THE WORLD book signed by English translator D. Cluster (authored by contemporary Cuban novelist, Mylene Fernández-Pintado).

    "In thoughtfully chosen words—just those needed, and no more—Mylene Fernandez offers us a magnificent gift. Her story of lost love and the difficult pursuit of literature is at the same time an X-ray of life in Havana, set in a present where glimpses of the future have not yet arrived."—Leonardo Padura, author of The Man Who Loved Dogs and the Mario Conde novels of Havana

    A tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, a social media shout out and an esteemed place on the (R)evolution Cuba website's Wall of Honor, are included.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    (R)EVOLUTION CUBA SHORT FILM. You will be among the first to receive a DVD of the first (R)EVOLUTION CUBA short, featuring Ivan Soca Pascual, in a story about cars, money, art, and socialism.

    A tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, a social media shout out and an esteemed place on the (R)evolution Cuba website's Wall of Honor, are included.

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    EXCLUSIVE BAY AREA PARTY. Donors at this level will receive an invite to our Kickstarter Wrap Party at a San Francisco salsa club. You can meet the filmmakers and be the first to see our soon-to-be released short film featuring El OSO, one of the legendary founders of Cuba's world-popular Rueda de Casino dance. West African dinner included. After our party, stay for a no-host bar and salsa night.

    A tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, a social media shout out and an esteemed place on the (R)evolution Cuba website's Wall of Honor, are included.

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    ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPHY. Fresh from a debut exhibit in Havana last December, you will receive an original 11' x 14' photograph of Cuban jazz greats Chucho Valdes OR Omara Portuondo, signed by photographer, Rick Swig, (R)EVOLUTION CUBA's executive producer, and close friend of the musicians.

    A tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, a social media shout out and an esteemed place on the (R)evolution Cuba website's Wall of Honor, are included.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    THE COMBO. In addition to a personal use DVD of the first (R)EVOLUTION CUBA short, featuring photographer Ivan Soca Pascual, you will receive the series original soundtrack, created by acclaimed Cuban jazz pianist Harold López-Nussa.

    A tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, a social media shout out and an esteemed place on the (R)evolution Cuba website's Wall of Honor, are included.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    THE PATCHWORKS COLLECTION. Donors at this level will receive personal DVDs of all of PatchWorks productions (see www.patchworksfilms.net for details) along with our heartfelt thanks, a social media shout out, a tax deduction, and an esteemed place on the (R)EVOLUTION CUBA's web Wall of Honor.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPHY. Fresh from a debut in Havana last December, you will receive an original 16 x 20 photograph of Cuban jazz greats, Chucho Valdes OR Omara Portuondo, signed by photographer Rick Swig, R)EVOLUTION CUBA's executive producer, and close friends of the musicians.

    A tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, a social media shout out and an esteemed place on the (R)evolution Cuba website's Wall of Honor, are included.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    THE ART LOVER. Two tickets to the premiere of (R)EVOLUTION CUBA , an advance DVD of the Ivan Soca short, and a special thanks on the film's credits. Travel expenses not included.

    A tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, a social media shout out and an esteemed place on the (R)evolution Cuba website's Wall of Honor, are included.

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    ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPH by Linda J. Hirsch, a photographer immersed in an exploration of Cuba since 2001. Her work has garnered numerous awards, grants, exhibits and commissions. For info about the artist: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/voice-peoplevoz-del-pueblo-linda-j-hirsch

    You'll choose one of three images. Comes matted, ready for framing.
    archival print: 16”h x 11 ¼”w b&w silver halide
    archival mat: 20”h x 16”w

    A tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, a social media shout out and an esteemed place on the (R)evolution Cuba website's Wall of Honor, are included.

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    ORIGINAL KCHO ART from the world famous Cuban artist (one of only two Cuban artists included in NY MOMA's collection).

    2001. Paint on Canvas. Comes with letter of authenticity. Approximately 14" x 30."

    A tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, a social media shout out, an esteemed place on the (R)evolution Cuba website's Wall of Honor, and a special thanks in the film's credits are included.

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    TWO-HOUR EDITING CONSULT with Peabody-Winning documentary editor and (R)EVOLUTION CUBA director, Ken Schneider. (See www.kenschneidereditor.net for more information about his work.)

    Ken will watch up to 90-minutes of film and spend 2 hours in a consultation. In person consult available in SF Bay Area. Out-of-town consults will be held via livestream.

    A tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, a social media shout out and an esteemed place on the (R)evolution Cuba website's Wall of Honor, plus an invitation to our San Francisco Kickstarter Wrap Party are included.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    THE PATRON. You will receive two VIP tickets to the premiere of (R)EVOLUTION CUBA and a special thanks on the film's credits. Travel not included.

    Additionally, you will receive a DVD of the series, a personal use DVD of the first (R)EVOLUTION CUBA short, featuring Ivan Soca Pascual. You will also receive a personal copy of the series' original soundtrack, created by acclaimed jazz pianist Harold López-Nussa.

    A tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, a social media shout out and an esteemed place on the (R)evolution Cuba website's Wall of Honor, plus an invitation to our San Francisco Kickstarter Wrap Party are included.

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    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    THE ASSOCIATE PRODUCER. Your name will be prominently featured in the series' credits and poster as an Associate Producer. Plus you will be invited to a private in-person meeting or Skype call with the directors, and receive two VIP tickets to the series premiere. Travel expenses not included.

    Additionally, you will receive a DVD of the series, a personal use DVD of the first (R)EVOLUTION CUBA short, featuring Ivan Soca Pascual. You will also receive a personal copy of the series' original soundtrack, created by acclaimed jazz pianist Harold López-Nussa.

    A tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, a social media shout out and an esteemed place on the (R)evolution Cuba website's Wall of Honor, plus an invitation to our San Francisco Kickstarter Wrap Party are included.

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    Pledge US$ 10,000 About US$ 10,000

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER. For you remarkable people helping this project take wing, this is an opportunity to be honored at the premiere, see your name prominently displayed on the series' credits and poster, and receive IMDB credit. You will have the opportunity to work with the filmmakers on the series' launch and distribution, and, of course, you will receive two VIP tickets to the series premiere. Travel expenses not included.

    Additionally, you will receive a DVD of the series, a personal use DVD of the first (R)EVOLUTION CUBA short, featuring Ivan Soca Pascual. You will also receive a personal copy of the series' original soundtrack, created by acclaimed jazz pianist Harold López-Nussa.

    A tax deduction, our heartfelt thanks, a social media shout out and an esteemed place on the (R)evolution Cuba website's Wall of Honor, plus an invitation to our San Francisco Kickstarter Wrap Party are included.

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Funding period

- (30 days)