We started our last day of shooting at the John Lennon park in the Vedado District, where a full-time guard insures that no one steals the steel rimmed green tinted circular glasses mounted on Lennon’s statue. By chance we bumped into someone I admire—Ivan Napoles, cinematographer for Santiago Alvarez, the godfather of Cuban documentary. Ivan was one of the founders of ICAIC, the government institute for filmmakers. He was profiled in Isabel Santos’ beautiful doc, El Pais Que Ya No Existe, (The Country That is No More), which I saw when it played alongside HAVANA CURVEBALL at the Havana Film fest in 2014. The film crosscuts between Ivan’s footage of Vietnam during the war (16mm black and white material he shot in the late 1960’s) and his return visit to the country more than 40 years later. Ivan is a man of many images but few words; Solis, my cinematographer and Isabel’s husband, told me that Isabel spent two years convincing Ivan to participate in her film. Isabel, Solis, Marcia and I will have more to talk about next week in New York, as our film and Isabel’s film are both screening at the Havana NY Film Festival.
Production went well. Claudia Bueno, our Cuban Field Producer, and I prepared a reasonable shooting schedule with built-in breaks, critical for a hot day in Havana. It is a city where a cold drink break at an outdoor cafe is interrupted numerous times by this director, that soundman, this artist coming over to hug and kiss and chat with one or all of our crew members. Several glasses of juice and beer later, (the beer here is tasty and weak), we finished our filming with Ivan Soca, the subject of the first film of our series, (R)Evolution Cuba. That title, by the way, has sparked some good discussions. Several of our stalwart supporters back home are upset that we would appropriate that word for our title, even with the parentheses. Nearly everyone I’ve asked here loves it. A few from the older generation, who have a different relationship with the revolution, think we should find a better title. There is no consensus. Please weigh in with comments.