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Based in Havana

  • Oloman Next Door 10225 Joseph Campau Ave. Hamtramck, MI 48212 (map)

Co-Presented with Mothlight Microcinema

Through a range of differing and subjective perspectives on the complexities of present-day Cuba, a group of documentary filmmakers from the renowned International School of Film and Television (EICTV), craft multiple narratives in collaboration with local production crews and one another. Made within the confines of a specific geographical and temporal frame, the shorts series Based in Havana, marries visions of the outsider looking in with those of the insider looking out, creating nuanced views of contemporary realities, often cast one dimensionally. Myriad tensions ripple across hastily-built relationships, varied perceptions, social, political and historical allegiances—producing multi-layered explorations of representation, the ephemerality of truth, and the strengths and limitations of the documentary form.

Shorts Program

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Ciudad de Cartón (Cardboard City)
2017 | 10 min

This film explores the present-day complexities of Havana, a city that lives relentlessly in its isolated present, suspended between the iconographic trappings of its proud and colorful past, and the realities of its uncertain future as it faces having to make the big decisions that will shape the country’s social and political landscape. The observational camera invites the audience to exhaust themselves in the city’s dilapidated Caribe postcard world before dragging them across its façade and into its complex interior, a place where the performance stops and where isolation and emptiness permeate questions around the contemporary Cuban identity. Ciudad de Carton is a sensorial exploration of the contrasting dual realities at play in present-day Havana.

Co-Directors: Richie Benson, Louise Bernard, Richard Sharman, Daniel Gomez Uribe

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Como Soy (As I Am)
2017 | 10 min

Filmed in Havana, Como Soy – As I Am - shows the everyday lives of three people and their experience of profound blindness. But its focus is on different ways of seeing - the legacy of the revolution and its consequences for those with disabilities; the choices facing contemporary Cuba, and the light and shade of our rights and responsibilities as members of society.

Co-Directors: Sabrina Fuller, Joanna Pritchard, Annie Maguire

Eggun (The Dead)
2017 | 10 min

Dolls, commonly viewed as a benign cultural object, are integral to everyday religious practice among Santería initiates in Cuba. Traditionally, dolls are animated by ancestral spirits that guide and protect the spirit mediums who care for them. Once made of cloth through local craft production, today plastic manufactured dolls, embody the dead. Weaving the narratives of three spirit mediums and a dressmaker based in Havana, Cuba, this documentary centers an overlooked aspect of Cuban faith. Through their stories, the intimate relationship between mediums and their dolls unfolds—a journey that winds from the doll’s purchase in a ration economy, their spiritual and aesthetic preparation, and the transfer of spiritual power onto their owners.

Co-Directors: Rubin Whitmore II, Adriana Guiman, Raquel Anta, Mary Pena

En El Medio (In-Between)
2017 | 13 min

In the most famous area of Havana, called "Acera de Louvre", between the hotel Inglaterra and Telegrafo stands a building inhabited by Cuban families. It’s said that in this building, in the 1863, young Cubans used to meet and express their political ideals regarding the separation from Spain. They were called "Muchacos de la Acera del Louvre". According to the Cuban state, locals and tourism should live together. This short documentary tells the stories of four families that live between hotels, in an area crowded with tourists, in a universe of their own. The attempts of renovating the building failed so far, but people keep their faith in the authorities and in the communist ideology. A famous actor, a horologist, a former teacher and a couple of former cabaret workers share their opinion about these realities, while they are watching the evening telenovela. Their stories are intertwined with the silent story of the building as a character. The film was shot as a side project during the documentary film workshop in July 2017. The idea of this project was supported and produced by Rubin Whitmore II, Gemma Thorpe, Rich Broome and Mary Pena.

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En La Sangre (In The Blood)
2017 | 6 min

An affectionate portrait of an eight-year-old boxer and his father, En la Sangre shows the value of sport to an everyday family in Habana Vieja.


Co-Directors: Gemma Thorpe, Daniel Cuty, Rosie Holliday

Fidelista Sin Fidel (Fidelista without Fidel)
2017 | 10 min

A story of two revolutionaries on life under Fidel Castro and what they see for the future of Cuba. Colonel Henry Pérez Martínez was a war pilot and worked closely with and under the command of Fidel Castro for his entire career. Today he is a manager at a privately-owned Indian restaurant in Havana, Cuba. Colonel Ezequiel Torres Tejeda was a spy and and worked in clandestine operations across the world during Fidel Castro's regime. Today he works in Internal security for the government. This is the first interview for both Colonel Henry Pérez Martínez and Colonel Ezequiel Torres Tejeda. This film was made by four international students at EICTV over the summer of 2017. The film was censored by the international school.

Co-Directors: Amba Batra Bakshi, Raquel Anta, Richa Rai, Alexandra Nagy

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Obini Batá: Women of the Drums
2017 | 14 min

In Havana, Cuba a multigenerational group of women defies convention and religious taboos by playing the Bata drums. Together, they balance motherhood, family life, rehearsals, and performances while inspiring a new artistic tradition.

Directed by Damián Calvo
Produced by Irene Mendez
With Obini Bata, Daniela R De Armas, Melena Francis, Frank Oropesa, Eva Despaigne

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Duo Impacto

2017 | 8 min

Duo Impacto follows a lesbian couple who subvert gender expectations through drag king performance. 


Co-Directors: Molly Harding, Miranda Everingham, Alexandra Nagy

Earlier Event: November 15
THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED
Later Event: November 29
LADY SNOWBLOOD - Free Screening!