Al Jazeera to broadcast series "My Cuba"

Posted: 02-Sep-16 13:01

Doha-based network, Al Jazeera will broadcast a series of short films recreating stories that reflect Cuba's spirit through the eyes of six different people. With the title of "My Cuba", this audiovisual will offer insight into the diverse and culturally rich life of the island's society as it faces ongoing transformations.

Al Jazeera to broadcast series "My Cuba"

After Raul Castro became President of Cuba in 2008, a number of changes have taken place in Cuba under the purpose of updating of the economic model and transforming the economic and political system into a prosperous and sustainable socialism.

Since 2013, many reforms were put into practice in order to improve the economic situation and make it more diverse and flexible. Since December 2014, when President Obama announced his intention of re-establishing diplomatic bonds with Cuba after fifty years of hostility, the transformations within the island have grown even deeper.

My Cuba” shows how different members of Cuban society live through these ongoing changes. Six people star in the six different stories that make up the series, which has already started to air this week through Al Jazeera broadcasting, starting with Panfilo and continuing with Laura Rodriguez.

Six Cubans share their story

Al Jazeera is a Doha-based broadcaster owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network. Initially launched as an Arabic news and current affairs satellite TV channel, Al Jazeera has since expanded into a network with several outlets, including the Internet and specialty TV channels in multiple languages.

Six Cubans share their story

From the comedy and ballet worlds of the capital Havana, to the mountains of the Sierra Maestra, to a neighbourhood showdown in Remedios, “My Cuba” is a personal look at the pleasures and struggles of six different people's Cuba. Before the series launches on TV, the different characters have all commented on what Cuba is to them, and how their story will be portrayed in this film.

  1. Luis Silva: Being Panfilo

    Luis Silva: Being Panfilo

    Currently Cuba’s most loved and popular comedian, Luis Daniel Silva will use his famous character Panfilo once more, to reflect the issues and positive aspects of life in this Caribbean country.

    During his visit to the island, President Obama even made an appearance on his TV show, which sparked up the laughter and appreciation of Cubans and foreigners who watched it. Before arriving to Cuba, the comedian and US President had already filmed a funny conversation through the phone, from Panfilo’s house in Old Havana to the White House.

    “My Cuba is this character I’ve created, Panfilo. It’s what inspired me to create this character. My Cuba is my audience; it’s the fans who love my work. My Cuba is comedy, and the comedians of our country.”

  2. Laura Rodriguez: To Dance

    Laura Rodriguez: To Dance

    This ballet dancer will be a reflection of Cuba’s youth as well as the discipline and beauty of its artistic world. Classical ballet is one of the island’s most treasured art forms, with its National Ballet being among one of the most prestigious companies in the world that has gained international praise for its quality.

    This young girl is a rising star at Acosta Danza, the company founded by former leading dancer of UK’s Royal Ballet. She stated:

    “My Cuba is my home, my family, my friends, my profession. My Cuba is classical ballet. My Cuba is all the people who made it possible for me to be here today and probably tomorrow in any part of the world.”

    The documentary shows ballet dancers’ reality through the eyes of Laura and her partner, as they struggle to reach a high professional level, what they do in their rare free time and how they live and face the challenges of being non-havaneros in the capital. Scenes from Carlos Acosta’s last performance in Cuba are also showed in Laura’s story.

  3. Jose Enrique Jimenez Gomez: El Presidente (The President)

    Jose Enrique Jimenez Gomez: El Presidente (The President)

    The small town life is also part of the island’s identity. Jose Enrique Jimenez Gomez will portray his view, which he summed up as:

    “My Cuba is the greatest thing I have. It’s my family, it’s my family, it’s my people, it’s this Revolution, it’s my country, it’s the parrandas (showdowns). Without the parrandas, there is no Cuba.”

  4. Regla Gonzales Miros: Rumba Roots

    Regla Gonzales Miros: Rumba Roots

    What would a trip to Cuba be without listening to the beats of its upbeat, graceful and sensual music? Regla Gonzalez shares her rumba roots, stating:

    “My Cuba is La Marina, my centre, the bolero, the rumba. My Cuba is the smile of every child.”

    This chapter of the series shows Matanzas’ poorest yet most culturally vibrant neighbourhood, known as La Marina. Proud resident, Regla is an active communitarian hat works hard in difficult conditions, all the while taking you through an amazing rumba-filled trip. Scenes show the people’s struggles to fight poverty.

  5. Alexis Martinez Pena: Countryman

    Alexis Martinez Pena: Countryman

    The fields and countryside of Cuba are not only important for the stunning nature that fills its geography, but also for the people who work hard every day and have developed a strong sense of local identity. This is the case of Martinez, a shoemaker and clown who performs in little and remote villages allowing you to discover the life in Cuban mountains and organic farms. He says:

    “My Cuba is my family. My Cuba is art, education, culture. My Cuba is nature and the wonderful environment around us.”

  6. Ailed de Guevara: Wedding Planner

    Ailed de Guevara: Wedding Planner

    Finally, Guevara will portray how she sees Cuba from her own perspective as a pushing entrepreneur. This independent woman illustrates the many challenges an entrepreneur faces in the island. As a wedding planner, she witnesses love in all its dimensions but states that for her no love if bigger than the love of her country:

    “My Cuba is my family, my work, my projects. My Cuba is the only place I can imagine living in. My Cuba is all this wonder.”

Insight into Cubans’ daily life

As a whole, the documentary allows you to see one very diverse country through the eyes of six different locals. Those who are curious about Cuba will deepen their knowledge on daily life in the island, and broaden their perspective, from understanding what a ration book is to how new independent enterprises are built.

As there is no better way to discovering a nation’s essence than through its people, those who are inspired by this insightful documentary may enjoy the idea of staying at a “casa particular” if they visit Cuba, as they will be able to interact with locals directly.


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