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New Times: You began recording the movie in April 2008. What was that like?
Juan Carlos Cremata: We shot it over ten nights, starting at midnight always, sometimes going until 5 or 6 in the morning. I moved the crew to locations in my mother's car. It was all improvised. We didn't have lights. We had one microphone for the actors. In scenes with more than one actor, we had to decide which character was more important. We had no more than ten people on the crew. My brother was helping me as producer. The art director is my cousin, and one of the musicians is also a cousin. When you don't have any money, you have to work with family.
How did you scrape the money together?
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It's a pauper movie. I would buy beer on the cheap, resell it, and use the money for gas, drinks for the crew, and sometimes to pay a driver. I also made Chamaco back to back with El Premio Flaco, which was funded by the state. When I get their money, I normally use it to make two movies. Some would call that diversion of funds. I call it reorganization.
Is it becoming commonplace to make movies outside the Cuban movie industry?
Lately it has because technology has allowed it. A whole generation of young people can now pick up a digital camera to express themselves. We shot Chamaco digitally and did all the postproduction — a homemade color correction, a stereo mix — on Avid at my house. I also like working without money because I can do whatever I feel like.
Talk about the film's gay-related content.
Strawberry and Chocolate provided an opening to discuss a topic that used to be very taboo. There have been several gay documentaries since, but Chamaco is the first proudly gay movie made in Cuba. Los pingueros — which translates to gigolos but literally means big dicks — have always existed here, even before the '59 revolution. What's happened is that everything's become more open, and it's not specific to homosexuality.
What kind of reception do you expect in Miami for Chamaco?
My second-to-last movie [Viva Cuba] was for children, but every time I went abroad, I had to defend it before some of those stubborn Cuban émigrés. We laugh a lot at those protests. Burning CDs? It's ridiculous. Showing a film like this in Miami is an important, historical step, a step towards normalcy. Erik Maza March 9 at 8:30 p.m., Gusman Theater, 174 E. Flagler St., Miami; 305-372-0925
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