Break out your musty combat boots, don a black beret, and pump your fist to the sky. Revolution is in the air. But if you're having trouble awakening your dormant activist spirit, give it a double shot of revolucion when you go see the exclusive preview screening of The Grandchildren of the Cuban Revolution at the Colony Theater on Saturday, followed by a panel discussion with individuals in the film. Directed by Carlos Montaner, the documentary was shot guerrilla-style in Cuba and features the disaffected youth of the island-nation and their "hopes, frustrations, and concerns."
Raices de Esperanza (or Roots of Hope), a grassroots non-profit dedicated to empowering oppressed youth in Cuba, is sponsoring the screening as part of their Giving Youth a Voice event. The group gained notoriety last year when it broke ranks with some ex-pats and supported Colombian musical artist Juanes's performance in Cuba. Raices helped put that together too. That concert had over 1.2 million in attendance. The New Times also named Raices the Best Grassroots Organization of 2010.
The New Times spoke with Felice Gorordo, Raices co-founder and director, and Montaner who was raised in Madrid and graduated from the renowned American Film Institute. Follow the jump for our Q&A.
Probably not the image Castro had in mind for his "children" of the revolution.
Photo courtesy of Raices de Esperanza
New Times: What can you tell us about the film?
Carlos Montaner: Shot undercover, The Grandchildren of the Cuban Revolution goes behind the stuffy ideological mold to find the voices of a new generation that has grown restless, tired of waiting for ideals to bear fruit. For some, it is political; for others, it is simply a desire for life's basics, such as food, better housing, notwithstanding basic technological and social touchstones of their era--internet, freedom to travel abroad, and aspirational attraction to the latest fashion.
Felice Gorordo: All proceeds of the event will benefit Raices de Esperanza's flagship project, Cell Phones for Cuba, which aims to boost the connectivity of young people on the island.
What is the intended message in The Grandchildren of the Cuban Revolution?
Carlos Montaner: The film seeks to spread awareness of the struggles of young Cubans on the island, giving them an opportunity to share their hopes, frustrations and concerns. Regardless of their diverse backgrounds, all the young people featured in the film echo a great desire for change in Cuba. The film shows the harsh reality of a generation tired of waiting for change and eager to bring about a better a life for themselves and their families on the island.
What does Raices de Esperanza hope to accomplish with this event?
Felice Gorordo: This is an event like no other that goes to the heart of our mission--shedding light and giving a voice to young people on the island who've been silenced for too long. We hope to spread awareness of the reality of our counterparts on the island and mobilize young people outside of Cuba to get involved in our cause--to empower Cuban youth to become the authors of their own futures. Through our Cell Phones for Cuba project, we aim to engage a broad-base of support to collect used-mobile devices and promote greater communication amongst young people on and off the island.
How do you think the Cuban community in Miami will respond to this film?
Carlos Montaner: I think this event is a unique opportunity to watch never-before-seen footage shot underground about the reality of young people on the island. Moreover, it is also a chance to see firsthand testimony from youth in Cuba who are actively trying to bring about change. The film includes some of the most prominent young Cubans including acclaimed bloggers like Yoani Sanchez and Claudia Cadelo, and underground artists like Los Aldeanos and Gorki Aguila. I think the Cuban community in Miami will be surprised to see such uncanny testimony. Like no other film produced about Cuban youth, The Grandchildren of the Cuban Revolution offers a glimpse into the reality of young people in Cuba and helps bridge the divide between youth on and off the island.
Here's a real look inside the lives of young people in today's Cuba:
The Bacardi-sponsored event will be held at the Colony Theater (1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) this Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $12. There will be a pre-screening VIP reception at 5 p.m. at Segafredo's next door to the theater. Visit voice.raicesdeesperanza.org or call 305-735-1868.