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Afrobeta in a sugarcane field in Artemisa, Cuba.
Afrobeta in a sugarcane field in Artemisa, Cuba.
Photo by Jayme Gershen

Support Afrobeta's Film About Its First Trip to Cuba, Birthright?!

Like many first-generation Americans of Cuban descent, married couple Christina "Cuci" Amador and Tony Smurphio — also known as the musical duo Afrobeta — were taught that Cuba was not on their travel agenda. After being exiled from their homeland in the '50s, their parents, like many others, never returned. It was a sort of fuck-you to Fidel Castro and his crew.

But Amador and Smurphio are from a different generation. They wanted to know more about their heritage, so Amador codirected a flick with filmmaker Jayme Gershen about their first trip to la patria. It's called Birthright?!. To finish the film, though, the two launched a crowdfunding campaign through Seed & Spark. Afrobeta needs your help, and the band is offering some serious rewards.

But more about that later.

The film will show many Cuban perspectives — those of the exiled, the next generation, and those who live in Cuba today. Amador guarantees it will entertain and calls it "sweaty, funny, and tropically surreal." The duo was invited to play a show in Cuba but also ended up making music randomly in the streets. "The joyous moments of connecting with locals are bittersweet, as Afrobeta is forced to confront the reality of their parents’ troubled emotional past," the film description dramatically announces.

Seed & Spark is a fundraising platform for filmmakers. There are rallies to raise funds to support storytelling endeavors around a theme. The Birthright?! crew is under the umbrella "Hometown Heroes," which are narrative or documentary features that will spend at least 75 percent of their funds on local talent and related expenses. Those who raise the most money get mad moola and the opportunity to work with actors, writers, directors, and producers Jay and Mark Duplass, known as Duplass Brothers Productions.

The fundraising begins today and ends October 17. Afrobeta tells New Times: "Historically, projects that do not raise 30 percent in funding in the first three days fail." So if you want to support the film, donate today. "If we meet 80 percent of our goal and gain 1,000 followers on the platform... we will be eligible to win," Amador says.

Now, the rewards:

  • Five bucks gets you ¡Ñooo Que Barato!, a social media shout-out, and exclusive updates.
  • If you give $20, you get Croquetica, the unreleased soundtrack songs from the film, and some rare Afrobeta tunes.
  • Down to donate $50? That'll land you Jupiña, a link to stream the movie, and a superbig Miami gracias on social media.
  • For $75, you score two tickets to see Afrobeta play with Juana Molina next week, hosted by the Rhythm Foundation.
  • Do you have $100 burning a hole in your pocket? Pop open an Iron Beer and read a copy of Afrobeta's digital zine Cómo Fue that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the film.
  • For $500, you can experience a workshop or studio visit with Afrobeta or a photo shoot with director Gershen. You can probably do a Glamour Shots-style setup for that much money. It's worth asking.

The list goes on, but you get the idea. Visit Seed & Spark to support the band's uniquely Miami endeavor. ¡Dale!

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