Ann Marie Stock


On her book On Location in Cuba: Street Filmmaking during Times of Transition

Cover Interview of July 05, 2009

A close-up

On Location shares the voices and visions of dozens of Cuban filmmakers.  With candor they explain their interest in probing subjects once considered taboo in Cuba—sexuality, domestic violence, drugs, prostitution, housing shortages, censorship, discrimination, and so on.  They reflect on the impact of new technologies on their work, and note some of the ongoing challenges of making films in their country.  They tell about the ingenious solutions they’ve devised to resolver or make do: with a camera strapped on to his bike, Esteban Insausti pedaled around Havana seeking informants for his documentary on the city’s locos (crazies); Juan Carlos Cremata managed to create a road movie on a shoestring by calling into service his entire family—even casting his grandmother in a role; lacking access to a dolly, Alejandro Pérez rigged up his camera so it would swing in circles from a pole. Fragment from an animation by Yurina Luis Naranjo, reproduced in the book on page 140

The juxtaposition of these Street Filmmakers’ experiences reveals their diversity and dynamism.  Some see themselves as artists above all.  Others are more intent on the business of cinema.  Some characterize themselves as revolutionaries.  Others steer clear of labels altogether.  Most are based on the island, but some “commute” to distant locales while still considering Cuba to be their home.  The perspectives of these young artists reveal the island and its inhabitants to be complex and nuanced.