PALANTE

PALANTE

‘Palante’ came to fruition as part of a 10-day master class and workshop in Cuba with acclaimed director Werner Herzog as our teacher, or as he liked to be called: “Mi Coronel.”

As one of his soldiers of cinema and the only filmmaker of Cuban-American descent, I saw this as a chance to return to my father’s homeland—the one he had forsaken since the mid-1950s because of political reasons—to tell an authentic story from my culture. Sixty years later, I saw Cuba through my own eyes and not as a tourist, but as a filmmaker, and that’s why it meant so much to me. With an immense amount of pressure to share a story worth telling, while at the same time making my family and fellow Cubans proud, I dedicated myself to making my short-film ‘Palante’ a success.

‘Palante’ was born out of a similar sacrifice I had endure by moving to Los Angeles to pursue my dreams and the aspirations of a better life. The film’s title and theme was inspired by my Cuban grandmother, Aleida, who would always console me with the words of “¡Pa’lante, Pa’lante!” which means keep moving forward.

Shot in the colorful town of San Antonio de los Baños, I let the environment tell the story. As we follow Estrella and her grandfather, we get a glimpse of the impoverished lifestyle many Cubans have had to endure in their day to day life for decades; lack of resources, broken, tarnished buildings and walls etc. Captured mostly through wide angle and handheld camera, I focused on highlighting the beauty and resilience of Cuban culture in contrast to that of their surroundings in each frame.

Winner: Grand Jury Prize Award – Oklahoma Cine Latino Film Festival 2018
Winner: Best Director – Oklahoma Cine Latino Film Festival 2018
Winner: Best International Short Film – Official Latino Film Festival 2017
Winner: Audience Award – Gainesville Latino Film Festival
Winner: Best Short Film Script – Premios Latino, España
Winner: Best Direction – Premios Latino, España
Official Selection: Oklahoma Cine Latino Film Festival
Official Selection: Official Latino Film Festival 2017
Official Selection: San Francisco Latino Film Festival 2017
Official Selection: Gainesville Latino Film Festival 2017
Official Selection: Short to the Point September 2017
Official Selection: Feminist Border Film Festival 2018
Official Selection: Cine Miami Fest 2018
Official Selection: Cuban International Film Festival 2018
Official Selection: Chicago Latino Film Festival 2019
Official Selection: I’m Not Going to Move to LA Film Festival 2019
Official Selection: Chicago Latino Film Festival 2019

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