53 years after Reinaldo Cruz took upon his journey to find freedom in America, Reinaldo's son, Alex Cruz knew that his father's story had to be told. He wanted his father's legacy to be known and remembered as it serves to be an important piece of history to the many Cuban's who fled Fidel castor's dictatorship. He contacted local Miami filmmaker Jose Navas and told him his father's story. After a few phone calls and a meeting, Jose Navas was on board and committed to producing and directing a movie about Reinaldo's harrowing journey.
The story is set in 1964 Cuba and shot presently in Miami so finding locations that would double as Cuba was the first task. With the Cuban community having a prominent presence in Miami since the 1970's, coupled with the fact that the city has had a tenacity of keeping it's historical infrastructure in tact, locking locations was not a major obstacle. Miami has even gone as far as naming one of its neighborhoods Little Havana, the capitol and largest city in Cuba. Little Havana is the best known neighborhood for Cuban exiles in the world. Shooting and producing the film in the place where so many Cuban refugees came after fleeing Cuba is quiet the inspiration to the team behind the film.
Preproduction planning for the dressing of the sets took some research. the production team reviewed hundreds of photos available online of Cuban life circa 1960. The country has for decades been isolated from the world so conducting thorough research was important to the accomplish the appropriate look. Designing sets with just the right drapes, props, and furniture was a key factor in the films authenticity. There was attention paid to details in every aspect of the movie's design including acquiring prop vehicles from that era that fit right into the story. Before the U.S. embargo in 1960, Cuba had a wealth of American cars from all major manufacturers. Locating these vehicles was a task in itself as most classic car owners tend to restore and modify these beloved treasures.
A major aspect in shooting a movie set from a specific time period and making it believable is the attention paid to wardrobe. Vanessa Rebolledo was tasked for the job. Referencing photographs, she visited every major thrift shop in Miami and built a collection that brought the era's fashion to life. For the film's protest scene Ruben Espinosa, an ex-U.S. Army marine veteran brought his military knowledge to the film. He assisted in dressing the actors playing the roles of the Cuban National police with the proper attire and weapons accurate to that of Fidel's government in 1964. Producing the film is movie-maker Jorge Yanes who's extensive background in filmmaking and production will play a valuable factor in the films overall success. Rounding off production is the incredible original soundtrack composed by violinist Idanis Gallimore, which helped bring that period of Cuba into the film using melodramatic string tones.
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