14ymedio, Havana, 5 November 2015 — “From my house it all seemed like a strange ritual. Now the memories are being reconstructed as if they had been buried, the raft, loaded on the backs of people like a coffin,” is how Armando Capó describes the Rafter Crisis of 1994. The young director has launched a fundraising campaign to allow him to bring the stories of those dark days to the big screen, under the title August.
The creator believes it is still an “uncomfortable topuc,” that is barely touched on in Cuba. “This story and its images have been with me since 1994, and the movie is a kind of exorcism to be able to live with the memories” is how the project is described on the crowdfunding site Verkami, with the hope of collecting 20,000 dollars in 40 days.
The story takes place in Gibara in 1994. “Most of the team members working on this film were children or teenagers at that time,” explains Capó. He remembers, “seeing our neighbors carrying rafts on their shoulders and walking toward to the sea to launch themselves for the United States,” and so, “we went to the coast to say goodbye to strangers.”
The images of that summer remain strong in the director’s memory and he wants to delve into them in August; he wrote the script with the Cuban Abel Arcos. Costa Rican Marcela Esquival and Cuban Claudia Olivera will produce the film, with the Frenchwomen Nathalie Trafford, from Paraíso Production Diffusion, and Eva Chillón, from Pomme Hurlante Films.
The director is planning a first rate cast, considering Laura de la Uz for one of the roles, playing the role of the mother of Carlos, the protagonist of the story. The actress, known for films like Hello Hemingway (1990), directed by Fernando Perez for which she won the Coral for best actress, has left a deep impression with her recent role in the film Wedding Dress (2014), by the director Marilyn Solaya.
At the fundraising campaign site, launched Monday, it is explained that 80% of the budget for the shoot has already been raised: $100,000. The amount collected through the public campaign will be used for “fees for the actors, the costs of food, transportation and art.” The announcement makes clear that Capó’s goal is to start shooting the film this coming August.
The young artist is a graduate in Documentary Directing from the International School of Film and Television of San Antonio de los Baños and the Higher Institute of Art (ISA). His documentary Tide (2009) won a special mention at the 31st International Festival of New Latin American Cinema and the second prize in the International Students Documentary Film Festival of India that same year.