Private Project

The Machine

After being informed by an official from the US Embassy that she has won the American Visa Lottery, Lázara Carvajal decides to leave Cuba –even if that means she has to abandon her family. But her friend will make her reconsider her choice with one revealing fact.

  • Adolfo Mena Cejas
    Director
    Nani & Tati, Miénteme bien, Jackie Chang (Be a good liar, Jackie Chang)
  • Adolfo Mena Cejas
    Writer
    Nani & Tati, Miénteme bien, Jackie Chang (Be a good liar, Jackie Chang)
  • Richard Gioioso
    Producer
  • Reynier Cepero
    Producer
  • Daniela de Mello
    Producer
  • Hannah Janeway
    Producer
  • Jesús Hernández
    Producer
  • Adolfo Mena Cejas
    Producer
  • Gilda Bello
    Key Cast
  • Roque Moreno
    Key Cast
  • Yeyé Báez
    Key Cast
  • Paula de la Torre
    Key Cast
  • Joe Rosenberg
    Key Cast
  • Nana
    Key Cast
  • Javier Pérez Ávila
    Cinematography
  • Denis Colina
    Sound Designer
  • Kurt Crowley
    Music
  • Alberto R. García
    Editor
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    La máquina
  • Film Type:
    Short
  • Genres:
    Comedy, Drama
  • Runtime:
    9 minutes 58 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 1, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    3,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    Cuba
  • Country of Filming:
    Cuba
  • Film Language:
    English, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
    4K
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Muestra Joven ICAIC 2017
    La Habana
    Cuba
    April 6, 2017
    World Premiere
    Special mention of performance to Paula de la Torre
  • HollyShorts Film Festival
    Hollywood
    United States
    August 18, 2017
    International Premiere/ US West Coast Premiere
  • NewFilmmakers Los Angeles
    Los Angeles
    United States
    September 16, 2017
  • London Eye International Film Festival
    London
    United Kingdom
    October 21, 2017
    European Premiere
    Best Narrative Short Film
  • Artists Rise UP Los Angeles
    Los Angeles
    United States
    November 8, 2017
Director Biography - Adolfo Mena Cejas

Adolfo Mena Cejas is an award-winning director and scriptwriter of short films that have been exhibited in several countries. As Assistant Director in theater, Adolfo worked in organizing and staging five plays for El Público Theater Company, directed by the renowned author Carlos Díaz; and with veteran director Stephen Bayly, on two plays. In relation to Art, Adolfo has worked as Cuban Art Specialist for different organizations.

Bio-filmography

The Machine (Cuba-USA, 2016-2017)
(Director, producer, scriptwriter. 10 minutes. 2017)
• Best Narrative Short Film Award (London Eye International Film Festival).
• Official Selection at HollyShorts Film Festival, NewFilmmakers LA, Artists Rise Up Los Angeles and Mammoth Film Festival (USA, California).

Be A Good Liar, Jackie Chang (Cuba, 2014)
(Director, producer, scriptwriter.12 minutes. 2014)
• Screenings at film festivals in Cuba, Mexico, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, and
the U.S.
• Best Fiction, Best Sound Design, and Best Editing Awards (Almacén de la
Imagen Film Festival).
• Best Short Film of 2014 (Cinematographic Press Association of Cuba).

Nani & Tati (Cuba, 2013)
(Director, producer, scriptwriter. 20 minutes. 2013)
• Screenings at film festivals in Cuba, Brazil, and the U.S.
• Best Fiction, Best Sound Design (Young Filmmakers Film Festival, Havana).
• Best Script and Best Actress Awards (Almacén de la Imagen Film Festival).

Add Director’s Biography
Director Statement

To stay or to leave the island is the ¨to be or not to be¨ for the majority of Cubans. This was my dilemma and I eventually migrated to the United States. I still don´t have an answer even after directing "The Machine¨. I hope, however, that this film will connect with many people who, like me, are searching for answers to life´s most essential questions about happiness, belonging, and sense of place.

Lázara, the wife of Juan Carlos Sánchez Bermúdez, lives a chaotic life with her strong-willed grandmother, stubborn husband, spoiled child, and her dog. She has long believed that she will find peace by going to live in the United States. She dreams of electric coffee makers, a house with a swimming pool and a yellow School Bus that picks up her child in the morning, every day, and takes her to a better life. However, her husband Juan Carlos has always embraced the difficulties in Cuba. He doesn´t mind the tropical heat or having to wait for hours in line at the state-run ice cream parlour Coppelia. These tensions are brought to the forefront when he receives a telephone call from the US embassy announcing a possible and absolute change of lifestyle for the family. This phone call triggers a waterfall of emotions that is both comic and melodramatic.

It was very important for me to make this short film because it was my last step before starting to produce my first feature film. By having the public participate in this family story, which is Cuban, personal and universal at the same time, I hoped to move them and include them in the deeply human search for happiness.

Family unity and the complicated intersection of love for ourselves and our love for others are ways to dialogue about and provide an outlet for the essential ¨to be or not to be¨, or at the very least try to provide a response that could make our lives better.

Thank you very much for your consideration.