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Cuba between Sol & Luz St.

At first sight, what looks like a decayed and abandoned Old Havana’s building had once been a tomb for British soldiers during Occupation; the very cradle of Socialism in America; and graveyard for hundreds of babies victimized by the first concentration camp ever acknowledged in the world. Almost 380 years of History lay behind those walls, which many presidents had tried to put down.

  • Simone de Sousa Mesquita
    Director
  • Simone de Sousa Mesquita
    Writer
  • Reinel García Pérez
    Writer
  • Reinel García Pérez
    Producer
  • Simone de Sousa Mesquita
    Producer
  • Doc & Rio Festival Agency
    Festival Agent
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Cuba entre Sol y Luz
  • Project Type:
    Documentary
  • Runtime:
    51 minutes 21 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 31, 2018
  • Country of Origin:
    Brazil
  • Country of Filming:
    Cuba
  • Language:
    Portuguese, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
  • FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL DE DOCUMENTALES "SANTIAGO ALVAREZ IN MEMORIAM"
    SANTIAGO
    Cuba
    March 5, 2019
    NATIONAL PREMIERE
    OFFICIAL SELECTION
  • MUESTRA JOVEN ICAIC
    HAVANA
    Cuba
    April 4, 2019
  • FIRENZE ARCHEOFILM
    Firenze
    Italy
    Official Selection
  • ECHO BRICS FILM FEST
    Moscou
    Russian Federation
    Official Selection
  • FEST CINE PEDRA AZUL
    Pedra Azul
    Brazil
    Official Selection
  • BRAZIL INT FILM FESTIVAL
    Teresópolis
    Brazil
    Official Selection
  • FIRST-TIME FILMMAKERS SESSIONS
    Pinewood
    United States
  • FIFAC
    Saint-Laurent du Maroni
    French Guiana
    October 6, 2020
  • Cine Tornado
    Curitiba
    Brazil
    October 22, 2020
  • Festival Internacional De Cine Latinoamericano De Quito
    Quito
    Ecuador
Director Biography - Simone de Sousa Mesquita

Brazil. Archaeologist, with PhD in Visual Studies (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro). She has offered consulting services for a 13-installment TV series, "Bom Dia Arqueologia" ("Good morning, Archaeology"), which features an unprecedented subject in Brazilian television. She has graduated in the “Masters of Documentary Filmmaking” on the International School of Cinema and TV of San Antonio de los Baños (EICTV), Cuba, and also participated on three courses offered by this School - “Introduction to Screenplay”, "Introduction to Filmmaking" and “Documentary Filmmaking”.

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Director Statement

Back in 2000, I engaged in a trip to Cuba for the first time, aiming to participate in a course on heritage. By that time, the National Center for Conservation, Restoration, and Museology (CENCREM) was one of the few places on the Continent committed to train professionals for working with heritage by means of its School of Restoration. There weren’t Undergraduate, MA or Ph.D. courses on most heritage institutions. Governments were just beginning to understand the importance and necessity of these studies. The School had its headquarters in the Santa Clara Convent, in Cuba Street, between Sol and Luz streets, Old Havana.

The associated site and neighborhood was the ideal test lab for starting to dream about all that could be done in our countries for salvaging our historical legacy. It came as a surprise that Cuba, a country with little or no records about heritage preservation, actually had a school with a 20-year tradition on heritage studies and qualified professionals who were able to passionately and mindfully pass on their knowledge.

Those were difficult times for the Island. It’s been only seven years that the country had decided for the dollarization as the only possible means to face the greatest crisis of Cuban history, known by Cubans as the “Special Period in Time of Peace”, and only five years since they started to create the necessary infrastructure to deal with tourism, an activity which had been halted in 1959. It astonished me that, amidst a bulky crisis, such a place as the School of Restoration with its laboratories for conservation and restoration, the best equipped in Latin America and, I’d say, one of the world’s best labs, could survive.
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That course was such a wake-up call, that, back in Brazil, I decided to set up a similar conservation/restoration lab in the institution I worked for then. Through sponsorships, we set up the National Museum Central Laboratory for Conservation and Restoration, in Rio de Janeiro. A reference in Brazil, the work developed at the lab allowed that important collections of Brazilian art and culture could travel to many of the most important museums around the world. These assets were recovered thanks to the lab and greatly due to what has been learned at CENCREM.

After almost 20 years working at the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, I decided to return to Cuba, and take a course at the International School of Cinema and TV of Santo António dos Banhos (EICTV). Prior to this, I have had a consultancy position for a TV series on archaeology, and I fell for the world of cameras and sounds. The School of Cinema was destined to be a second CENCREM for me, an opportunity I could take to find myself anew, and to be reborn into another medium.

My return couldn’t have been more traumatic. The convent had been closed, and a sign warned about the danger of building collapse. The security guard told me that, in 2012, CENCREM was dismantled by the Government. The headquarters were closed, and the staff was distributed among the various governmental administrative offices in the City, not all related in any way with heritage preservation. I decided to track down the teachers I had been acquainted with during my first trip. I have been connected with some of them since those days at the School, but I understand that their anguish was such, that they didn’t want to tell me about the closure. I, then, decided that this would be the subject of my first film. It couldn’t be otherwise. The School was no more. The convent will resist physically for a couple of years more. Making this film is the only way we have found to preserve it.

I deeply acknowledge those who have accompanied me on my trip!