Producer Marina Fernandez on Filming ‘La Noche Buena’ in Cuba: ‘It Was Pretty Complicated and Challenging’
Marina Fernandez opened up about her experience filming the short film "La Noche Buena" in Cuba in an exclusive interview. In the same interview, director Alex Mallis also revealed the film is inspired by his personal experience as a half-Cuban.
Fernandez talked about the challenging experience she and director Mallis had to go through just to film "La Noche Buena" in Cuba in an interview with Remezcla. It has reportedly been more than decades that a short film was shot in the country since 1959. So, prior to filming, Fernandez and Mallis had to go through the Cuban government.
"It was actually pretty complicated and challenging. They had to approve our script. Finally we did it through the ICAIC [the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry], and we had this great experience with the crew there," the producer shared. "That in the beginning, from both sides, we were a bit reluctant but once we met them and talked about our ideas they were very open, and we were surprised about it."
Mallis echoed Fernandez's statements in a separate interview with No Film School. Likewise calling the process as "challenging," Mallis recalled how he and the crew had to use hand gestures to communicate with the locals because they didn't know English. He and his crew also didn't know how to speak Spanish.
However, the locals were reportedly very helpful. Casting for extras was easy especially since the main actress in "La Noche Buena" is also Cuban. In the end, there were thirty Cuban people who starred in the short film along with only five Americans. Fernandez told Remezcla the "combination between the Cuban crew and the American crew was really nice."
In the same interview with Remezcla, Mallis also talked about the inspiration behind "La Noche Buena." He recalled a time in his grown up life when he decided to reconnect with his roots after having lived in New England and then New York, where he got to meet people from different cultures.
So, he and his mother travelled to Cuba through Canada to meet the daughter of the family's nanny, who has been keeping in contact with his mother. Mallis recalled their awkward encounter with the woman and that's when he was supposedly inspired to make a film about the experience.
"Really what put the nail in the coffin-well, maybe not the nail in the coffin - what resonated about that experience to me was the feeling of guilt and responsibility, that feeling that I had to give her money. And from that, I decided to make a film," he revealed during his interview with Remezcla.
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