US film Papa premieres in Havana after Cuba shoot
New US feature Papa, telling the story of Ernest Hemingway’s final years, has premiered in Havana after an historic Cuba shoot.
The movie was the first feature production with American cast and crew to shoot in Cuba since the US trade embargo was launched in 1960.
Papa made its debut this week at the Festival of New Latin American Cinema in capital Havana, which is being seen as a sign of the thawing relationship between the US and Cuba.
Director Bob Yari needed two years to convince the US government to make a licensing exception to allow Papa to film in Cuba in the first place, the Guardian reports. Even then, the production was subject to tight spending limits.
“I absolutely believe this will be a pivotal film,” said Yari, in comments to the newspaper. “What we’ve done here will hopefully trigger more filmmaker co-operations and more filmmaking in Cuba from the US side, as well as raise an awareness that this embargo really should be dropped, because it’s the Cuban people who are suffering.
“I think it is perfect that it was a film about a man who was beloved by both Americans and Cubans that finally broached that barrier.”
Cuba is now starting to reach out to the global production industry. Last month plans were announced to put together a co-development fund with Italy.
For more on filming in Cuba, see our production guide.