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Confessions of a fearless Cuban

Through theater, storytelling, and animated stories, writer, storyteller, and playwright, Hebert Poll Gutiérrez, a true son of Cuba, decides to use art once again to entertain, educate and transform realities. Cuba, how beautiful is Cuba? It's a revelation of that secret Cuba...that invisible Cuba that does not appear in the mass media. A beautiful land but plagued by social problems such as racial discrimination, police abuse, prostitution, psychological abuse, bureaucracy, among other evils that affect today's Cuba.

What was the inspiration behind the making of the project?

Cuba and the repression of the Cuban government towards Cuban citizens was my inspiration. My function as an artist is to entertain and educate and educate. Therefore, I thought, why not do a project that reveals to the world the real Cuba. Besides, we all know art is a powerful instrument that transforms so many realities.

When did you start making films and what was the first film project that you created?

I have been a writer, storyteller, playwright, and scriptwriter for film, radio, and TV for 16 years. In Cuba, my native country, it is challenging to make films. Especially if your movies have social content and criticize the society where you live. In Canada, it is easier to make this type of film. This would be my fifth film project. I've done other projects not with the same duration, but they are part of my soul. These projects are: Mio ( Emigration theme), Sos Culture ( Manipulation of the media and the death of Cuban cultural identity), Are Cubans for rent? ( Legalized police corruption) The great race ( A project that mixes theater with comics that talks about the defense of Afro-Cuban roots). What is the most challenging aspect of working as an indie artist?

Engage with people, with the public. Hollywood and the big production companies so dominate the people that they ignore the exciting stories that can be found in independent films. To have our voices recognized is a constant challenge for every independent artist. What is your next film project?

My next independent project is Emi laara: little stories to dream. It is a digital storytelling project mixed with animation elements. The project is based on my book Emi laara: little stories to dream (Matanzas Publishing House, Cuba, 2004). This project was a winner of the Project Grant Program - Individuals & Collectives 2021), sponsored by the Calgary Art Development Authority (CADA). The project is my way of preserving Afro-Cuban culture and defending my triple cultural identity: My identity as an artist. My identity as a Cuban. My identity as an afro-descendant Why do you like to make films?

I believe in the power of stories and theatre's ability to change realities. Telling my stories is like throwing a message in a bottle, sailing oceans, transcending beyond our generation, and maturing by word of mouth. It is crucial to create cultural bridges nowadays. Through film, we can tell the world regardless of race, creed, or religion:

No one educates anyone. No one educates himself. Men educate each other through the mediation of the world. (Paulo Freire)


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