Opera Prima of the young director Jonal Cosculluela
with music composed and interpreted by Chucho Valdés
The determination of achieving your dreams, viewed from the universe
of a 9 year old boy, Esteban, who lives alone with his mother
and wants to become a pianist, is the thread of this plot, which reflects
the harsh side of the current situation in Cuba.
|Directed by||Jonal Cosculluela|
|Music composer||Chucho Valdés|
|Written by||Amilcar Salatti|
|Art director||Maykel Martínez|
|Production sound mixer||Evelio Manfred|
|Sound editor and mixer||Sheyla Pool|
I have always believed that obstacles are tests in the path we chose. Since I first had it in my hands, the screenplay of Esteban had that essence. The persistence of its main character, his determination not to abandon his dream, immediately made me relate to this boy and from that moment on I discovered many similarities with my own life.
In 2012 I asked a friend for a story to film a teleplay. He told me this story and I wanted him to write it. That was how Esteban came to life. We put the screenplay in an envelope together with the project of a TV series that I wanted to be produced by Casa de Telenovelas.
Fortunately, the envelope was opened by Vilma Montesino who is used to reading thoroughly every project she receives… Some days later I went to see her to know her opinion about the project for the TV series and I was surprised when, holding Esteban´s screenplay in her hand she told me:
– This is material for a film. You have to do a film!
Since that moment there has been a before and after Esteban. The fund raising process was a great experience that I’m thankful for in all senses, the good and the bad ones.
I feel the film and we made it as an independent film, although most of the funds are institutional. This project was not made to order of anyone. In my case, the image of a director knocking on doors with a screenplay in his hand is not a publicity trick, it was real.
Every person in a managerial position who supported this film and made it possible heard the story directly from the film producer and me while sitting in their offices. Esteban found the way to become a reality thanks to its sensitivity and willingness to do something.
Rafael Bernal, then Minister of Culture, was essential for this project, as well as Luis Morlote, Omar Olazabal, Orlando Vistel and Joel Ortega.
Overcoming this first stage was essential, and I was blessed that Chucho Valdés agreed to make the original soundtrack for the film just because he believed in the project.
Another chapter was placing the funds in an account, designing the production with a modest budget, signing the contracts… A lot has been said about the emerging independent production in our country and about the lack of mechanisms to pursue works that may answer only to the artistic concerns of a director or may agree with the policies of cultural institutions, but quite often nor the first ones, neither the second ones find an alternative way that allows simply to create and not to remain only as projects.
In our case, even though the institutions trusted the project and its team, it was impossible for them to give us the funds directly. The mechanism for that does not exist yet, or at least, there is not enough information… Fortunately, RTV Comercial became the co-producer and, given their previous experience with other films, they had a formula to make a rational use of those funds, always in benefit of the quality of the work. That was how Esteban found its way to become a reality.
We also had collaboration from other funds like the Cuban cinema fund of the Embassy of Norway and friends whose assistance was indispensable at key moments of post-production.
The participation of Mediapro to finalize the film was unexpected. Omar Olazabal and Maritza Ceballo introduced the film to Jaume Roures, Mediapro´s Chairman, and Joel Ortega and his team continued the negotiation. The final sound mix and the DPC were made in Barcelona at Estudios Deluxe. That was an excellent experience thanks to the professionalism of the team made up by Jordi Casugas, Marc Ors, Nacho Melero, David Cárceles, Javier Méndez and Eva Garrido. I would like to express my appreciation to all of them.
I would like to thanks especially all the experts who accompanied me in making this dream come true. For this, my first feature film, I was lucky to have the professionalism and talent of Lianed Marcoleta, Evelio Manfred, Sheyla Pool, Maykel Martínez, Alian Hernández, Víctor López, Nancy Angulo, Miriam Valdés, Araceli Padrón, Luis Ángel Brito, Enma Robaina, Yaremis Pérez, Amílcar Salatti, José Ferreiro…
When I started this film, since I read the screenplay I was very clear that I was interested in calling the attention of parents who are so important in our lives. I wanted to remind them that they must support their children and guide them to help their dreams come true.
By then I had no child. Now that I have two beautiful daughters, I believe even more that we parents must never be an obstacle, we always have to be the hope and support for our boys and girls to be able to dream and, once their dreams come true, have the courage to build new ones…