Raul Prado: Filming the Forgotten

By: Amalia Ramos

Raúl Prado
Raúl, de frente (al centro), durante el rodaje de Alberto.
Raul, head-on (downtown), during Alberto’s filming.

The possibility of experimentation seems to be a constant in Raúl Prado, who came to the cinema “by chance”, according to himself confesses, having studied law at the University of Havana. “I am gradually rediscovering”, recognizes with some pleasure this filmmaker, graduated in 2014 in Direction of Photography, at the International School of Film and Television (EICTV), san Antonio de los Baños.

Such a desire to seek new ways led him to lead the short-term

Albert’ fictional aje, presented at the 18th. Young ICAIC exhibition and deserving of the SIGNIS award in this contest, in which he also obtained mention in its category and the recognition of the Cuban Audiovisual Association.

Accompanied by Eduardo del Llano in the script, Raúl decided to tell in twenty-three minutes the story of a man who after having lived off the island resolves to return. And on that return he will have to face a family secret kept for twenty years and the wounds that caused him to leave.

The short one tells a real story, how did you get to it?

“Working as a photographer on several documentaries. You constantly know new people and places. This was a story that came to me, like many others on the same subject, but it was one of those that scratched me. I wanted to lead a long time ago and this was a good opportunity to do it, because it’s not the typical migration story, it’s not something that’s told today or disclosed, but you’re trying to put it aside, so I thought it’s important to say it.”

Does it look familiar or close to you for something in particular?

“Not specifically. I am of a generation that is a little adapted to separation, perhaps in that sense I can identify… but it doesn’t have to be family to feel it as almost its own.”

I believe that in the film there is a call to forgiveness, do you think that in our society there are wounds that still need to be healed?

“There are many wounds. This is a small story, but there are thousands of families who went through similar processes. There were periods such as the so-called “grey quinquenium”, when many people were expelled from their workplaces for being religious, gay… Then, in order for history not to repeat itself, it must be studied. Some still have these lacerated wounds, and speaking of them can be healed.”

How was the production process?

“Directing was an enriching but extremely stressful experience. The process lasted about a year, because there was no money and it depended on the free time of some friends. Pre-production was the most exhausting thing, because I’m not used to it. As a photographer I arrive at a project that has already started, here everything was new: search for money, send the folder…

“Filming was three days: two in Campo Florido and one in Havana. I wanted to film in October and November, which is when there are more clouds. I was interested in it being gray, that there wasn’t much sun, because I wanted to show the twilight of things… but by the back, it couldn’t have been on that date. Then suddenly in May came Storm Alberto, which coincidentally was called as the short, and I said “this is sent”, so I’m going to use it. And we went to record in the rain.”

Parte del equipo de trabajo de Alberto.
Part of Alberto’s team.

What did your experience as a photographer bring you to take over the direction of this project?

“The staff was very friendly and helpful. know how to handle a set, how to dose history information, how to use aesthetics, and estimate teamwork.”

You value teamwork very much…

“That’s what audiovisuals are all about, teamwork. Something important is that with all the people I worked at Alberto I have been doing since I graduated; we already know each other, there is an affinity, a friendship. If there’s no confidence in your photographer that it’s your eye and the sounder that’s your ear, then you’re blind and deaf.”

After this directing opportunity, would you keep doing it?

“I already have another project written on it. I loved the experience. It’s a concern I had earlier inside, it was only a matter of time.”

Can you get ahead of something about the new project?

“I want to talk about social classes in Cuba and, particularly, beggars, but the story will not be through them. It would be just a glimpse into his life, often ignored.”

What is the biggest challenge you have as a young Cuban filmmaker?

“As a director, look for the money for the next short, something complicated because in Cuba there are no funds to support independent young cinema. That’s critical, because if you want to do something professional, aesthetically well done and competitive, you need money. And as a photographer, always have job proposals.”

See you tomorrow making movies in Cuba?

“I’ll see you tomorrow making movies. If I’m going to lead, I want them to be Cuban projects, which have to do with Cuban identity, history and society. As a photographer, my eyes are to be hired anywhere. Ω

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