David (17) dreams of being part of the national ballet, while his twin brother Alexis plans to rob a restaurant. Their grandmother Iliana (75) is the only connecting thread of this family. The brothers' inability to relate to each other has brought them to the brink of a domestic war that erupts in a fight the night before the auditions. The crossroads of their opposing paths will make them meet again in the middle of Havana.
"Aburo" (brother) tells the story of David and Alexis, twin brothers who have grown up under their grandmother's wing in a small apartment in Centro Habana. With their parents living and working in Miami, the siblings have developed a sense of independence that borders on abandonment. The search for their identity in this context has led them to follow different paths. For David, with a logic mindset and a great sense of duty, this refuge appeared in the ballet and the projection of himself as part of a stable and large family, very different from his own. On the other hand, for his brother Alexis, sensitive and insecure, finding his identity is a more stormy process. This, on the one hand, has led him to earn a place among his peers, with an apparent sense of domination and leadership, but which paradoxically makes him find role models in causes and people who go against his own well-being.
As a director, my idea is to explore what the sense of family means in modern Cuba. Families that have been intervened by historical, political and social changes. The breakdown of the traditional model and the reformulation of the affective bonds that unite us, has made us embrace a search for new meanings as individuals. My point of view focuses on these two brothers who are both protagonists and antagonists of their story.
I truly believe that growing up in Cuba implies a higher layer of complexity, because of the country's political history and economic situation. Cuba is like a bubble, with its pros and cons. On the one hand, it preserves traces of an era that has been reluctantly modernized and, on the other hand, it still makes us work at a different pace from the rest of the world. In other words, the Cubans are nostalgic by essence. And this is imprinted in the streets of Havana, its melancholic beauty, typical of deterioration, resilience and the possibility of a future that will be defined by the generation that David and Alexis embody.
I am particularly interested in exploring the inability of these two characters to relate to each other, despite being united by the indissoluble bond of blood. My idea is to explore this relationship through cinematographic narration, exploring spaces and actions, with long shots that allow us an organic exploration of space/time, along with the characters and their movements through the city. From a visual point of view, I want to create a world of textures as subtle as the shelled walls, the grains of rice on the table, the wood on the floor of the rehearsal room, etc.
If I reflect upon my own experience as a teenager, it sometimes feels like I was a completely different person, but in retrospect, I can see that the experiences I had at that time were the seed of what I am now at 29. This short film is, above all, an open question about the future of David and Alexis. It allows us to witness a moment of change that will define their lives, even without them knowing it, but it will also leave the building of this future in the hands of the audience. My intention is that the characters grow in each of the heads of the spectators, nourished by their experiences and desires, beginning with the seed that I propose as a director.
Who are we?
We are a team of women filmmakers from different parts of Cuba, Chile, and Spain, who have come together to make this project a reality. My name is Cecilia Otero, I am the writer and director of Aburo. Along with Constanza Majluf, the assistant director, we are pursuing a Master in Fine Arts in Filmmaking at Columbia University in The City of New York. María Carla Del Río and Claudia Bueno are both producers from EICTV (Escuela Internacional de Cine San Antonio de Los Baños, Cuba) and ISA (Instituto Superior de Arte, Cuba). Alana Mejía, the director of photography, is completing her MA in photography studies at the National Film and TV School in the United Kingdom.
More about the crew:
UPM: Silvia Chen
Sound: Damian Rubiera
Production design: Juan Carlos Tabio
Wardrove: Alisa Pelaez
Script supervisor:Frank David
What we will use your contributions for
Aburo's screenplay was one of the winners of Amsterdam Cinema Fund 2019's Go Cuba! However, we need your support to be able to finance the pre-production and shooting of the short film in Havana!
The money we raise with this campaign will be used to pay the cast and crew, rent cameras, lenses, and sound equipment. And of course, food and transportation during the shoot!
The shooting of Aburo is planned for mid-June 2019. During July and August, we will dedicate ourselves to editing and getting ready for post-production. We plan to have a rough cut of the film by September so the rewards for our generous patrons will begin to be distributed starting October 2019.
Would you like to know more about the project, the team, and our previous work? Visit us!