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REEL DOCS Presents Alumbrones Art Documentary Film


By Amy Cotler

On Tuesday and Wednesday, March 13 and 14 at 4pm in La Biblioteca’s Teatro Santa Ana, REEL DOCS will present Alumbrones by Bruce Donnelly of DKR Films, a documentary about the art and work of Cuban artists. The film is in Spanish with English subtitles.

Alumbrones reveals the work and lives of 12 contemporary Cuban artists, from ages 20 to 70, living in Havana today. Visiting each person in their home and studio, the film explores their lives, philosophies, and ideas present in their work, the many obstacles and difficulties they face on a daily basis, and the feelings each person has towards the place they call home. Through in-depth interviews, the film covers a diverse range of subjects and issues—from constant blackouts (apagones) and the post-Soviet “Special Period” to family life, love, sex, and music.

For the most part, their varied work is highly recognizable as Cuban. As one artist suggests, this may be because Cuba’s isolation has forced artists to reference each other’s work rather than that of the outside world. Nevertheless, some of the artists have become internationally famous, such as Luis Rodríguez (NOA) and Pedro Pablo Oliva, who painted the stunning “El gran apagón” (The Great Blackout) by candlelight. It known as “Cuba’s Guernica.”

DKR films was founded by its three-member team—producers Fermin Rojas and James Kubesch and director Bruce Donnelly—who have been working together since their first collaboration in 2013. Their goal is to create content that captures the imagination, inspires social consciousness and entertains.

Cuban-born Rojas has written and directed for and has grown DKR from an idea to a recognized production company. For this film, he was reunited with his native country after 50 years.

Kubesch oversees all aspects of production, post-production, and accounting. His ability to balance creativity with business comes from his lifelong involvement in his family’s highly successful Broadway musical and literary trust.

South African-born Donnelly has over 10 years of experience as a director and cinematographer of feature and short films, international documentaries, docu-series, television shows, and commercial campaigns for brands like Samsung.

The film’s title Alumbrones means “little bursts of light,” as when electricity flickers on briefly during blackouts. It’s aptly named: these artists light up Havana’s art scene with their ability to make art and community out of scarcity.

There will be a Q&A and a margarita reception with the filmmakers following each screening. REEL DOCS donates proceeds from the screenings to the Bilbioteca in support of children’s programming at the library.


Art Documentary Film


Tue–Wed, Mar 13–14, 4pm

Q&A with filmmakers Bruce Donnelly, James Kubesch, and Fermin Rojas

Teatro Santa Ana, La Biblioteca

Reloj 50A

100 pesos

Includes margarita reception


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