I could not make it night before last to the Miami Premiere of Oscar’s Cuba, but Babalu had family there. Our very own Cangrejero was there, and the following is his report on the event:
Oscar’s Cuba – Miami Premiere
Last night was the Miami premiere of the Jordan Allot produced documentary – Oscar’s Cuba – about Cuban human rights activist and prisoner of conscience Dr. Oscar Biscet. The private screening, held at the historic Tower Theatre in Little Havana (1508 SW 8th Street), was limited to invited guests of film donors, the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, and members of Miami-Dade College’s Film Society. Subsequent public screenings are scheduled for May 18th, 19th, and 20th, also at the Tower Theatre. Only the screening on May 19th will be English, others will be in Spanish. Tickets for the upcoming screenings are on a first come, first serve basis, and are $6 for general admission and $5 for seniors and students.
Prior to the film’s screening at 8 pm, there was a reception held at Cubaocho Art and Research Center, 1465 SW 8th Street, across the street from the Tower Theatre. This eclectic and beautiful space merits its own post someday – maybe Val will get a group together and come party away some weekend. The owner, Roberto Ramos, was a charming host and recently had a book published (by my alma mater – THE University of Florida) with beautiful photos and descriptions of pre-1959 Cuban art. Much of that art hangs along the walls or serves as table placements and it is well worth a visit to this charming place. On weekends they have live music and a full service bar with light food and hors d’oeuvres.
The documentary itself was immensely informative, moving, and inspirational. I can’t imagine there was a dry eye in the house. It is the perfect tool to use to dispense with so much of the myth around the Castro revolution. It is historical without getting bogged down in minutiae, but more importantly, it is accurate in its depiction of the Cuban prison system and the complete lack of jurisprudence on the island. Many of the island’s prominent dissidents, artists, and bloggers were featured, including Darsi Ferrer, Oswaldo Paya, las Damas de Blanco, Yoani Sanchez, Claudia, Gorki Aguilar (lead singer for punk rick band Porno Para Ricardo), and many others, in addition to film clips of Dr. Biscet himself. Jordan Allott, the film’s producer and who is an English-born U.S. citizen, risked his freedom traveling to Cuba to film and document these peoples’ testimonies. In my humble opinion, he did a masterful job and deserves high praise from the Cuban exile community. We are indebted to him for making our cause his personal cause. He is a charming, humble, and very Christian man. Thank you Jordan, and may God bless you and your family.
After the screening, there was a short Q & A session. Winnie Biscet, the daughter of Dr. Biscet, gave thanks to Jordan Allott, as well as a short testimony on her feelings about her father. Many sobbed along with her. Truly, truly one of the most emotional moments I’ve encountered in a non-family setting. Afterwards, some of the attendees returned to Cubaocho for a nightcap. It was there that I really had a chance to speak with Winnie Biscet about her father. She is currently studying to be a nurse and her English is really quite good already. Her mother, Daisy Collado, is very protective of her and has done a great job raising her. Daisy said she had to get Winnie out of Cuba or she would’ve ended up with the Damas de Blanco and getting arrested. Her leaving was understandable – no mother wants their child in danger. I also met and spoke with Aida Ferret, the daughter of prisoner of conscience Darsi Ferrer. She explained that the difference in the spelling of their last names was due to an error on the issuing of his medical license, which used the more common name Ferrer. He never changed the license and subsequently went by that name. She is a writer and poet, and has published a book about her father. She maintains a blog at www.ferretando.blogspot.com.