In January, 2015, 23 students from Harvard Westlake High School embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. Armed with a video camera and sunscreen, they took off to explore the forbidden Communist island of Cuba. They weren’t on a pleasure cruise either, they each had an important story to tell. After all, the trip was a Digital Storytelling Adventure and Cuba is packed with compelling stories in need of telling. And who better to tell them than our fearless filmmakers!
These teen-produced documentaries resulted from a Digital Storytelling Adventure to Cuba, a program of Harvard-Westlake School in Studio City, California and Friendship Tours World Travel, and led by artist/educator Cheri Gaulke, Emmy Award-winning journalist/producer Jeff MacIntyre (Content Media Group), and history teacher Alethea Paradis. For more info about this and other trips, go to friendshiptoursworld.com.
Cuba is known for its expressive music, but how did the revolution affect musicians’ freedom of speech through their music? Three American teen musicians delve into the matter through interviews with scholars and contemporary Cuban musical artists.
Love and Music. A film by Sophia Dienstag, Ryan Finley and Sarah McAllister. 4:46
With historical roots in Spanish colonialism, African slave ships, Chinese railroad workers and no surviving indigenous populations, what exactly does it mean to be Cuban? This teen-produced documentary reveals the nature of Cuban identity.
Being Cuban by Quinton Simmonds and Cameron Stine. 3:38
A dialogue has been opened between the U.S. and Cuba. Two U.S. teen journalists traveled to Cuba and asked people on the streets, what would you like Americans to know?
Dear America by Sammi Handler and Lauren Kim. 4:54
Baseball may be America’s favorite past time, but to Cubans it means even more. Three teen sports enthusiasts traveled to Cuba and spoke to scholars and fans to learn more about the legacy of baseball in Cuba.
Stealing Home. A film by Justin Ciccone, Joe Levin and Michael Stokdyk. 4:26
A teen of Korean-American descent travels to Cuba and draws similarities in how politics have created distance between people in the U.S. with those in North Korea and Cuba. This personal reflection also offers hope for a more open future.
From Fear to Friendship by Eugenia Ko. 3:14
This experimental video presents contemporary Cuba as a mosaic of history, people and cultural expression.
Cuba by Elly Hong. 1:23
The filmmaker turns the camera on a group of teens traveling through Cuba to make documentaries in this humorous short film.
C-Roll: Cuba 2015 by Sampson Traenkle. 4:37
Teen filmmakers document a photo project in which a Cuban pre-teen is given a camera to document her life.
#WhereAmI by Catrin Murphy and Rachel Seplow. 2:19
Two teen journalists travel to Cuba to learn how the embargo has affected life on the tiny island.
Para Cuba by Angela Soyeon Chon and Mikaela Wolfsdorf. 4:16
For forty years, Cuban families have been separated by water and politics, but the desire to connect remains strong. A teen filmmaker uses her camera to deliver a message of love to the once forbidden island.
Embargo on Love by Lauren Rothman. 6:34