My significant other is brilliant, and so is Air America superstar political commentator Sam Seder's.
The film focuses on the personal stories of five Cuban photographers -- on both sides of the political divide -- "whose lives and work span nearly five decades of revolution in Cuba."
Here is a snippet of a Q&A with Cattell that is worth reading in full:
What led you to make REVOLUC!ON: Five Visions?
I saw some photographs of Che Guevara that so perfectly captured the dream of the Cuban revolution that I was instantly captivated by them. I started to look into meeting the photographer. This is what led me to Raúl Corrales.
Then I started to get more interested in trying to find out what became of that dream so beautifully defined in a photo. So, it made sense to me to look at this question through photography, and that is how the film became about five photographers whose work spans nearly five decades of revolution in Cuba.
What did you want to achieve with your film?
I wanted to offer a multifaceted perspective of the Cuban revolution and explore the intersection of art and revolution. I have always been interested in not only how artists respond to and describe their social circumstances, but also in how they can participate in transforming them.
I wondered how artists participated in a society that was undergoing radical transformation or revolution. Initially, the film was just going to be about the photographers who were hired by Castro to document the revolution. The story became more complex when I realized that the revolution was not just one moment in time in Cuba, but that technically, the revolution is still happening on the island.
So it made sense to work with artists whose work spans that entire period. And it allowed me to discover the changing and varied perspectives on revolution.
I didn't ask Sam's permission to post this note from him to me -- and hope it's OK -- but it adds to the drama of this film and how it was made:
I think it was folks in the Ministry of Culture who tipped us off that Cuban counter intelligence was following us while we were making the film. Ultimately it was fine but i was freaking about losing the footage.
Intriguing. Sam Seder and his wife shot this film in Cuba in 2002 -- and it sounds like there were evident parts of a security apparatus in plain view.
But when I was in Cuba recently, this just wasn't all that evident -- except around venues like the US Interests Section (the equivalent of the US Embassy). I looked hard for people watching, following, monitoring -- and as a runner who ran several times through hefty chunks of Havana-- and who met numerous people without supervision, clearance, or approval -- I just had a different experience than Sam.
But this film should be interesting for Cuba interested folks as well as artists.
Now about Sam Seder -- who has been the long term host of both Air America's Majority Report and then the Sam Seder Show. His gig on Air America ends this very week, today (I think) -- although he will do a Sunday show now from time to time. (Actually, Sam Seder's show concludes next Friday, Friday the 13th.)
I want to thank him on behalf of liberals, progressives, and radical centrists like me -- and even conservatives who really do depend on the sanity of people like Sam to make the world safe for a little political eccentricity -- for outstanding, humorous, penetrating, and policy-sculpting commentary and interviews these last couple of years.
I have been one of many who have benefited from semi-regular exchanges with Sam on his show and consider him one of the best out there in progressive radio.
So, watch Nicole Cattell's film next Tuesday -- but say a toast to Sam Seder tonight.
-- Steve Clemons publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note