Emmy Award wining filmmaker Giovanni Paolo Autran details the lives of people local to central Havana in his documentary short Paloma. Read below for more information on the Brooklyn based filmmaker.
What is your connection to the South?
Other than being born in Miami, Florida, I have no connection to the South.
Where did you get your inspiration for this work?
Filmmaking for me is both passion and livelihood. After spending most of my time on work projects, I sometimes lose sight of the passion aspect. The inspiration for this film was me being determined to reactivate my passion while paying my respects to a place I’d always yearned to visit, Havana. Inspired by the early work of Les Blank, I chose a specific way to capture my awe of the city, the people of Havana, ahead of very quick and eminent changes on the horizon. The film is for them.
How did you start making films?
As an adolescent I began experiencing memory loss. Nothing clinical or serious, just a little sad. I started taking photos of times that I wanted to remember well, silly moments typically (I was 13). The photo camera turned into a video camera that I had saved up for, but it wasn’t until film school that I found better applications for the cameras – I began making documentary films.
Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?
I met all of my subjects for Paloma during my stay in central Havana, nothing was set up in advance. Walking around town with my odd-looking newsreel camera speaking South American Spanish, I knew I’d draw the attention of at LEAST a few hustlers. It was up to me to navigate this territory sensitively in order to gain access to local, meaningful subjects. The result was improvised, a street version of a traditional ‘fixer’ relationship that yielded friendly invitations inside peoples homes for certain scenes in the film.
What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?
I look forward to meeting local audience members and filmmakers that are excited about film, the community that surrounds ‘The Nick’ and makes it such a strong venue.
Why should someone see your film?
No one ‘should’ see my film, haha! I’d prefer they ‘would want to’ see the film, to see what goes on in Havana, to celebrate its people and enjoy its rhythm and way of life as I did.