Brazil-based Habanero Film Sales has snagged the international sales rights to “In a Whisper” (A Media Voz), a moving autoethnographic documentary about two childhood friends who, as part of the Cuban diaspora, find themselves far away from home and from each other. Docu had its world premiere on Saturday at IDFA where it received a standing ovation, per Habanero’s Alfredo Calviño.
“I need you back in my life,” says one as they begin to send each other videos, delving into their struggles with homesickness, finding work, partners, motherhood and most importantly, the siren call of cinema, of making films. “The Cuba you miss no longer exists,” says another as she implores the other to move forward with her life.
Co-directors Heidi Hassan and Patricia Perez, best friends since meeting at a pool at ages 7, are now in their early 40s. Both studied at Cuba’s prestigious International Film School of San Antonio de los Baños (EICTV), before emigrating to Europe, Hassan to Switzerland and Perez to Spain. “We started exchanging video letters, using archival material and videos to catch up on the past 15 years,” they said. “This documentary was borne from our longstanding desire to make films together,” said Perez, who made several award-winning short films prior to making “In a Whisper,” her debut as a full-length documentary director.
After getting a degree in Cinematography from EICTV in 2002, Hassan emigrated to Switzerland where she continued her professional training at the Haute Ecole d’Art et Design in Geneva, securing her diploma in Film Directing in 2008. She now works as a visual artist, and director of photography; “In a Whisper” is her second full-length documentary.
“In a Whisper” was co-produced by Daniel Froiz at Matriuska Producciones (Spain), Delphine Schmit at Perspective Films (France), Claudia Calviño at Producciones de la 5ta Avenida (Cuba) and Pierre-André Thiébaud at PCT cinéma télévision (Switzerland).
Docu will have its market debut at confab Ventana Sur in Buenos Aires in December and will also compete at the upcoming Havana Int’l Film Festival (Dec. 5-15).