Fresh from its triumphant win for Best Feature-Length Documentary at IDFA in Amsterdam, Cuban docu “In a Whisper” (“A Media Voz”) makes its market debut at Ventana Sur where it screens on Wednesday Dec. 4.
Picked up by Brazil-based Habanero Film Sales prior to IDFA, “In a Whisper” is a moving auto-ethnographic documentary about two childhood friends who, as part of the Cuban diaspora, find themselves far away from home and on divergent paths. Docu had its world premiere on Nov. 23 at IDFA where it received a standing ovation, according to Habanero’s Alfredo Calviño.
Co-directors Heidi Hassan and Patricia Perez, best friends since meeting at a pool at the age of 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.
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“The epistolary format, tricky to pull off without seeming precious or affected, works beautifully here as a way to knit together two narrating voices rich in shared experience, but whose contrasting creative sensibilities reflect their different trajectories away from home,” said Variety critic Guy Lodge.
“In a Whisper” was co-produced by Daniel Froiz/Matriuska Producciones (Spain), Delphine Schmit/Perspective Films (France), Claudia Calviño/Producciones de la 5ta Avenida (Cuba) and Pierre-André Thiébaud/PCT cinéma télévision (Switzerland).
Docu will also compete at the upcoming Havana Int’l Film Festival, which runs Dec. 5-15.