Februar 2015


Black History Month

Mittwoch 25.02.2015 18:00 | Saal & Club

Eintritt: 10,- / 5,- €

Veranstalter/-in: Werkstatt der Kulturen/ Ricardo Bacallao


Documentaries & After-Film-Party

“Racial exclusion continued after Cuba became independent in 1902, and a half century of revolution since 1959 has been unable to overcome it.” NYT, Roberto Zurbano



presented by Amir Valle

Documentaries and short films about the Black culture in Cuba: Race, Religion, Music

Presentation of the film “The Uncle’s Request”

  • The Uncle's Request | R: Ricardo Bacallao, 85 min. | work in progress | Spanisch/Englisch mit engl. UT

Cuban Party | Katrin Wilke aka Djane Kaíta

Entry: 10,- (films and party) / 5,- (only films)


Offering to Yemaya: Goddess of the Sea

R: Ricardo Bacallao | 2009 | 12 min. | Yoruba


In Offering to Yemaya: Goddess of the Sea, Bacallao allows his audience a measured glimpse into the world of Santería, a religion brought to Cuba by Africans who had been captured and transported to the Caribbean as slaves.

The film documents a Santería ceremony in which worshippers pay tribute to Yemaya, the mother of all the Orishas, or deities of Santería. “I decided to do something about Santería because I needed to know more about this. That was my feeling, like, ‘Oh, I need to do something there.’” Aware that he stood a chance of alienating viewers who might find images of the ritual overwhelming, Bacallao made careful choices about what to film and what to cut. “For me it was so fascinating to be there inside of the ritual, but I realized for many people it’s too much. So I cut out many scenes. I showed some part of the ritual, and for me, it was enough.” His strategy for achieving this level of accessibility is to take an economical approach: “You don’t try to say too much,” he says. “I think this is the challenge: to be specific with the audience but at the same time not be superficial. A good story is a story people will understand.”

Short Radiography of Hip Hop in Cuba

R: Ricardo Bacallao | 2004 | 20 min. | Spanisch mit engl. UT

Review (Spanish)

In Short Radiography of Hip Hop in Cuba, Bacallao portrays the brief life of a genuine Hip-Hop movement in Cuba and its ultimate subversion by the Castro government through the eloquent words of musicians and fans of the genre.


In the seemingly chaotic style of Cuban documentary tradition, vivid performances showcasing the musical power and intense political character of the movement swing back and forth with a deceptively motley crew of Cuban Hip Hoppers who tell the seldom told tale of the continuing marginalization of Black culture by the Cuban political and cultural hierarchy with remarkable clarity and passionate conviction. With acute irony, Bacallao depicts the eventual demise of the movement’s authenticity and message with the usurpation of the Hip Hop Festival leadership by members of the infamous Asociación Hermanos Saínz, the government institution mandated to co-opt the sharp angry edge of artistic expression, undermining and eventually eliminating its essential intention of social criticism. 


Mondongo Cubano

R: Ricardo Bacallao | USA | 2014 | 10 min. | Spanisch mit engl. UT

The film is set during the ‘Special Period’ in the 1990s during which Cuba was plunged into the most disastrous economic crisis since the Cuban Revolution.


An ageing zoo-keeper, unable to bring himself to poison the zoo’s last lion, decides to bring the animal home and take care of it himself. His family, struggling already to make ends meet, balk at the idea at first – until they realize that the scheme might persuade the state to grant them a new and better house. Certain the additional hardship will pay off in the future, the family welcomes the beast into their home - with desperately tragic consequences.

How does this story translate for mainstream American viewers – many of whom were too busy celebrating the collapse of the Soviet Union to notice the devastating knock-on effect it had in Cuba?


The Uncle’s Request

R: Ricardo Bacallao, 85 min. | work in progress | Spanisch/Englisch mit engl. UT

Manuel, a young Cuban-American, who is struggling to reconcile his cultural identity, is petitioned by his dying uncle to kidnap the responsible of the death of his Grandfather in Cuba, now living in NYC. The Uncle’s Request is a film characterized by the bitterness and anguish with which Cubans have been living for more than six decades.


It is estimated that 2 million Cubans live in the diaspora.

The largest and most organized community resides in the States, holding all sorts of important positions from Senators to school bus drivers.

Since the Coup d’état of General Batista in 1952, groups with different political orientations have clashed and there are uncountable victims.

Ricardo Bacallao


Ricardo Bacallao, a Cuban Filmmaker, received his MFA in film from NYU. While living in Madrid and Berlin, Ricardo participated several times in the Berlin Film Festival, including being selected as the first Cuban representative to the festival's Talent Campus in 2003 and 2004.

In 2010, a segment Ricardo produced for CUNY TV's magazine show Nueva York won a New York Emmy Award. Since that time, he has been working as a freelance director, DP, producer and editor of documentary shorts both commercially and for air on venues such as CUNY TV, HITN, and at New York based exhibition spaces.

Ricardo Bacallao is finishing his first feature film "The Uncle's Request".