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Documentary Film: Synopsis
In the year 1900, more than half of all Cuban public school teachers from across the island boarded five American military ships to travel to Cambridge to participate in a Summer School organized by Harvard, the largest such endeavor ever undertaken by the University. The purpose of the trip was to expose the teachers to modern methods in pedagogy and to the great advances of American society. The people of Cambridge, convinced that this Expedition would aid in the reconstruction of Cuba after the ravishing wars for independence in Cuba, contributed over $70,000 to finance the visit. In turn, Harvard offered Summer School courses free of charge to the nearly 1,300 teachers. Following six weeks at the Harvard Summer School, the teachers traveled to New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC before returning to Cuba. The educational project was not only a resounding success, but it also became the largest cultural exchange that has ever existed between the two countries, and was widely covered in the press at the time. In spring 2016, Cuban journalist and documentarian Danny González Lucena conducted archival research, interviews and filming at Harvard, culminating in the production of the documentary Los cubanos de Harvard (The Harvard Cubans, 2017).
About the Director
Danny González Lucena is a journalism graduate of the University of Havana. He currently works as a cultural journalist on Cuban television, where he specializes in art and cultural consumption. He has also been involved in issues related to heritage conservation and folk traditions, with several international special reports. His work as a filmmaker includes the titles: Por qué luchamos (2011), dedicated to the life and work of the Saíz brothers, and La Perla de Oriente (2016), which investigates little-known aspects of Guantanamo musician Lilí Martínez.
- World premiere: The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University, Monday, October 23, 2017 at 6 pm
- The Cuban Research Institute of Florida International University on Monday, November 6, 2017 at 7 pm
- Havana premiere: Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 5 pm at the Colegio San Gerónimo de La Habana
- Havana International Film Festival, Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at 10 am at the Multicine Infanta
- Harvard Gazette / November 2, 2017 Documentary Premiere Shares Untold Story of U.S.-Cuba Relations with a Harvard Twist
- The Harvard Crimson / October 24, 2017: Documentary on Harvard-Cuba Teacher Exchange Premieres
- OnCuba article October 2017 / English: http://oncubamagazine.com/culture/the-harvard-cubans/
- OnCuba October 2017 / Spanish: http://oncubamagazine.com/cultura/los-cubanos-harvard/
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