Key West Art & Historical Society and the San Carlos Institute invite the public to an evening of celebration and support for young, local filmmaker/director Christian Fernandez and his short-film project “Este Niño Lindo,” a fictional narrative of a treacherous journey two siblings endure as they flee Cuba for the U.S. in a makeshift raft. The fundraising event takes place on Thursday, August 10, 2017, from 5:30-8:00pm at the San Carlos Institute, 516 Duval Street, Key West.
A champagne welcome and presentation by Fernandez about his project and ramifications of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy is to be followed by viewings of his previously-made short film about the Cuban Chugs now on exhibit at the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden and the film trailer for “Este Niño Lindo.” The evening will conclude with a reception in the San Carlos foyer, with mojitos and hors d’oeuvres sponsored by Roderick Gill and the Boathouse Bar & Grill and Key West Legal Rum Distillery.
Admission is free, with donation and raffle proceeds to benefit the film project, which was originally conceived as a thesis project for the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema of Brooklyn College.
“So far we have had tremendous support from Florida Keys friends and organizations,” the filmmaker said. “We are extremely grateful for that support because we feel it’s a story that demands to be told, as it is based on the real-life struggles of Cuban refugees.”
Directed by Fernandez, produced by Mary McCune, co-produced by Alyssa Villegas, with cinematography by Alexandra Brown – all of whom are Feirstein graduate film students – “Este Niño Lindo” was inspired by Fernandez’ 2015 discovery of a Cuban Chug in the Cudjoe Bay mangroves as he, then age 22, returned from a fishing trip with his father, Omar.
“We couldn’t get to it via the boat, so I hopped in the water and waded to it,” Fernandez says. “It was very eerie, and humbling. There were sugar packets and empty bottles, and clothing. Most compelling was a little girl’s sweater. I was haunted by the question of what had happened to the people on the raft. Did this thing arrive full, or empty?”
Filming is scheduled to begin on Cudjoe Key this month. More information on the narrative of Cuban chugs and their plight of their passengers can be discovered in an exhibit at Fort East Martello Museum, open daily 9:30am-4:30pm.
Sponsored by Key West Art & Historical Society, the San Carlos Institute, Roderick Gill and the Boat House Bar & Grill, and Key West Legal Rum Distillery. For more information, contact Adele Williams at 305-295-6616, extension 115. Your museums. Your community. It takes an island.