Date of Submission

Spring 2023

Academic Program

Film and Electronic Arts; Human Rights

Project Advisor 1

Nicole Caso

Project Advisor 2

Ephraim Asili

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Más Grande Que Una Isla is a film about the political leanings of Cuban-Americans in Miami-Dade County, highlighting the dissonance in supporting policies that negatively affect the immigration process for others when they were incredibly privileged in the programs and opportunities available to them. It explores these political beliefs by tracing back to their origination, drawing out the privilege in the Cuban immigration experience that has existed for over half a century, leading us back to the present. While the film extends to a broader discussion, exploring the views of the Cuban community in Miami, it is personal at its core. Through familial interviews, Super8 reels that belonged to my Grandfather, and photographs, the film brings to the forefront the immigration experience of some of my family members and the stories heard by their children through the years. This film is as much about the Cuban community and immigration in the U.S. as it is about the privilege that Cuban members of my family had when immigrating.

I approached this loosely with a rough framework for how I pictured the film, building it around my interviews and the stories being told, viewing them not only as family history but as a reflection of a broader view within the Cuban community— thoughts and beliefs I’ve heard from many in Miami. As a mixed media film, I utilized archival, news, and family footage, my filming, photographs, and text to weave this story together. My main focus in filming was to capture footage of Miami, spots that hold significance or symbolism to Cubans. Initially, I did not intend to film any of my interviewees. However, I decided to film my Grandmother, the oldest of those I interviewed, because I pieced together the film around her interview, having other interviewees respond to critical topics discussed in her interview and the stories she referenced. My Mother recalled the same stories, reflecting on how her beliefs have evolved through the years, and My Great Uncle spoke for my Grandfather’s side of the family, recalling their immigration experience, serving as a voice for his story. I incorporated academic discussions and archival footage to respond to or reflect on what was discussed, pushing the conversation beyond the immediate family.

When I began making this film, I was unclear about my ‘goal’ or what I hoped it would accomplish. ‘Accomplish’ and ‘goal’ feel burdensome. I find them restrictive, creating a narrow path preventing me from seeing beyond the said goal and exploring other creative avenues. However, as I worked, what I hoped to accomplish with my film became apparent. I wanted it to serve the purpose of informing and contributing to a broader conversation. I’m aware that if I were to show this work to those in the Cuban community in Miami, many would take offense, demeaning it left-leaning, possibly even considering the film to be diminishing their own experience. It is a piece of media that would incite strong reactions, some might even rewatch it to build an argument against it, but others might ask questions. They might even reflect on their own immigration experience or the stories they know, considering friends who are not Cuban and have not benefited the way they have, offering a much-needed pause, a moment to look beyond Cuba and themselves.

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Creative Commons License

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