The producers of Havana Motor Club could not have imagined the changes Cuba would experience when the film’s Kickstarter campaign started in 2014.
The film eventually raised $59,805 from 501 backers on Kickstarter and went on to be nominated for Best Documentary Film at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, it’s world premier.
The film is now available on iTunes and in NYC/LA/MIAMI theaters this Friday, April 8th.
Havana Motor Club has received a variety of positive reviews and commentary. Here are several examples that capture the essence of the story in the context of Cuba’s culture and transition.
Donna Kelly’s review in Screenrelish says, “Inspiring, thrilling and visually stunning, the HAVANA MOTOR CLUB is more than just a film about racing, it’s about Cuba’s divided emotions”
David Salazar wrote in the Latin Post, “The climax of the film is beautifully executed with the tension ramped up in a way that no fiction film could possible top. And the moment of truth is quite impactful as well in its suspense and the awe it inspires. You simply cannot make up what happens at that finish line. On the surface, “Havana Motor Club” might seem like a movie for niche audiences with an interest in drag racing. But the film is a historic document that allows viewers an opportunity to explore a nation that has maintained itself cut off in many respects from the rest of the world. Through the film, this world is opened up through its people who work every day for dreams and goals that many of us take for granted in our daily lives.”
Vice’s Brandon Harris says,”‘Havana Motor Club’ Looks at the Glory and Ingenuity Behind Cuba’s Underground Drag Racing Scene.”
Havana Motor Club tells a personal, character-driven story about Cuba’s vibrant community of underground drag racers and their quest to hold Cuba’s first official car race since shortly after the 1959 Revolution. It tackles how Cuba’s recent reforms — the owning of property, allowance of small businesses, and greater exchange between Cubans, Cuban Americans, tourists, and other foreigners — have affected the lives of these racers and their families. One racer enlists the help of a Cuban American patron in Miami to bring in parts for his modern Porsche. His main competitor is a renowned mechanic who uses ingenuity rather than resources to create a racing machine out of his 1955 Chevy Bel Air.
Another racer ponders whether he will participate in the race or sell his motor — one that he recovered on the ocean floor from a ship used to smuggle Cubans off the island — in order to flee Cuba on a raft headed to Florida. Meanwhile, the race itself is in jeopardy of coming to fruition due to factors ranging from its status as an elitist sport to the arrival of the Pope in Cuba. Through the experiences of these racers and their community, Havana Motor Club explores how Cuba is changing today, and also what its future holds in light of Obama’s recent move to normalize relations with the island nation.