— Cuba Journal (@CubaJournal) August 2, 2016
It’s no secret that the US film and television industry has discovered Cuba.
Among the images of antique American cars is a steady and growing stream of on-location film and broadcast events flocking to Cuba to capture its elegant shabbiness and tropical imagery as a backdrop for a wide variety of video and film content that is in high demand – particularly in the US where Cuba represents a whole new destination and culture.
Barry Pasternak, CEO of Cuba International Network, LLC (CIN), is not surprised. Having working in Cuba for decades – in addition to a successful career in the US broadcasting industry – Barry and his crew of seasoned engineers, technicians and creative veterans launched CIN to fulfill a difficult market need: on-location film and video, in studio productions, live broadcast and post-production content originating from Cuba.
CIN’s US government approval to provide such services in Cuba puts Barry in a sweet spot as the first US company approved by the US government to operate in Cuba in the industry.
“Cuba’s potential as a film and broadcasting destination is among the most exciting in the world today, yet the challenge is being capable on the ground in Cuba. That’s the problem we solve for our clients,” says Barry.
Cuba’s exoticism and forbidden fruit quality is major factor influencing decisions to shoot in Cuba. So is the energy and ingenuity of Cuban people. But the industry capable of capturing and displaying Cuba’s rich gifts has been stymied by a lack of modern, domestic film and broadcasting resources – the existing infrastructure is both government-owned and out-of-date – forcing film and broadcasting projects to import their own equipment and technicians, at high cost.
According to Barry, “There is a lot of potential for Cubans to work in film and broadcasting. They are capable and eager to learn.”
CIN is working with local industry partners in Cuba to gain access to physical facilities, train local workers and import equipment vital for the production of artistic, athletic and culture events. Negotiations have been on going for more than a year, and today CIN is ready for business.
Capturing the Cuban culture and making it accessible for the film and broadcasting industry is no small task. The island nation possesses a variety of superlatives that are only now being discovered and developed. In architecture, Havana is home to the largest collection of remaining colonial-era architecture in the world. It’s pristine coastline is 40% longer than Florida’s and, as the largest island in the Caribbean, there is a wide variety of terrain that can be hard to get to without an experienced team.
Barry is no stranger to getting the job done in remote locations. The Emmy award winner has trekked the globe bringing broadcast and film projects to fruition under time and resource constraints. A recent project involved providing the technical capability to broadcast the X-Games in Foz Do Iguacu, Brazil for his client, ESPN. The CIN team has worked with virtually all the major players in the US TV and broadcasting industry.
“Cuba adds a whole new dimension for the film and broadcast industry to deliver authentic content from a country undergoing an exciting cultural and economic transition in a tropical location,” says Barry.