Rob Sequin | Havana Journal
Wally Moran is a Contributing Editor with SAIL Magazine and a cruising sailor who has sailed the north coast of Cuba on his last two visits there in 2009 and 2011.
He is currently working on a tv show about Cuba, to be named “Cuba - Forbidden Paradise”, that will present to the world, and particularly the people of the United States, the “real” Cuba without a political or tourism bias.
Havana Journal - How do you propose to accomplish this?
Wally Moran - Since I am very familiar with the North coast of Cuba, the communities and people there, I wanted to continue my journey to the South side of the island. I will make frequent stops to explore, meet the locals, and to get a sense of what is important to them, what their lives are truly like. And as a sailor, I’m very curious to know if the south coast attitudes are different from those of the north coast as I’ve been told.
Old Chevy looking North
What topics will you cover?
I’d like to explore in some depth the culture of Cuba, how Cubans go about their everyday lives, their work and their play. Work will be especially interesting given the changes in Cuba, with more free enterprise being encouraged by Havana and I want to look at that. We’ll be taking a look at the art of Cuba, which is both beautiful and amazingly eclectic, and at the music, which as you know is simply astounding. The talent in these two fields is mind boggling.
I hope to film a number of live acts in various locations, as well as everyday Cubans just enjoying making music. I want to explore some of the ‘clichés too - how rum is made, cigar rolling, that sort of thing, since viewers will be curious about these aspects of Cuba.
Then there’s the exchanges between people on a cruising sailboat and the locals - the trading for fish and lobster, the struggle to make oneself understood in another language (Wally doesn’t speak Spanish - HJ), and the camaraderie, the mutual understanding, that results from these exchanges. Shopping in the market, dining in the - what’s the term - paladares, the in-home restaurants - the sorts of things any tourist might do on coming to Cuba provided they ventured from the resorts and organized tours.
How about the politics?
Cuban politics is a fascinating subject, but I’m going to leave it to others - I think that politics is ultimately the problem facing Cuba - both internally and externally. I personally believe that when people - particularly Americans - see that there is far more that joins us as human beings and as individuals than there is that divides us, we’ll see more positive US Cuba relations come much sooner.
I understand you have to finance the tv show. How do you do that?
I could have worked at selling advertising or sponsorships, but in this economy, and given this subject matter, that would be problematical. I’ve chosen instead to use an online funding site, Kickstarter.com with my funding page here.
In the Kickstarter model of funding, individual donors give funds - in our case from $10 to $5000 or more - and in return, they receive recognition for their contribution, plus various rewards to make it worth their while to donate. It’s an interesting fund raising method and many worthwhile projects have been launched from this site.
What sort of rewards to donors receive?
Rob, we’re offering everything you can think of except Cuban cigars and rum. For smaller donations, we’re offering podcasts of Cuba, including scenes with original art and music. At higher levels, we’re offering a digital copy of the show, digital or print copies of the book, original Cuban art and/or music CDs by Cuban artists.
Going further, we are offering to include donors in a cameo shot in the film on site in Cuba and to include their names as associate producers in the screen credits. I think we’re offering incredible value, but more to the point, our sponsors are helping us to put out an important message to the world about Cuba. In the end, it’s all about how people feel about this project, about Cuba, and about themselves as people who help create change in this world.
How can Havana Journal readers contribute and support this project?
Rob, they can go to our website and click on the link on the front page for sponsorship, or go to the sponsorship page on our site. Either one will take them to the appropriate page at Kickstarter.com to make their donation. And if anyone wants to join the crew and do a cameo appearance on the show, they’d best hurry, because there are only three opportunities available for that particular award.
Who else is involved in this project?
There’s Jeffrey Cox, who was the producer of Haunted America, as my lead cameraman, and the show will be produced by Tory Salvia of TheSailingChannel, who has produced my earlier videos, one of which is on Cuba. There are others who are working with us on a consultative basis, giving us their expertise.
For example, I’ve spoken with people in Canada who do business in Cuba and a legendary film documentarian who will introduce us to important industry contacts.
You’re doing this trip on a sailboat. Is it a sailing documentary then?
No. Although inevitably, there will be a “sailing” aspect to the film but essentially, this is a story of discovery. The boat is simply a wonderful means of transportation to and around the island, and the show will have immense appeal to both boaters and non-boaters as well because of that. Recently, I interviewed a participant in the 1998 Tampa to Havana sailing regatta who had dinner with Fidel Castro. That interview will be part of the show by the way.
How can people learn more about you and the project?