Written by Antoine Sabarros on Nov 25, 2010. Posted in Contributors / On Location

Why I chose Cuba

I first came to Cuba in 1995. I thought a new filming location would be great for the industry, especially with costs beginning to spiral in Europe. Then a French production company asked me to film a music promo in Cuba as the artist had already recorded there.

The shoot was an eye-opener. While most of the equipment was outdated the crew were hugely inventive and had all the raw enthusiasm and energy to benefit a burgeoning industry. They’re backed up by pristine beaches and beautiful architecture that hasn’t been used for a commercial shoot since the revolution, but was just waiting to be utilised by an imaginative agency.

My first goal was to find a company willing to invest in Cuba – in other words to bring in a sufficient amount of high-tech equipment so as to be able to attract commercial filming to the country. The Cuban Government welcomes commercial shoots from international production companies as the revenue helps stimulate the Cuban Film Institute. Having modernised equipment also benefits the national audiovisual industry.

I eventually managed to forge a joint venture company between a German firm and the Cuban Government. As a result we now have the latest grip, electrical and camera equipment in Cuba, as well as trained crews and great casting possibilities. With great locations matched by great rates, Cuba is becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Cuba’s audiovisual industry is now expanding and Cuban technicians have rapidly improved their skills. Most production companies we work with now are only bringing their DoP, while the rest of the crew are hired locally. We have great support from the Cuban authorities who are extremely good in helping us getting filming permissions. Lately, for example, they helped us get the permits for filming aboard an aircraft over two consecutive days for an extremely low cost.

After having shot nearly 100 commercials in Cuba (greatly exceeding my first expectations) I'm pleased to see that the future looks very promising as more production companies seem to now choose Cuba as their next location for filming.

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    There are 3 comments

  • Michel Brussol


    Congratulation Antoine, you did a great work in Cuba, wishing you all the best for your future productions in Cuba and... also, in southeastern France !
    Michel Brussol - South of France Film Commission - Var


  • Francois Barge


    Yes, Antoine i know why you choosed Cuba:
    the best cigares in the word
    a great rhum at "apero's time"
    a piano session in "el Cerro" district
    one more cigare
    and two more Ron....

    beside all this you did and do a fantastic work there
    bay vista "HASTA SIEMPRE"

    francois Barge


  • miki kuretani


    wonderful article, antoine! i truly miss you and your cuba! your contribution to cuban film industry means philanthropy to cuban film crew! i would love to return to cuba for another filming project. congratulations, antoine. all the best, miki