They say it takes a village to raise a child, and in the case of local film “Luna’s Ring,” shot entirely in Cuba, the filmmakers are hoping a village will fund them to bring their project to life.
Local production company Awesome Productions has started a crowdfunding campaign, giving the public the chance to do everything from supporting the film to earning a spot in the credits.
When American writer Jesse discovers that his lover Luna has deceived him and stolen his ring, he is overcome with anger. He reports her crime to the Cuban authorities and Luna is convicted, incarcerated and sent to labor in the ruthless, scorching sugarcane fields. Jesse goes back to the U.S., but on his way back, he finds the missing ring in his suitcase. Stricken with remorse, he returns to Cuba seeking forgiveness and reconciliation with Luna. But before he finds her, he must confront his inner demons and Cuba’s revolutionary soldiers.
“Luna’s Ring” is a story of love, guilt and redemption. It is based on the real life experience of American writer and actor Michael Powell. In the 1990s, Powell was living and working in Cuba where he had an experience that eventually became the story of “Luna’s Ring.” He is now starring in the film of that story.
“For me, psychologically, I had to go to a really, really dark place and I couldn’t leave,” Powell says. “It was very hard for me emotionally, but conflict makes great film.”
Filming and funding
A film short that has been in the making for two years, “Luna’s Ring” was shot in Cuba in March of this year. The cast and crew that traveled the large island was comprised of six Caymanians, five Americans, and two Swiss. The rest of the team was made up of Cuban nationals.
Says director Badir Awe: “Filming ‘Luna’s Ring’ in Cuba was a tremendous achievement by many different people. Now we’re back in Cayman and we’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign to solicit support for our independent film project.”
In addition to helping the team recoup some of its filming expenses, some of the money from the campaign is earmarked to cover the costs of an original soundtrack, as well as produce a behind-the-scenes documentary on the experience of filming in Cuba.
Rayan Fresard, who is composing the original soundtrack for the film, says: “Cuba was amazing. It’s just a completely different way of living.”
“It was eye-opening to see the level of professionalism they have in Cuba as filmmakers,” says Tremayne Ebanks, the camera operator. “I felt a lot of pressure on me to get the shots, but I thrive under pressure.”
Throughout the seven days of shooting, the production faced many obstacles: flights were missed, passports were lost, embassies visited, cars broke down, hospitals seen and much more.
“Filming a movie in Cuba afforded us unique, behind-the-scenes experiences which we shot on camera,” Awe says. “After the shoot, we realized we had exceptional footage showing rare insight into Cuban culture. We thought, ‘Why not produce a documentary about filming a movie in Cuba?’”
The crowdfunding campaign ends in August. It has a goal of US$50,000 with top tier donations of US$5,000 and US$10,000, including perks such as executive producer credit, the chance to be part of the editing process, advising on the rough cuts, and film screening rights (US$10,000 donation only).
‘Luna’s Ring’ will premiere on Oct. 12 at the Poinciana Festival. The original soundtrack will also be released in October. The behind-the-scenes documentary will premiere in 2019. You can contribute to the film’s crowdfunding campaign at www.igg.me/at/lunasring. To reveal the perks for different levels of donation on the website, click on the chosen amount.