MFF Praha - Febiofest
Irish filmmakers Gary Lennon and Ollie Aslin’s documentary explores the famous “Cuban Five” case. The former came to Prague to personally present the gripping tale of lies, false identities and encrypted messages at the 28th Prague IFF – Febiofest.
At the debate after the screening, Lennon revealed that it took several years before they got the Cuban spies, who were leading a double life as agents divulging information to Castro’s government while posing as respectable Americans living in the U.S., to cooperate. “I had to use the diplomatic channels and go through the Cuban embassy in Dublin,” the director said, adding that the spies have turned into major celebrities at home. “After the Castro brothers, they are probably the most famous people in Cuba. All of them hold top positions at various cultural and social institutions.”
All those interviewed, on the Cuban as well as the U.S. side, worked with the filmmakers for free. “Everyone, including the FBI, gave us lots of their time, and nobody tried to make money off of it,” Gary Lennon said with appreciation. The filmmakers also did not have to pay for the license to use unique archival footage, which was provided by the Cuban Institute of Cinema.
The director also discussed the current relationship between Cuba and the U.S. “The relationship is quite poor at the moment. Obama never opened it up like the media said, and the harsh embargo got even harsher under Trump. Besides, Cuba is quite dependent on tourism, which was hit hard by Covid,” Lennon observed. One of the viewers also asked how it is that an Irish filmmaker embarked on making a film about a Cuban story. “Filmmakers are always drawn to unusual stories. And I personally love history, which I studied at university, and I’ve always been fascinated by Cuba,” the director explained.
After three screenings during the Prague part of the Febiofest programme, viewers will be able to uncover Castro’s Spies in Děčín during the Febiofest Regions tour.