TRANSIT HAVANA

Netherlands, Germany, 2016 | 88 + 52 Minutes | A film by Daniel Abma

New heroes of the Cuban Revolution.

  • SYNOPSIS

    Once a year, two plastic surgeons from Holland and Belgium fly to Havana to perform surgery on five Cuban transgender persons. The surgeons are invited by Mariela Castro, daughter of the president and head of the new state program for transgender care.

    Castro organizes this as a modern completion of the socialist revolution of 1959 because, in her words, it is all about emancipation and self-realization. ‚Homophobia no, socialismo si!‘ is the official slogan. The state helps transgender people with therapy, hormones, surgery and a new identity. Is Cuba changing into a safe haven for trans people?

    For more than one year, filmmakers Daniel Abma and Alex Bakker follow the three main characters Odette, Juani and Malú and show how they deal with the reality of being transgender in Cuba. As new heroes of the revolution, they still face religious intolerance, discrimination, sexism, poverty and often a life in prostitution. Meanwhile, they wait for the foreign surgeons to give them what they want most in life. Are their names among the five on this year‘s surgery list?

    The documentary features the historic day when presidents Castro and Obama suddenly announce new diplomatic relations, creating great expectations among the main characters. TRANSIT HAVANA – New Heroes of the Cuban Revolution gives us a unique insight into the paradoxes of Cuba, showing a surprising side of an island in transition.

  • DIRECTOR

    Daniel Abma was born 1978 in the Netherlands and moved to Berlin after finishing his studies in Primary School Education. He worked as a media-literacy teacher before beginning his studies in Film Directing at the Film University Babelsberg in Potsdam (Germany). His feature length documentaries BEYOND WRIEZEN (2012), TRANSIT HAVANA (2016), and AUTOBAHN (2019) were shown at film festivals worldwide and won several audience- and jury awards. Abma focuses on observational, character-based documentaries about social issues.

  • CREDITS

    Director
    Daniel Abma

    Script
    Alex Bakker

    Cinematography
    Johannes Praus

    Editor
    Jana Dugnus

    Sound
    Alexandra Praet

    Producer
    Iris Lammertsma
    Boudewijn Koole
    Stefan Kloos

    Line Producer
    Nazima Mintjes
    Veronika Janatková

    Music
    Alex Simu

    Sound Design
    Jeroen Goeijers
    Alenadra Praet

    Graphic
    Barbara Pilipp

    Production Assistant
    Cathrin Goebel

    Production
    Witfilm
    Kloos & Co. Medien

    Co-Production
    Filmuniversität KONRAD WOLF Babelsberg
    RBB/ARTE
    BNN-VARA

    Commissioning Editor
    Sjoerd Van Den Broek (BNN)
    Dagmar Mielke (RBB/ARTE)
    Jens Stubenrauch (RBB)

  • SUPPORTED BY

    Netherlands Film Fund
    Filmförderungsanstalt
    Deutscher Filmförderfonds
    CoBO

  • AWARDS

    Amsterdam LGBT Film Festival 2016
    Best Documentary

    MIX Copenhagen LGBTQ Film Festival 2016
    Lili Award for the Best Documentary

    Filmkunsttage Sachsen-Anhalt 2016
    Best Feature-Lenght Film

    Cinedoc Tbilisi 2016
    Audience Award

    Verzio Human Rights Film Festival Budapest 2016
    Best Human Rights Film

    Image+Nation LGBT Film Festival Montreal 2016
    Audience Award

    Human Rights Filmfestival Valencia 2017
    Special Mention

    Wpath.org Transgender Film Festival 2020, online
    Audience Award & Jury Award

  • FESTIVALS

    World Premiere
    Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2016, Czech Republic

    Further Festivals (Selection)
    International Film Festival Havana 2016, Cuba
    East End Film Festival 2016, UK
    Filmfestival Cottbus 2016, Germany
    International Film Festival Bergen 2016, Norway
    Queer Film Festival Oldenburg 2016, Germany
    Belgrade Queer Film Festival 2016, Serbia
    Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival 2017, Ukraine
    Millenium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival 2017, Poland

  • WATCH THE FLM

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