94 MINUTES 2013
Secundaria quietly follows one high school class on its journey through Cuba’s world-famous National Ballet School. Our teenage dancers love to dance but many of them must dance as their sole way out of poverty.
At least, that’s how the movie begins. In their third year, Mayara, the shyest but also the most accomplished dancer, takes charge of her destiny with a sudden, unprecedented act of courage.
Our gentle stream of a story then, turns out to have a waterfall hidden around that last bend…
Between 2007 and 2011 I traveled 21 times to Havana gathering footage for two films about children growing up in the world-famous Cuban Ballet System.
My premise: Shoot only scenes that could not be translated into words. Ramona De Saa Bella, (AKA Cherie) Director of the National Ballet School, said, "Well, what else would you do? You're making a movie after all."
In the case of SECUNDARIA I followed one high-school class from auditions to graduation, focussing on Mayara, Moisés and Gabriella from day one - which is why the events that happen in SECUNDARIA are so startling.
Both Cuba films, this one and PRIMARIA, happened because of Co-Producer Lyda Kuth and her LLC Nadita Poductions.
Lyda is the Executive Director of the LEF FOUNDATION based in Boston, MA. She is the fairy godmother to all New England based filmmakers.
Juan José Fábregas Carballo, AKA, Pepe, started out the project as my driver. He eventually became The Fixer nonpareil and, ultimately, one of my closest pals.