March 27, 2023


Earn Nicely, Spend Wisely

AWE Alum Recasts Social Challenges in Cuban Movie

5 min read

[Cuba, February 2023] Filmmaker Diana Moreno is utilizing her production organization, Wajiros Films, to redefine what it implies to be Cuban – and coach the upcoming era of filmmakers.  She and her company bought a boost in company following she participated in an U.S. government trade application, the Academy for Gals Business people (AWE), which is helping her to expand the company.

Cuban filmmaker and AWE alum Diana Moreno employs her film company to market women’s perspectives in Cuba’s movie business.

It also helped her carry a exclusive feminist standpoint to Cuban cinema. Just one of Moreno’s own aims is to use her firm to advertise additional inclusive and various voices in Cuba’s small but rising impartial movie sector.

“The the greater part of people today functioning in movie are gentlemen,” Moreno mentioned.  “I had to mark my territory and it was these a obstacle. But I have additional females doing work with me now.”

Moreno begun creating videos in Camaguey, a compact town in central Cuba about 500 kilometers (300 miles) from the capital.  But devoid of quite a few chances to go after film at a professional degree, she moved to Havana where she launched Wajiros Movies with her spouse in 2017.  She marketed her automobile to scrape jointly the income to get a specialist movie digital camera.  With that, her small business was born.

“We wished to make films that portray the complete region,” Moreno stated, emphasizing how the business is striving to triumph over geographic barriers to portray a much more well balanced perspective of Cuba as a result of storytelling in deprived and rural components of the island. 

Moreno’s first skilled motion picture digital camera, which she purchased by marketing her auto. 

She extra that this ambition was the inspiration for the company’s name “Wajiros,” a riff on a Cuban term “guajiros” which about translates to “country bumpkin.”  According to Moreno, transforming the spelling of the term presents it new which means, turning a pejorative connotation of rural life into a source of countrywide pleasure — a topic in many of her company’s films.  

Taking part in the AWE plan assisted Moreno acquire her enterprise up a notch, she said, via a few months of entrepreneurship development and mentoring.  She was component of a course of 30 females entrepreneurs who discovered main enterprise competencies in strategic setting up, marketing and advertising, and finance applying the DreamBuilder studying system, created by Arizona State University’s Thunderbird College of World Management.

Moreno filming on the established of her shorter feature movie, “Los Coleccionistas,” which normally takes place in a little fishing village.

“AWE was amazing,” explained Moreno.  “It helped me to take a move back from my company and seriously examine it.”  

Moreno described strolling out of AWE classes with her head entire of inquiries, which assisted her later on to make critical strategic selections in marketing and advertising and finance. She labored closely with an AWE mentor — a girl entrepreneur who graduated from the AWE plan in 2021, and who assisted her boost her organization system. 

“Through AWE, I understood we desired specialised social media people who could keep an eye on the world wide web for us, and arrive up with a qualified system,” Moreno said.  

As a outcome, she employed a promoting agency, which meant she used significantly less time seeking for new clients, and much more time carrying out what she beloved — creating and directing films.   

She experienced a comparable epiphany about the company’s funds and employed a Finance Director to support the organization strategically leverage its assets in line with its very long-term objectives. 

“We are artists. But this is a small business and we want to operate it to make dollars to shell out our employees,” Moreno mentioned.  

By training other women to be producers, administrators and screenwriters, Moreno is aiding to deliver women’s perspectives into the movie marketplace. 

After selecting two added team associates, the company’s month-to-month profits jumped from $4000 to nearly $12,000 — a appreciable total for a business enterprise in the Cuban financial state, which Moreno says has suffered beneath inflation and frequent shortages of standard necessities like foodstuff and drinking water.  She reported the maximize in income has allowed them to hold 15 people today on personnel and is encouraging Wajiros expand its creation capacity. So much, the business has released 50 brief capabilities and documentaries, 10 comprehensive length movies and a variety of company online video tasks. 

Outside of operating a profitable manufacturing organization, Moreno has a bigger aim.  

“Promoting girls in film is aspect of why we launched the business,” Moreno stated, including that extra than 50 percent her workers are ladies.   

Aspect of Diana Moreno’s objective is to foment more inclusive storytelling by instruction the up coming generation of woman Cuban filmmakers.

Wajiros Films sponsors a group task named “Varentierra” that teaches women and disadvantaged youth outside the house the funds the electric power of storytelling via movie. Every single yr Varentierra hosts a 2-day festival to mentor the island’s up coming technology of filmmakers by means of quick film projects that protect tricky social issues, from poverty to weather modify, applying the cameras and microphones they presently have in their pockets.

 “We want them to generate responsible video clip tasks, even just employing their possess telephones,” Moreno stated. 

Through Varentierra, Moreno has educated about 2 dozen women of all ages, which is encouraging introduce much more nuanced, intimate, and inclusive views into Cuban filmmaking.  Moreno’s personal small function movie “Los Coleccionistas” (The Collectors), which follows the existence of two youthful siblings in a fishing village who battle in the shadows of sexual abuse, has been praised by critics as an illustration of provocative feminist storytelling that is element of a systematic boost of women’s voices in unbiased film.

Moreno’s quick aspect movie “Los Coleccionistas” offers a provocative seem at social challenges in a smaller Cuban fishing village. (Courtesy of Diana Moreno)

Moreno was a short while ago selected to be a mentor for the upcoming AWE class.  She stated she hopes she can go on the optimism and aid she obtained through her time with AWE to foreseeable future Cuban girls business owners.  

“Running a enterprise as a female in Cuba is complicated,” Moreno claimed.  “Sharing our experiences with other gals is an inspiring and gratifying knowledge. [AWE] made me realize that I can do nearly anything, and that I am not by yourself.”  

The U.S. Embassy just lately reopened its consular operations in Havana in January 2023, but has operated the Academy for Women Business owners as a virtual method in Cuba because 2020, benefitting additional than 120 women of all ages business people like Diana Moreno and setting up the romance concerning the U.S. and Cuba.  AWE has furnished 25,000 females entrepreneurs in 100 countries all-around the world with the information, network and access they have to have to launch or scale a business.   

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