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Pace en Cuba: Dale

News Story

What do President Obama, the Rolling Stones, and a group of Pace students and faculty have in common? They’re all in Cuba this week.

President Obama is making a historic trip to Cuba on March 21–22; the Rolling Stones are playing a free show on March 25; and 15 Pace students will be spending the spring break of a lifetime shooting and producing a documentary on how Cuba is preparing for expanded American tourism. 

For the last few months, students in Pace’s Producing the Documentary course have worked on pre-production reporting and research, including interviewing American experts on Cuban history and environmental conditions. But the time has come for the students to travel to Cuba and immerse themselves in the island-nation’s culture and geography and gain invaluable filmmaking and production experience.

Joined by Dyson Professor and Program Director for the MA in Media and Communication Arts (MCA) program Maria Luskay, EdD, and The New York Times “Dot Earth” blogger and Pace Academy Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding Andrew Revkin, the student team (which you can read more about here) will meet with Cuban historians and experts in environmental and architectural conservation, explore organic farms, a sugar-growing region, and a botanical garden. They’ll talk to experts about how to preserve the best of old Cuba, while developing an economy as locked in time as the 1950s-era sedans that cruise Havana’s streets. And as Professor Luskay advised them, they’ll “let the camera tell the story.”

Over the last five years, the popular Producing the Documentary course has taken Pace students to some of the coolest places on Earth to see environmental issues through a different lens and capture it—from endangered turtles in Baja to sustainable shrimp farming in Belize to the future of the cork industry and forests in Portugal to coral reefs in Curaçao. These films have been featured on The New York Times “Dot Earth” blog, premiered at the Jacob Burns Film Center, and have won many prestigious film awards.

“This is the most real life experience that you’re going to get,” says Pace alumna and current graduate student Leslie Donelan ’15, who is part of the production team and also participated in last year’s trip to Curaçao as an undergraduate communications student.

The documentary will premiere on May 10 at the Jacob Burns Film Center but, for now, you can follow these 15 students’ journey on the Pace in Cuba blog and social media (Facebook: Pace Docs, Twitter: @PaceDocs, and Instagram: @pacedocs).