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Carlos Lechuga, the Cuban director who prefers to sell pizzas to make a film about Raúl Castro

Cuban screenwriter and director Charles Lettuce he bought sunflowers and put on a shirt to talk about his new life in Barcelona, ​​where he is “starting a family and a relationship”.

“I’m looking to the future.What movie can be made today in Cuba? It is a country that is finished. Arriving here is an incentive to tell stories. It’s like a new beginning,” says the author of the book Neither Santa nor Andrés in an interview with DIARIO DE CUBA.

Lechuga has had to leave behind his mother, his family, the country that saw him grow as a professional and ended up spitting him out. “Back in Cuba my life was very precarious, there I no longer had the team of people who have always supported me. The only thing he did in Cuba was drink alcohol, he was going to lose his teeth and I’m a bit presumptuous,” she says, smiling.

Lettuce, known from movies like Molasses Y Santa and Andrewjust published Neither Santa nor Andrés with Adriana Norman, who was the co-author and, according to Lechuga, wrote more than him. “It was sad not having Adriana at the Madrid Book Fair with me, she is the one who has worked the most, otherwise a very nice experience. Everyone is in Madrid.”

“I don’t know to what extent Neither Santa nor Andrés it may work for someone who doesn’t know the movie. The book is the journey, the dramatic arc of what happens to two filmmakers, in this case me and my producer Claudia Calviño, with respect to film censorship Santa and Andrew.

Lettuce revived the demons of the past when he sat down to write the story that this book tells. “Thank God Adriana was there, that’s why it’s mostly written in the third person. It hurt me so much and the level of impotence was very high, that’s why I looked for a co-author, and who better Adriana Normad.”

For the director, the book can be “very nice for people who are just starting out and have not yet had any problem with the island’s cultural institutions. All this happens when there was no internet access that there is today in Cuba, when we were not so used to dealing with State Security. I myself was silent for many years and that did not help to heal quickly.”

“This is the story of two young people who have never had an encounter with the Cuban cultural machinery. We had done a movie they had tried to censor and already with Santa and Andrew the meetings came with that minister whose name I don’t even want to say, State Security, etc.”

The book Neither Santa nor Andrés it was gestating for a year. Lettuce says that, after the meetings, in which they even threatened him with justice for making a movie, they took notes so as not to forget the details. “Claudia Calviño wrote a lot.”

Regarding the feeling of being alone in a country without justice or rights, Lechuga says that there were many people who supported them. “I will always have to take my hat off to Fernando Pérez and Haydee Milanes who were next to me. We were a married couple, Claudia and I, alone, who didn’t want to tell our parents so as not to worry them, and a bunch of people who wanted to help, but didn’t trust us. Of those there were two or three who really supported us, and the rest just wanted to bring down Abel Prieto. There was a kind of internal war, I don’t know if it was for three liters of gasoline. Me Because I was cowardly and inexperienced, I didn’t speak and you always have to speak“.

Lettuce’s own favorite movie, Vincent B, It’s finished, and will be released between August and October this year. We have two places that have already picked up the movie, but we can’t say. I really want the actress and all the people who worked on her to see it. It’s the one I like the most of my movies.”

Vicenta Bwhich won the San Sebastian film under construction award and the Cuban ICAI fund, came to show Lechuga that he could continue directing. “After what happened to me Santa and Andrew I didn’t know if I was going to direct again, if I was going to be able to do something without censoring myself. She didn’t know if she was going to be okay. Everything I want related to cinema is in that movie.”

In Cuba Lechuga lived writing texts for Cuban media off the island, like hypermedia Y The sneeze, and as a ghost writer for creators from Spain who got stuck with a script or a story.

“In serious moments I was also able to teach at the San Antonio de los Baños film school, but after how they behaved after the 11J protest, it was no longer possible to go back there.”

On the Cuban directors who make films that do not bother the authoritieslettuce says that he prefers “selling pizzas to making a film about Raúl Castro at a time when the country is falling apart.

“I can understand that another type of worker supports that or turns a blind eye, but that an artist who calls himself an artist turns a blind eye to put a movie in the La Rampa cinema for three minutes, I don’t understand it.”

Regarding what is coming in the future, Lechuga says that he is “working with a very important person here. I am preparing a series of vampires in Barcelona. For now I have to wait for the papers, I will see if this comes out or I will have to work on something that is not It’s my thing, but I’m not afraid”.

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