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Paisajes De Mi Abuela: My Grandmother's Landscapes

As a young Cuban American filmmaker who was born and raised in Miami and never had a chance to go to Cuba, I have always been fascinated in exploring different aspects of my culture. My grandmother was born in Cuba and migrated to Miami in 1958; She hasn't returned to Cuba since. She, like so many others in Miami who were born in Cuba, has never been able to return due to medical reasons and political issues.

Because of my participation in a fellowship program with Sundance, I was invited to attend a Sundance New Frontier Lab in Miami. This lab inspired me to go beyond the traditional means of filmmaking in order to give my grandmother a unique gift, in which she would travel to Cuba via film using virtual reality technology and relive her memories in a truly immersive and interactive experience.

In "Paisajes De Mi Abuela" I recorded my grandmother storytelling vivid memories of specific locations in Cuba that were special to her using binaural audio technology (which is used to create a 3D AUDIO effect.). I then traveled to Cuba with a 360degree camera rig in search of the exact locations where her stories took place. Now that I have returned to Miami, the audio and 360degree video are being edited together and uploaded onto the Oculus Rift virtual reality system. My grandmother will then be finally documented as she virtually re-lives her memories and the places that birthed them.

Besides the documentary, there will be an exhibition open to the Miami public where spectators will also be able to enter the virtual reality experience and explore specific landscapes in Cuba and the stories they hold. This project also has plans to expand to include stories and recaptured memories from Cuban American elders from the Peter Pan Project.

Funded by Miami, FL (July 2014)

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