Cuban surfers fight to legitimize the sport in trailer (exclusive video)

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A group of surfers rise up to legitimize the sport of surfing in Cuba in the trailer for the new documentary Free Havana.

Directed by Corey McLean, Free Havana will premiere Friday at the Santa Barbara Film Festival and will be available to stream digitally on Apple TV, Amazon, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play, Vimeo on Demand and Xbox Movies on March 22.

You can watch the exclusive trailer above.

In Cuba, surfing and other water activities have been banned for decades, according to the movie website. Surfing now exists in a legal gray area, viewed with suspicion by Cuban authorities.

In Free Havana, Cuban surfers train to participate in global competitions with surfboards they have built from scratch, while trying to come to terms with Cuba’s tumultuous history. Shot over a three-year period, the film follows Cuban surfers Yaya Guerro and Frank Gonzales Guerra and the struggle of the Cuban surfing community to pursue their dreams against overwhelming odds, oppression and outdated ideologies.

“When we took our first production trip to Cuba, we embarked on a three-month trip with Frank and Yaya to shoot a short film about shaping surfboards. We had read a New York Times article from 2013 that touched on the topic and saw it as an excuse to spend time in a country we’ve always wanted to explore. These three months have proven to be groundbreaking, both for our characters and for the country,” said Free Havana director McLean.

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“The events that unfolded (the opening of the borders, Obama’s visit, the Rolling Stones concert, the birth of Frank’s daughter, Yaya’s transformation into a leader of the surfing community) spoke of something something far more important than shaping the surfboard. We soon realized that through these characters we were getting a unique impression of the Cuban individual that was so hard to resonate with in newspaper headlines. We realized that surfing could be a kind of guide to help viewers from all walks of life understand this on a human level. With this in mind, we decided to pursue a feature film and continued to follow our characters through an increasingly complicated time in Cuba and between our countries.

Free Havana is a Makewild film in association with Vacationland, presented in partnership with the World Surf League and Surfrider Foundation. It is produced by Tyler Dunham and Nicholas Weissman and distributed by 1091 Pictures.

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