With support from Noreweigian Film Fund
In collaboration with
Original Title: “Hermanas de Corazón” Capítulo “El Colegio San José”
Title in English: Sisters of the Heart – Chapter “Saint Joseph School”.
Production: Grupo de Video Imágenes del Caribe IMACARIB
Production year: 2021
Recording Format: FULL HD / Color
Director: Goria Rolando
Script: Gloria Rolando
Production: Gloria Rolando
Director of Photography: Erik Delgado
Sound: Juan Demósthene
Original soundtrack: Tony Ávila / Miguel Núñez /Grupo Vocal Baobab /Gloria Rolando
Since meeting with several black Cuban women, in Cardenas, Matanzas, Cuba, comes to light a forgotten passage in the history of the Island’s black people: an approach to the history of Saint Joseph School, an institution devoted to promote education prior to 1959.
Religious education –Catholic- came along with the demand to achieve proper training to face a social environment packed with discrimination based on the color of the skin.
With spontaneous testimonies; a combination of joy, nostalgia and sadness, amazed at the ruins of their ancient school courtyard. Everything started in a very special place.
An unknown and interesting story within the wails and ruins of Saint Joseph School as former Cuban alumnus, between 70 and 90 years old, remember their teachers, black nuns “The Oblate Sisters of Providence”.
Since a meeting with several black Cuban women, in the city of Cardenas, Matanzas, Cuba, comes to light a forgotten passage in the history of the Island’s black people: an approach to the history of “Saint Joseph School”, a visit to the ruins of their old school, brings out amazement and unforgettable memories about their teachers: The Oblate Sisters of Providence. Everything started in a very special place.
About the director:
Gloria Victoria Rolando Casamayor. La Habana, Cuba (1953). Film-maker,
Investigator, screenwriter and producer. On of the most active film-directors, in the field of documentary cinema, with her work completely devoted to the traditions of black communities in Cuba.. Attended the Municipal Music Conservatory Amadeo Roldan. In 1976, after completing her major in History of Art, in the University of Havana, went to work for the Cuban Institute of Arts and Industry, ICAIC, as Direction Assistant and in collaboration with relevant film-makers such as Santiago Álvarez, Santiago Villafuerte, Rigoberto López, Bernabé Hernández, Enrique Colina, Pastor Vega y Sergio Giral, to name only a few.
In 1991, she starts working as film-maker and the new video technology allows new production techniques, independent from ICAIC’s. In this context emerges the Grupo Imágenes del Caribe, now IMACARIB.
Member of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (2019).
Oggun. An eternal presen t. Oggún, un eterno presente (1991)
My footsteps in Baragua /Los hijos de Baraguá (1995)
Eyes of the Rainbow / Los ojos del arcoíris. (1997)
The Scorpion / El alacrán. (2000).
Roots of my Heart/ Las raíces de mi corazón. (2001)
Los marqueses de Atares. (2002)
The Jazz in Us Nosotros y el jazz. (2004)
Pasajes del corazón y la memoria. (2007)
1912, Voces para un silencio. Breaking the Silence (Serial in 3 chapters) (2003-2013)
Reshipment Reembarque. (2014)
Dialog with my Grandmother Diálogo con mi abuela (2016)
Saint Joseph School – El Colegio San José (2021)
Award Mejor Edición in the Festival de Video (Cuba.) 1991; Special Award Oscar Valdés in the Festival Video (Cuba). 2000; Mention with the Certamen Iberoamericano de Ética Elena Gil, 2001; Vitral Award en el Movimiento Nacional de Video (Cuba). 2001; “Sara Gómez” Award 2007; “Walterio Carbonell” Prize Granted by the Cofradía de la Negritud 2013; Caracol Prize (Non-fiction ) Granted by UNEAC) in 2016. Distinción “Gitana Tropical” From Dirección Cultural; Diploma “Al Mérito Artístico”; Granted by the Republic of Cuba, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Higher Education; Medalla Federico Fellini Granted by UNESCO.
NOTES ON THE PROJECT.
I came across The Oblate Sistes of Providence, in 2014, while visiting the city of Baltimore in the United States, I was fascinated by the story about Mother Maria Lange and was able to meet the last Cuban nuns who were members of the Order, all of them black.
I live in the City of Havana and the big challenge was how to carry out this Project and it wasn’t until 2017 that I went back to visit them and was able to further my research and hear lots of their stories. I haven’t been able to return since then.
So, I’d decided to focus on the voices, photos and documents I’d found in the city of Cardenas, Matanzas, in Cuba. That’s how with almost no funds and the five members of the IMACARIB team, we started with the chapter about Saint Joseph School. There was no time to lose, the creation process and the big Project had to settle for what was possible: When we arrived in Cardenas, our first task was to get in touch with the former Oblate alumnus.
The excitement, the interest and the recognition of a story kept along many years in their memories, assured us their support. And they had the courage to join the film crew in a visit to their former school.
Those open doors, that visit determined the narrative in the documentary, it was painful, yet necessary, it opened the doors to the past, the photos and medals they Kept so dearly, joined in the language of the memories from that city, the big stage where this story took place.
Sait Joseph’s was the second school opened by the Oblate Sisters in Cuba and I thought: I’m certain that making “St. Joseph School” will promote the attraction to the rest of the chapters “.
The rest of the project is still in a production stage, although we have plenty of footage and considering the relevance of the materials I’ve decided to split it in two chapters, because there was too much valuable information: “Las Novias de Dios”/ God’s Brides and Los Angeles de la Memoria / The Angels of Memory.
Each chapter will offer new historical details, documents and unique voices from those nuns I found in 2014 along with precious memories from former girl students of the Oblate Sisters in different Cuban provinces. The purpose being to reveal the great contribution made by these black nuns in making a place for those Afrocuban young girls in a society full of inequalities and racial discrimination and, of course to highlight a point in the history of Cuba’s education through those three chapters.
It will show a proud image to exalt the efforts of Cuban black family in the XX Century. An image to contrast with classic stereotypes aimed to hide the real history. That’s the reason why IMACCARIB must move on patiently to both chapters Las Novias de Dios and Los Angeles de la Memoria expecting our men and women friends, to collaborate in this endeavor.
Photoframes from the documentary «Sisters of the Heart”
CHAPTER 1 Saint Joseph School
Interview with the director’s :
Project “Sisters of the Heart”
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