Hecho A Mano: Creativity in Exile

Aug 30, 2012

Hecho a Mano: Creativity in Exile weaves together the stories of four Cuban artists now living in Miami.

Francisco “Paquito” Hechavarría played piano for some of Cuba’s biggest bands and was a regular performer at the Fontainebleau when the likes of Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis graced the stage there in the 1960s. In the ’80s, he worked the lounge circuit with legendary Cuban bassist Cachao. Along the way, he helped create one of the catchiest hooks in pop music history—the unmistakable piano intro on Miami Sound Machine’s mega-hit “Conga.”

Tony López began sculpting as a young man in Cuba. For the past 50 years, he has worked from a small studio in Miami, producing thousands of sculpted works, including the original model for the imposing, unforgettable Holocaust Memorial on Miami Beach.

Nelson and Ronald Currás are twin brothers who came from Cuba in 1980. Setting up shop first in Miami Beach and later in their Little Havana home, the brothers are well known for large-scale, painted-tile mosaics that grace private homes, hotels, and public spaces throughout the Caribbean.

Hecho a Mano: Creativity in Exile is the story these four men, from their beginnings in Cuba to their early experiences in exile to today, exploring their dedication to their craft and their ability to create under often challenging circumstances.

Combining original interviews with privileged scenes of its four subjects in their respective elements — Hechavarría at the piano, López lovingly molding clay, the Currás brothers’ painstaking painting of individual tiles — Hecho a Mano is a documentary about life’s unexpected turns and the joy of working with your hands.

About the Producers:

Gaspar González is a writer and filmmaker.

His film credits include Nixon's the One: How Tricky Dick Stole the Sixties and Changed America Forever (PBS, 2010) and the critically acclaimed Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami (PBS, 2008).

He has written for The Miami Herald, Newsday, and Village Voice Media, among others. A former Dorothy Danforth Compton Fellow, he received his Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University. He lives in Miami.

Brett O’Bourke is a journalist and documentary filmmaker.

A former reporter and editor at The Miami Herald, he has produced documentary programming for A&E, The History Channel, and Discovery, as well as edited the internet arts and culture site Flavorpill.

He is the founder of Common Machine, a digital media production company with offices in Miami and Chicago.