Conectifai! Filming a digital revolution in Havana

Conectifai! Filming a digital revolution in Havana

The newest Guardian documentary finds out what happened whenever Cuba’ s phone company set up wifi routers in 18 open public parks

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Still from Conectifai documented.
Photograph: Horizoe Garcia for the Protector

“ Pork crackling with wifi! ” Welcome to the park in Havana where public wifi makes for a brand new kind of meeting place.

In 2016, ETECSA – the only real telephone company in Cuba – installed wifi routers in eighteen public parks across the country. For many Cubans, this meant being able to go online the first time. Our latest documentary paints the portrait of the social gathering hot spots these parks have since turn out to be. Every day crowds of people with smartphones, capsules and chairs turn up to bunch together around the wifi antennas, to some soundtrack of people shouting “ conectifai! ” (meaning “ connection! ” ). It gives everyone the opportunity to get in touch with loved ones, explore social media, upload pictures and find internet dates – actions that reveal much about a quickly changing Cuba .

The particular park wifi users help one another get online and roam around searching for better reception, before settling right down to peer at their screens collectively. During the day, it’ s mostly old women who turn up, but in the particular evenings there are groups of young people, flirting and engaging in more edgy wi-fi pursuits.

In the meantime, an extremely Cuban kind of commerce is also thriving, with vendors selling internet credit cards, drinks and snacks, shouting slogans like “ pork crackling along with wifi”.

The film , guided by Cuban director Zoe Garcia , was developed through a programme at Havana’ s EICTV film school pertaining to local documentary makers to produce a brief about Cuba in transition. Garcia’ s interest was more within the changes to everyday life rather than the much-discussed changes to politics. She talked about this in more detail in an interview in the Sundance film festival .

Conectifai was developed through an effort supported by the Sundance Institute’ t documented film programme .

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Conectifai: watch the full documentary Composite: Zoe Garcia for the Guardian/Guardian

Coming up: White-colored Fright

In 04 2015, Robert Doggart was caught for plotting what would have already been the deadliest terror attack upon US soil since 9/11, within Islamberg, NY. So why have Us citizens heard nothing about him?

Released 16 February

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Image from White Fright documentary Photograph: David Sutcliffe for the Guardian

Our documentary recommendations

At the cinema: There’ s a rare screening of one of the best documentaries of the year, Ex Libris , at Dochouse in London. The latest film from legendary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman invites you to spend three hours behind the scenes at the New York Public Library. Turning his inquisitive eye towards one of the world’ s greatest institutions of learning, Wiseman offers a captivating and engrossing portrait of this incredible resource of knowledge and community support for all of New York’ s inhabitants, no matter their social status or ethnicity. Despite its quality, the documentary, sadly, isn’ t planned for general release in the UK, so this is a rare chance to see it.

Outside London, book ahead for the excellent Queercore: How to punk a revolution in Manchester, about the LGBTQ punk scene. And in Glasgow, catch The ultimate Year , with its intimate usage of the last days of the National government as its members attempt to solidify policies they believe will define their legacy, promote diplomacy and fundamentally alter how the US government confronts questions of war and peace.

On demand: We recommend you immediately watch Errol Morris’ multi-part drama-documentary hybrid Wormwood on Netflix. It attempts to find the truth behind the mysterious death of a US man of science entangled in a secret cold battle programme. But that only shows part of the story. A deep jump into the history of 20th-century USA, this deliberately plays with the idea of exactly what truth means. Formally exciting plus experimental, it’ s a must-watch.

From the Protector

After the information that Hong Kong’ s democracy movement leader Joshua Wong has been jailed for the second period, watch The Infamous Chalk Girl , about a protester at the heart of the motion. Two years since her arrest produced her an accidental hero from the pro-democracy umbrella movement, the 16-year-old must decide whether to rejoin the battle alongside the “ localist” youth.

We all also recommend you watch our own documented series about Stoke-on-Trent if you haven’ t already, produced by Guardian filmmaker John Domokos.

Latest documentary news

The documentary Oscar selections are out – for a undertake them from our head of documentaries, Charlie Phillips, read his brand new month-to-month documentary column within the Observer’ s New Review

Looking further ahead, you can find two Weinstein documentaries on the horizon – one from the BBC plus Lightbox that claims to be the conclusive documentary take on the scandals, as well as a Approach 4 documentary for Dispatches strand about Weinstein as well as the UK documentary industry.

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