A Creative, Embargo Free Crowdfunding Campaign

Lynn Cruz

Lynn cruz, Foto de Juliana Rabelo, Fantasma Luis Trápaga

HAVANA TIMES — Verkami, a creative crowdfunding platform, has become very popular amongst independent Cuban artists. The reason for this being that the website is Spanish so it doesn’t run the same risks as other platforms, such as Indiegogo or Kickstarter, which are from the US and the US Department of the Treasury could freeze these funds at any time because they are related to a project being managed within Cuba, which is what happened to filmmaker Miguel Coyula with his film “Corazon Azul”.

Creating a Crowdfunding campaign is basically what we Cubans call a kitty or collection. People interested in the campaign can make their donations on the website over forty days. We have chosen to create ours on Verkami, to collect the amount we are asking for and to finish producing the play Patriotismo 36-77.

We launched the campaign on July 16th. This platform has a special feature which means that if you don’t raise the amount you are asking for, you lose all of the money collected. Of course, in this case, donations are returned to donors, who are called sponsors.

Seeing as we are making slower progress than most of the projects on this website, I am beginning to get worried. For example, one of the most prominent campaigns on Verkami in 2017 was created by photographer Paco Gomez and expeditioner Hilo Moreno. . They launched the first campaign to explore Antarctica via Whatsapp. And they managed to raise 22,000 euros for their project in just 40 days. 

How can a Cuban make their dreams come true, living in Cuba?

Because that’s essentially what we are campaigning for, to make a dream come true. Obviously we need to find similar people who like this dream and that’s where the challenge lies.

Over time, I have seen how much the Cuban political and economic system has affected us, especially when these words are used in the same sentence: “Dreams and aspirations”.

Genetic engineering in Cuba has been to decapitalize us. Cubans quite simply don’t have any credit because we don’t have a bank. In the world today, credibility is governed by accumulated sums in accounts.

How can you trust a second-rate citizen, who is being paid 30 USD per month by their government for being a professional in the sciences, arts or humanities?

I have been with actors Juliana Rabelo and Luis Trapaga here in Cuba. With filmmaker Terely Vigoa, who collaborates from Madrid, because internet access is another problem we face.

While the number of places we can connect to social media have increased on the island, we still have problems not only because of the slow connection, but also because of how much it costs.

We are all working subject to one single idea. Over time, we have realized that the best reward for our efforts won’t be found in a sponsor who contributes a large sum of money (although that could also be the case), but we would like to recover the ritual nature that our theater has lost.

We have discovered that we can make Cuban theater for the world thanks to the internet. Raising an audience’s awareness by choosing a focus that stems from desperation.

We have taken action in our art and to defend our civil rights out of consciousness and this has also brought us consequences. So, why not take our own testimonies as a starting point? This is where the idea for Patriotismo 36-77 came from.

If our project is successful and we manage to bring the most sponsors we can together, we would invite them all to see the play live, on our vimeo channel. We would add English subtitles because we want anyone, anywhere to be able to participate.

We would suggest times that suit both the West and East. People will be able to comment on social media. Write texts. Write a critical analysis which would help us to improve our art.

The livestream of the play will be in HD and the cameraman will follow actors throughout the entire performance, so that everyone seeing it online can enjoy a more cinematic recording.

On the other hand, the audience present at the live performance will see a play, a piece of performance art and the recording of the movie at the same time.



Lynn Cruz

It's not art that imitates life, its life that imitates art," said Oscar Wilde. And art always goes a step further. I am an actress and writer. For me, art, especially writing, is a way of exorcising demons. It is something intimate. However, I decided to write journalism because I realized that I did not exist. In Cuba, only the people authorized by the government have the right to express themselves publicly. Havana Times is an example of coexistence within a democracy and since I consider myself a democrat, my dream is to integrate this publication’s philosophy into the reality of my country.