The documentary Havana Centro is now streaming on the video web site Slang TV>. Havana Centro was shot in Cuba in early summer of 2004. It explores the interplay of Santeria and Afro-Cuban music in modern day Havana.
Havana Centro was shot on a Sony PDX 10 digital camera, augmented with some wireless microphones and a wide angle lens. Paul Johnson was the photographer, and he was accompanied by the film’s producer, Sky Anderson.
“The film includes many Cuban musicians and artists, most of whom chose to be anonymous because of concerns about cooperating with an American production,” says Johnson. “The principal musician we featured though, is Joaquin Pozo, leader of the band Latin Millenium.”
“We arrived at the subject matter of Santeria through trying to trace back and understand the roots of Cuban music. What we found at every juncture was a connection in some way to the beats that were imported from Africa, and in turn have their roots in the powerful rituals of Santeria. The way that Santeria had endured decades of suppression also struck me as a metaphor for the artistic soul of this nation surviving the dual forces of Castro’s authoritarianism , and the US embargo. Taking part in a Santeria ritual is also one of the most powerful, surreal experiences you can ever have.”
Paul Johnson’s other films include:
“Death By Alcohol – The Sam Spady Story” – Director. 2006.
“Benched – The Corporate Takeover of the Judiciary – Correspondent. 2005
Check it out on slangtv.com, and if you like it you can buy it online at