New Film . . . Cigars: The Heart and Soul of Cuba

James Suckling, formerly with Cigar Aficionado, and film director James Orr have released “Cigars: The Heart And Soul Of Cuba”, a unique documentary film on Cuban cigars and the spirit of the Cuban people.

Here’s more from the press release:

Written and directed by Orr, the 53-minute video chronicles the entire process of Cuban cigar making, from planting to packaging, offering rare, never before seen footage of the facilities where these cigars are produced, and the people who make them. Suckling serves as host of the movie, guiding viewers through this journey across Cuba.

Suckling has been traveling to Cuba regularly since the early 1990s, first as European Editor of Cigar Aficionado magazine, and now with his own website, http://www.jamessuckling.com. He has visited the tobacco plantations, sorting houses, factories, and cigar shops hundreds of times over two decades, but in “Cigars: The Heart And Soul Of Cuba,” he aims to discover why Cuban cigars are the best in the world – and he does.

The documentary has already garnered much praise from premiering to select audiences in Cuba, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Canada, and China, and is now available for purchase online worldwide.

For more on “Cigars: The Heart And Soul Of Cuba” and to purchase the film, visit heartandsoulofcuba.com.

Suckling sat down for an interview with Alexander Britell from Caribbean Journal, which you can find at http://www.caribjournal.com/2012/01/25/cigars-the-heart-and-soul-of-cuba-an-interview-with-james-suckling/

Here are some excerpts:

What motivated you to make Cigars: The Heart and Soul of Cuba?

I always wanted to do a movie on Cuban cigars, because I’ve been going [to Cuba] since the early 1990s as the European Editor of Cigar Aficionado. So when I left the magazine, one of the main reasons was that I wanted to do this movie on Cuban cigars.

. . .

What do cigars mean for Cuba?

I think it’s almost like a religion for Cubans. They have such pride in cigars, and the tradition, the process, it’s part of their culture, so it’s sort of like when you think of wine, with Frenchmen, or pasta with an Italian.

. . .

Did you learn anything in making the film that you didn’t expect?

Because when we filmed it, we didn’t really have a script, in an interesting way, we didn’t know completely what we had. We went though the process of cigars, but it was really a journey to find out why Cuban cigars are the best in the world, why they are so exceptional. In the end, after five days of doing the film, it was really my sort of journey, into finding out why. Obviously the things are the soil, the climate, the processes, the history – all of this accounts for the greatness of Cuban cigars. But in the end, what we realized was that it was the people, the Cuban people, that make it with such passion and love.

What do you ultimately want people to take away from this film?
I hope that the film can give people the feeling of how Cubans are, and how Cubans are very much like all of us, with the same aspirations and feelings, that this sort of forgotten island for many people actually has much more in common with us than we may think. I think the biggest thing is, when people see the movie, they can ‘t believe how much work goes into the production of Cuban cigars – from growing the tobacco – where the tobacco may have been handled over a hundred times through making the cigar, and can go through 200 processes. So it’s really interesting – I had no idea about how much went into making the cigar, and in a way I can’t believe how inexpensive they are. I think what I liked, too, about the movie is that by seeing the process, seeing the people behind it, you really get an idea that, in this age of internet and Twitter and Facebook, that there are still products like Cuban cigars that are really hand made, that are artisanal products, and I think this is really important.

For the complete interview go to http://www.caribjournal.com/2012/01/25/cigars-the-heart-and-soul-of-cuba-an-interview-with-james-suckling/

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