Saturday, June 25, 2005

Freedom Flight the Movie.

Tonight I saw the movie Freedom Flight, which was directed, written and produced by Frank Quetglas. The film is the product of Quetglas' winning a short film contest. Universal Studios sponsored the contest and participating filmmakers had to submit a short no of longer than 5 minutes in length. The theme was "Heat" and all entries had to be some sort of interpretation of that theme.

Quetglas won the contest with his short entitled La Playa/The Beach. La Playa is essentially a tribute to Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. The first prize entitled Quetglas to a week's worth of production at Universal Studios Florida. But the prize sounded much better than it actually was. Only the sound stage and use of the backlot were provided. Essentially the prize was 4 walls. No lights, no cameras, no action. While touring the backlot, Quetglass saw an airliner. Without any script or concept in mind, he decided that if he could negotiate the use of the plane that he'd make a movie around the prop. And so it was.

Freedom Flight is a comedy about a young man, Vladimiro, who is a stowaway aboard a Cubana airliner headed for Miami. But he and the fellow passengers are unaware that Fidel Castro, who wants to learn to fly, is in the cockpit and will be flying the plane. The first class cabin is filled with bumbling Cuban State security men including the flatulent "Croqueta" and the eager to please "Cheito." Fidel is played by the legendary Armando Roblan. Filmed in 5 days at Universal Studios and 1 day in Miami, the movie is for intents and purposes a miracle. The humor of the film is a tribute to movies like "Airplane". Although the script wasn't polished, (something Quetglas admits to himself) the movie was entertaining and worth seeing. It was first screened at the Latino Film Festival of Chicago.

Freedom Flight is showing at the Trail Theater on 37th Avenue and SW 8th Street in Miami. The movie is in English and Spanish with the appropriate subtitles appearing throughout. Be sure to get there early because before the film begins there is a presentation of footage of modern-day Cuba. The juxtaposition of the island's eternal natural beauty and the decay of Camaguey and Havana is worth seeing. Immediately preceeding Freedom Flight, the prize-winning short, La Playa, is shown. Showings are Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. For more information click here.

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