From the makers of Speaking in Tongues and Born in the USA, a beautiful new documentary about baseball, United States—Cuban relations, and Holocaust history, rolled into a coming-of-age story about the complexities of doing good....Havana Curveball.
Thirteen-year-old Mica takes to heart his Rabbi's dictate to help “heal the world,” and launches a grand plan to send baseballs to Cuba—a country with a mysterious pull. He knows only that Cubans have few resources, love baseball, and gave his grandpa refuge during the Holocaust. His filmmaker parents know a curveball is coming and pick up their camera.
"Havana Curveball centers upon one young man’s growth and learning through a socially-engaged service project. The film examines the youthful impulse to do good within a larger context of global politics, privilege, and inequality... It will challenge students to think critically about the U.S. embargo with Cuba, the relationship between service workers and the communities they serve, and the difficult lessons that transform a boy into a young man. Discussion questions and supplemental materials facilitate further research into related topics such as family history and identity, family relationships, and the process of documentary filmmaking. "
- San Francisco Film Society Education Department
MORE PRAISE FOR HAVANA CURVEBALL
“The viewer sees Cuba and Cuban-American relations through the lens of this sincere act of gratitude and quickly learns how a relentlessly punitive foreign policy trumps the good intentions of an ordinary citizen. This is an excellent film not only for classes on Cuba or U.S. Foreign Policy but also for anyone planning social action or community service."
– Holly Ackerman, Ph.D., Latin American, Iberian and Latino/a Studies, Duke University Libraries
“Mica’s home run flies right out of the park and into your heart. It’s the best teaching film about changing the world since Pay It Forward. Appropriate for pre-teens, teens and adults.”
– Rabbi Pam Frydman, International Co-Chair, Rabbis for Women of the Wall; Founding rabbi Or Shalom Jewish Community
“...addresses some really important ethical and political issues and it is also a reminder about the importance of individual and small scale agency and why this counts...The film reminds us about Cuba's welcoming of refugees fleeing fascism and Nazism...and the Jewish threads that run through the film give it added poignancy. As a historian of Cuba I'd urge my colleagues to consider using the film in classes that deal with US-Cuban relations, sport in Cuba and the many ways in which community, religious and voluntary networks manage to break through the bizarre and unjust US embargo on Cuba."
– Barry Carr, Senior Fellow, Institute of Latin American Studies, La Trobe University
“Havana Curveball does what films should be doing and goes beyond the film to spread a message of social engagement and volunteerism.”
– Isaac Zablocki, Director of Film Programs, Director of the Israel Film Center
“Havana Curveball is a wonderful film to use with teens and tweens to show the power of making tikkun olam and tzedakah part of a life-cycle ceremony or just part of everyday life...The film would be perfect for a kick-off to a 7th grade Bar Mitzvah year or a 10th grade Confirmation year as students, parents, clergy and teachers look for ways to make the year’s study and culminating life-cycle event more meaningful. The film brings up not only the joys of doing something fulfilling, but the pitfalls along the way. And in the process we learn some Jewish history, especially about refugees from Hitler’s Germany, as well.”
– Diane Bernbaum, Director, Midrasha
“THANK YOU for one of the best documentaries I've ever seen (and I've seen quite a few over the years). I'd use it to model international service projects...my students would gain a better understanding of their potential power to help others...”
– M. Guenza, Francisco Middle School
"This movie has so many topics ranging from coming of age for teens, self-identity, intergenerational relationship and empowerment…it opens the door to many important conversations."
– Zehava Dahan, Educational Director, Or Shalom Jewish Community
"An inspiring documentary that leaves an impact....A quietly moving film, it’s equally at home in public library and religious school collections as well as social studies classes."
– Top 10 DVDs , School Library Journal