The two filmmakers, sisters Vanessa and Larissa D?az, who made this film, are young film-makers at the beginning of their careers. The Trinity International Hip-Hop festival ...mentions at its website that Larissa is a fourth year Film and Visual Culture major, with an emphasis on documentary films, at the University of California, Riverside, and Vanessa graduated from New York University in May 2007 with a degree in Latin American Studies and Politics and a minor in journalism, and she is currently a graduate student at our own University of Michigan, Ann Arbor! Quote: In 2002, Vanessa received the Holmes Travel Scholarship to do research on Cuban hip-hop and spent two months in Havana researching the history of this unique movement. That year, Vanessa was the only international female artist to perform at the 8th annual Cuban Hip Hop Festival in Havana, allowing her to create a close bond with the Cuban hip-hop artists with whom she worked. Following her trip, Larissa and Vanessa created a short documentary called Cuban HipHop: A Contemporary Example of Transculturation. The short film was screened at NYU?s annual Social Justice Forum, NYU?s Dean?s Undergraduate Research Conference, and various colleges and high schools in California and New York. During the summer of 2004, Vanessa traveled to Vietnam as part of a documentary film-making crew and then back to Cuba to shoot the footage necessary for her and Larissa to complete Cuban HipHop: Desde el Principio. This is the first feature length film for the sisters. ------------------------------ The synopsis of the film states: Quote: Major media attention has been given to Cuba?s version of hip hop culture?a culture originally developed in the Bronx, New York during the late 1970?s as a vehicle of expression for disenfranchised youth. Serving the same purpose within socialist Cuban society, Cuban hip hop is defying numerous misconceptions about censorship in Cuba (via its highly critical lyrics), while at the same time reaffirming certain limitations that Cuban society faces under its government (such as the lack of commercial success for artists). International attention to Cuban hip hop grew after the first annual Cuban Rap Festival, held in 1995. However, this film indicates that the foundation for the growth of hip-hop in Cuba was set in the 1970?s, contemporaneously with the US. Based on a first-hand investigation carried out over the course of four years, including participation in Cuban hip hop concerts and colloquiums at the eighth annual Cuban Hip Hop Festival in Havana, and interviews with the most influential Cuban hip hop artists and producers, this documentary traces the development of Cuban hip-hop step by step in a way that has yet to be formally recorded or published.
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