Short Film Showcase: Encounter Another Era in Havana’s Vibrant Streets

Step back in time with a present-day snapshot of Cuba’s lively coastal capital, filled with beautifully weathered buildings, colorful classic cars, and a rich culture. Filmmaker Ezaram Vambe captures the city’s atmosphere and its inhabitants in this visually stunning travelogue dedicated to the people of Havana. We spoke to Ezaram about his trip.

What inspired you to make a film about Havana?

My initial experience of the city inspired me to make a film that would somehow re-create the “feeling of being in Havana.” I set out to capture some of its uniqueness and character with the intention of presenting some of the moments that make for such a magical atmosphere.

Is this the first time you have traveled to Cuba?

I first visited Cuba in 2011, when I had a chance to travel to Havana, Trinidad, and Cienfuegos. I was immediately captivated by the vibrancy of the culture and the people and encountered many elements that inspired me to create a visual documentation of this experience. The film In Havana was filmed during a second trip to Cuba in January 2013.

Which shot is your favorite in the piece?

There are quite a few shots in the film that I like, but I particularly like the nighttime shot taken from the back of the taxi because of its intimacy and because of my personal recollection of that moment.

Do you have plans for similar films in the future that take place in other cities? If so, where are you planning on traveling next?

I would really like to get a chance to explore the area around the town of Viñales in the Pinar del Río Province. I am also drawn to the southeastern province of Santiago de Cuba. There are many towns and cities that I have yet to experience that may offer interesting subjects and opportunities. In the south, I also plan to revisit Trinidad and Cienfuegos, which are both UNESCO-designated World Heritage sites, and offer a very different flavor to Havana.


See more from Ezaram Vambe.

Watch additional films in the Short Film Showcase.

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the web and selected by National Geographic’s editors. We look for pieces that emphasize National Geographic’s mission of inspiring people to care about the planet. The filmmakers themselves created the content presented here. The opinions expressed are those of the filmmakers, and not those of the National Geographic Society.

To submit films for consideration, please email

Changing Planet

Meet the Author
Rachel Link curates content for National Geographic's Short Film Showcase. Each week she features films from talented creators that span a range of topics. She hopes that this work will inspire viewers to explore the world around them and encourages filmmakers to keep pushing the boundaries of visual storytelling.