A feature documentary that brings us to the world of Conga Competitions in the Carnival of Santiago de Cuba – one of the poorest Carnivals in the world. Lázaro, the leader of the Conga de Los Hoyos, is determined to win the coveted award bestowed to the neighborhood that presents the most spectacular Conga. Like leaders of rival congas, Lazaro must join with his neighbors and scour the strictly rationed marketplace to find the necessary materials to create a show-stopping performance. Director William Sabourin O’Reilly, an Afrocuban native to Havana, offers a rare window into communist Cuba, a country that is often romanticized, and almost always portrayed through the eyes of an outsider.
“Lazaro and The Shark tells a vibrant story of contemporary life in Cuba, marked by generational conflicts and the suspense of a competition. The film is a declaration of love to Cuba’s people and culture.”
THE HOLLYWOOD TIMES
“We learn about the oppression and scarcity the residents of Santiago face but we also see how they use culture as their fuel; the Carnival is an annual opportunity to feel free and celebrate community. It’s a tricky thematical balance that, despite a flat middle part, O’Reilly manages to successfully convey on the screen to bring to light the complicated way of life in Cuba.”
DOC NYC Festival, USA, International Competition – 2022
Biografie van de regisseur
After graduating from the University of Havana College of Engineering, William found his way to the United States in 1999. Later that same year he picked up a camera for the first time, looked through the lens and found his calling. Ever since, he has been driven by passion, creativity, hard work, devotion and discipline to the craft of light. This director had already produced a memorable documentary entitled Color Code, Memories (2015), which warned about his intelligence to get closer to the cuban world. In that film, he visited events from the 1950s to meditate on problems related to raciality, miscegenation and blackness.