Your new movie Rumba
Love - in a few words, what is it about?
Love tells an inspirational story about the journey of
Nico Quevedo, a Cuban/American musician that migrates from Havana to New
York with nothing else but his love for music, his dreams and an
were your sources of inspiration when writing Rumba
Love, and is any of this based on personal experience?
main motivation was for sure the need to share a story that was in my
heart for a while, and I felt that I needed to put it off my chest and
share it with the world. Rumba
Love has taught me that everything is possible if you believe in your mission and don't give up on it, no
the circumstances. That’s basically what happens to Nico, our lead
character, during his journey, he had everything against him and yet, he
knew he had to do what he had to do to achieve a common dream that he has
with a best friend. It was inspired by a personal experience, when I was
14 I lost my best friend, but thanks to him and that experience I realized
my own path, and I understood that in order to evolve, we all have to
learn to let go.
can you tell us about your directorial approach to your story at hand?
wanted that approach to be as organic as possible, we wanted the camera to
almost dance with Nico through his journey, almost like a rumba dance.
Overall, I treated the whole piece as if it was a rumba song, with its
silences, pauses, agitations, blasts. The rhythm of it was a full melody
that marked the tempo of the film in every particular scene.
course, you also have to talk about the music in Rumba
Love for a bit, and what does music as such, and Cuban music at
that, mean to you, personally?
As Nico says on the opening scene, “The music is coming from your
heart, don't pay attention to the noise, the rhythm resides inside of
you.” Music has always been an important component in my life. My mother
used to be a musician and I grew up with jazz, classical music and salsa, rumba
and guaguanco. Then when I moved to Havana, I was even more into it
because Cuba is nothing else but music. If you walk through the streets of
Havana you would feel it everywhere. I grew up in that context.
You play the lead in Rumba
Love - so what did you draw upon to bring Nicolas to life, and did
you write himself with yourself in mind from the get-go?
I would dare to say that it was almost the other way around. I feel as if
Nico had chosen me to teach me a lot of lessons, not just as an actor but
as a human being. Nico taught me how to “block out the noise", how to
listen to my own rhythm, he made me understand that your own dream is not
as valuable a common dream, that if you share the path, your destiny with
those you love, it becomes a better place. When I was writing, I truly
really just felt that I was only a bridge for that character to be alive,
and I felt the same when playing him.
talk about the rest of Rumba
Love's cast, and why exactly these people?
It's an incredible cast. I really think that each of these actors were
meant to play those characters. With many of the them I had previously
worked in the past: Ed Trucco and I met at Al Otro Lado del Muro for
Telemundo filming in Miami, I had worked with Osvaldo de Leon on Welcome
to Acapulco, with Zair Montes [Zair
Montes interview - click here] on Habana Instant and The
Flowers, with Ilean Almaguer on The Fifth Commandment, so the
casting process was as organic as the rest of the creative process. In
most of the cases it only took a phone call, and it was perfect because it
was a collaboration instead of imposing ideas.
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
was “friends and family” all the time. Truthfully, it was a team work.
Shooting in Havana, in the neighborhoods where I was acutely walking and
dancing when I was a teenager, made it very personal and special. Then,
when we moved to NYC and we got to shoot at iconic places like The
Jazz Bar where people like Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and Dizzy
Gillespie used to hold jam session and gather all the time, made the
experience even more relevant and magical.
$64-question of course, where can Rumba
Love be seen?
Starting September 24th, we will be
in theaters in LA, NYC, Miami, Orlando and Dallas. The same day we will go
out on VOD on several platforms in the USA and Canada (Amazon, iTunes,
Vudu, Fandango, GooglePlay, etc.) People can find all
details about it on
Anything you can tell us about
audience and critical reception of Rumba
I just hope a lot of people get to watch it
and feel some rumba love in their hearts when they do it.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
working on several movie projects: Clandestino (dir. Pedro Brenner),
The Bash (dir. Nicolas Diblasi), 13th Street Scare (dir.
got you into the filmworld in the first place, and did you receive any
formal training on the subject?
I graduated in theater in
Cuba at The National Institute of Arts, also got a special degree at the
National University of Havana on Filmaking. Then in the US I graduated at
HBstudio on the full-time acting program in NYC.
When it comes to
filmmaking, you have held quite a few positions and seem to feel as
comfortable in front of the camera as behind it - so why is that, what
jobs do you prefer, which could you do without?
definitely my playground and what I have been doing all my life. But I
have to confess that there is no bigger satisfaction than creating
something from the scratch, developing an idea from zero to then directing
and acting in it. It has been absolutely fascinating.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
you tell us about your filmwork prior to Rumba
Love, in whatever position?
It's always been a
learning process and I hope it remains the same for the rest of my life.
How would you
describe yourself as an actor, and how as a director?
teammate. I know that the magic doesn't happen unless you understand that
even if you are the creative leader, it's always a team work, and the
biggest quality is learning how to listen, how to observe, how to learn
and how to serve the movie.
writers, filmmakers, whoever else who inspire you?
Scorsese, Woody Allen, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robin
Raging Bull, City of God, Awakening.
Your/your movie's website, social media,
You can find me as @guillerivan on
Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Guillermo Ivan on Facebook.
Anything else you're dying to mention and
I have merely forgotten to ask?
THANKS FOR THE INTERVIEW!
Thanks for the