Despite the building’s imminent collapse, the last inhabitant of a once luxurious hotel refuses to leave: he remains convinced that treasures, hidden by the hotel’s original owners, lie waiting within its walls.
Title: Hotel Nueva Isla
Runtime: 75 minutes
Shooting format: HD
Screening format: DCP
Country of production: Spain · Cuba
Original language: Spanish
Subtitles: English ·French
Produced by: El Viaje Films · Producciones de la 5ta Avenida
Production year: 2014
Release Date: 2014 (Cuba)
Aspect Ratio: 1:1.85
Sound: Dolby SR
Director: Irene Gutiérrez
Co-director: Javier Labrador
Writer: Irene Gutiérrez · Javier Labrador · Lorenzo Mora
Production: José A. Alayón · Claudia Calviño
Executive producers: Laura G. Corredera · Irene Gutiérrez
Cinematography by: Javier Labrador
Film editing by: Lorenzo Mora
Sound recordist: Irene Gutiérrez
Sound designer and mixer: Carlos García
Hotel Nueva Isla came into existence in 2010 during night walks in the Havana neighbourhood of Jesus Maria, as we walked along with a still camera and many films in our heads. During one of these walks we discovered the Hotel. When we started investigating its long history, we saw among its habitants, the quiet reflection of a Country living in a state of permanent resistance, smothered by a system that cannot find a viable model.
We decided to move to an apartment a few blocks away from the building, anticipating the journey we were taking on. In two years of investigation, we were able to dig deeper into the hotel and the lives of those around it. With such a small film crew – just two of us – we were able to shoot long sessions for a whole year. That is when we chose Jorge as the main character.
Our aim was to create an intimate film based on the daily routine of the Hotel and Jorge’s life, spending time observing him, filming him and writing about him and what we saw and felt. Our working method combined documentary perspective with practical techniques drawn from narrative filmmaking. The script was written in accordance with what played out on a daily basis, as we constantly worked on shaping what we call “reality”.
This process became a permanent reformulation of our way of understanding and filming Jorge, as we aimed to transcend the anecdotal or informative elements of his life to create an experience that also reflected our discovery of the film we were in the process of making.