Another Luis Moro production.
Luis Moro playing Denzel washington’s decoy in The Siege.
|The revolution begins withinHudson County native brings his Cuban people back home|
“The hardest thing is to look in a mirror and see the ghost of what you never wanted to be.” That is one of the torments plaguing Tomas, played by Kamar De Los Reyes, who is the lead character of Love & Suicide, which was co-written and directed by former Union City native Luis Moro and Lisa France.“Tomas goes to Cuba and discovers the one thing between love and suicide,” said Moro.
So, what is that one thing between love and suicide? You’ll find out when you see the film, which opened Friday May 26 at the Mayfair Theatre in West New York and will run until Thursday June 1.
The 85-minute independent film is the first of its kind to be filmed on the island of Communist Cuba.
With beautiful images of the waves engulfing the shores, historical architecture, and the “viejita,” old lady, smoking tobacco on the front steps of her home, Moro’s film captured the spirit of present-day Havana.
Many of the island’s exiles still long for their home country and can now see it for the first time in the film. “A lot of it is based in true events, we didn’t have to make it up,” said Moro. “It was just what unfolded as they went along with the story.”
Filming in Cuba?
The cast and crew of eight had been accepted into the 2003 Havana Film Festival for Moro and France’s previous film called Ann B. Reel, about a rapper inspired by the Diary of Anne Frank.
“I always wanted to do a movie in Cuba and we were only there for three weeks, so we shot for three weeks straight,” said Moro. “You work hard; independent filmmakers don’t fool around.”
Some of the remaining scenes of the movie were shot in New York City, but a majority of the picture takes place on location.
At a recent screening at Las Vegas’ Desert Film Society, the film opened to a packed audience and garnered rave reviews.
“There was a man there who was an exile and he said to us, ‘I thought I could never go home again, thank you for letting me go home,’ ” said France.
The phenomenal cast of characters included Havana locals as extras.
De Los Reyes, of Days of Our Lives fame, delivered a very engaging and honest performance.
“As far as actors go, he is going to be the next A-List Latin actor. He really delivered,” said Moro. “The foundation is there with the soap and independent film worlds.”
De Los Reyes was approached about the project after filming ended on Ann B. Reel, which his girlfriend was a part of.
Born in Cuba, Moro immigrated to the United States with his parents when he was very young and was raised among the adopted Cuban community of Union City. It was during his 3rd grade school play at Washington School that he caught the performing arts bug.
Moro worked in real estate and held a show for 10 years on the local TV station Univision, but in the last eight years he worked on film and stage productions across the country.
“I still do stand-up once in a while and got a couple of opportunities in movies,” said Moro, who landed a small role on the film For Love of the Game with Kevin Costner.
“I’ll never forget what [Costner] told me: ‘just keep your eye on the ball because there are so many distractions,’ ” said Moro.
Moro now resides in California with his wife and five children and continues to balance his inspiring career with his loving family life.
France and Moro became the best of friends about eight years ago and have worked on numerous projects together.
“Louie is my best friend, and when a person can’t go home to their country and see their family, I don’t even know what kind of experience that is, so this project is very personal for me in that respect,” said France as she fought back tears.
The film has been receiving good responses since entering numerous film festivals starting earlier this year, and it has also brought up the controversy involving America’s relationship with the neighboring island nation.
Love & Suicide is the first American feature picture to be filmed in Cuba in the 46 years of the Cuban Embargo, which bans all travel and trade from the United States to Cuba.
“I personally think this film is going to represent peoples’ opinions about the embargo and I think it will have a major part in lifting the embargo,” said Moro.
Moro still has some family members in Cuba. Due to the embargo, Moro’s family has had to go through other countries to see their relatives, some whom they haven’t seen in years.
“[The government] won’t let my 84-year-old grandmother go to Cuba to see her dying son – that’s ridiculous. I can’t even visit my uncle because the government doesn’t consider him my family. How many families have been destroyed by this embargo?” said Moro.
Moro has been outspokenly critical of America’s political leaders in respect to the embargo, especially those representing the Hispanic community.
“[The politicians] are not representing anybody; not the people in Cuba, the United States or the United Nations,” said Moro. “For 46 years Castro has blamed the embargo for Cuba’s condition when it’s because of the embargo that we’re this way. For 46 years it has not worked, and Cuba just made a deal with China for travel and oil. Cuba is going to do just fine without the us.”
Moro invited some of Jersey’s most powerful political Hispanic leaders like Senator Robert Menendez, a longtime proponent of the embargo, and Assemblyman and Mayor of West New York Albio Sires to the premiere.
Other screenings have taken place in Miami and the Bahamas, and more are scheduled for other upcoming film festivals in New York and California.
The Mayfair, however, will be the first theatrical release.
“It’s the first theatrical release for an independent filmmaker from Hudson County; it’s amazing. It’s like being a rookie in a major league ballgame,” said Moro.
|©The Hudson Reporter 2006|
Independent filmmaker Luis Moro is one of those eccentric, rare personalities that will elicit emotion out of you upon first meeting him. Praise and controversy over his film, Love & Suicide has skyrocketed this 6’1’ dark, handsome Cuban actor/writer into indie stardom. His character Alberto in the film was seamless, with such a carefree attitude one wonders if he knew the camera was on him. “There’s a lot of me in Alberto”, said Moro during a recent screening at the HBO New York Latin Film Festival. Three hundred people packed the theatre and gave the film a standing ovation. The audience laughed and were moved to tears. Alberto’s character is optimistic, persistent and consistently draws laughs. He lives life with a purpose…he has that peace within. Audience members commented after seeing Love & Suicide that Moro’s performance was the all out hit of the film.
Luis Moro, was born in Cuba and raised between Union City, NJ and Washington Heights, NY, he graduated from Rutgers University where he studied acting while lettering in Football. He came to the US when he was five via Mexico, after his mother escaped from Cuba. “I was a double immigrant, smuggled in and out of two countries.” His boyish charm is contrasted by his exuberant personality. One cannot help but be intrigued by his no nonsense approach to life, but again one contrast after another has led him to an insatiable humor that never quits.
He is tireless, he says, because he loves what he does. You can see that by his welcoming attitude to over 100 fans that stood in line to meet him after the New York screening last week. He has received numerous nods of approval from critics and audiences alike who flock to art houses and festivals to see this indie hit, Love & Suicide, a story of a man (Kamar de los Reyes) who goes to Cuba and discovers the one thing between love and suicide. “This movie is a dream come true for me. As far back as I can remember I wanted to make a movie in Cuba,” he reflected. “I didn’t know I was going to make history, but I did know I wanted the world to see Cuba.”
History is what Luis Moro made when he became the first American filmmaker to shoot a feature length film in Cuba in 46 years. His fearless pursuit of freedom and his constitutional rights has kept Luis Moro on top. His bank ability has been a welcome result to hard work, making five indie films back to back. Industry insiders are paying attention to Luis, and offers are starting to come in for work with people he has only dreamed of working with. “This is a true Hollywood story,” said a young Latina standing in line. “He literally started as an extra, and look where he is now,” touted her girlfriend.
Sitting at the Four Seasons in New York, his presence alone is distinct. People take a second and third look, or simply stare. Either he just has this presence about him, or maybe his laugh, more of a guffaw, can quiet a room for a second. People are just drawn to him. From the parking attendant that he befriended with one line in Spanish that had this guy laughing probably for the first time that day, to the young hostess, that Luis has giggling.
“My wife, Barbara, really believes in me and has been my biggest supporter, as well as representing me for now,” he stated. “She really has my back.” They have five children to support on an indie salary. They both have already done the hard work, especially now that AMC Theatres has committed to screen Love & Suicide. They will open the film in the heart of Miami August 11th.
“The thing about him is he charms kids as well as 80 year old’s, and everyone in between. I don’t know anyone else like him,” his wife Barbara said over the phone from their home in Los Angeles. “He likes to really relate to people, it’s like a passion,” she says.
“Know your Moro” his website proudly says. That is a bold statement, but coming from a bold visionary you can’t help but laugh, because if you know your Moro, you will be laughing too.
Written by Marc Justice, Freelance writer
For more info on Luis Moro check www.EverythingCuba.com
CBS4 Miami Luis Moro interview Aug 26, 2006 10:40 pm US/Eastern Cuban Filmmaker Violates Embargo, Makes Film Dave Malkoff Reporting (CBS4 News) COCONUT GROVE A young Cuban filmmaker violated the embargo against Cuba and went to his homeland to produce a documentary. He feels he was just exercising his 1st ammendment right of freedom of speech and South Florida moviegoers are enjoying the show. The documentary, Love and Suicide in Havana, is now being considered a popular independent film and is being screened in South Florida. The Federal Government is trying to apprehend Luis Moro, the films maker, for entering Cuba to make the film while the embargo prohibiting such actions is in place. Moro says hes willing to talk to officials and has allegedly made no profit from the one hour and a half film. Moro believes he has not violated any laws and said “we decided to go make a movie, so I did. It’s my right to freedom of speech.” One moviegoer in Coconut Grove, Marty Robertini told CBS4 that “I was surprised at this, and wondered how this happened.” Moro spoke to CBS4s Dave Malkoff and told him that the U.S. Treasury Department repremanded Moro in the form of a 13-page letter saying that entering Cuba and filming a movie was wrong and then went on to question him on how much the film cost to make and what exactly he did to get into the country amidst the embargo. Malkoff reports that Moro has been instructed by his attorneys not to share any information with anyone regarding the government’s inquiries. “How we did this are trade secrets.” Moro says he hopes to see the embargo lifted, but most of all he hopes that people will go out and see his independent film. Moro currently lives in Los Angeles and employed the help of his Miami friend’s in preparation and creation of film. Several screenings of the documentary were being shown Saturday at Coconut Groves Cocowalk Theater where. (© MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.) http://cbs4.com/local/local_story_238183137.html
This has been a journey for my husband Luis Moro, and myself over the last three years. There have been so many people that have shown their love along the way, including the director Lisa France, and producers, and editors (Jokes and Bruno) that became family. We have stories of how this movie came to be, from the moment of conception-to the actual flights to Cuba. As a group we converged in Havana.
A small eager group…a director, a director of photography, sound, and our actors; Kamar de los Reyes, Luis Moro, Daisy Mc Crackin, and myself…we had an amazing journey. I was four months pregnant with our child and I was in amazment of this island that my husband came from. Everything I took for granted was so desperatly lacking there. On the cutting room floor went half the movie, and from that Luis constructed an amazing work of art. A living peice of art, with sounds and sights so vivid you could almost smell the smells of the city. We stayed up night after night for months until it was only Luis standing peicing together a movie that very few people could see a vision from. We lived with our editors, or they with us…we ate and slept together for months until we had our movie.
The story of a man that went to Cuba to find the one thing between love & suicide. It was raw, and enchanting. It gripped you, but the relaxation was inevitable as you took a journey through one of the most unique cities in the world. We have enjoyed every single person we have met along the way, that have seen the movie. We have been to festivals with our movie, and every time people stayed behind to ask questions about how we filmed it, and what as a people can we do about the embargo. At the Black Film Festival in Miami we discovered we made history by being the first American filmmakers to break the embargo and film a feature length film there. And the journey began. Luis and I have five children between us, and with the help of family, friends and supporters we have done the impossible. Live on an Independant filmmakers budget. It has been a road of excitement, trepidation, creativity, and soul searching. Everyone who knows us has in one way or another been touched by Love & Suicide.
AMC Theaters has been the independant strong support we needed to put us in our first big chain theaters, we opened in Coconut Grove, Miami mid August 2006. We surprised our critics, but not our fans, when we we had pre-tickets sales for weeks in advance, and drew crowds just like in West New York, NJ, and Palms Springs, Ca. For that reason this year we have been extended for a record breaking 8th week in our fifth AMC theatre. Remember, this is truly a David and Goliath story. We have no studio backing, very little greenbacks, and just a little film that grips your heart. Check out our the opening scene will give you a taste of the film, and with its lush Cuban music, and its intimate feel, our hope you will leave our film a different person. www.EverythingCuba.com
Opening Scene from our film, Love and Suicide
Shot in Havana, Cuba
Luis has also produced a gripping film called “The Unseen“, filmed in Atlanta, Georgia. Here is a brief synopsis of the film:
When Roy Clemens Steve Harris (The Practice & Law & Order), returns to his rural hometown of Haralson, Georgia (population 83) for his father’s funeral, he inherits the family store and a mess of skeletons in the closet. Delivering a package, he discovers Sammy Phillip Bloch (E! Channel Celeb Stylist), an old acquaintance who has been locked-up at home by his older brother Harold Gale Harold (Queer As Folk)for twenty years. Sammy and Roy form a bond around a desire to leave Haralson for the city lights ofAtlanta and the elusive comfort they hope it holds, but to get there they must both come to terms with Harold and the secret he shares. Directed by Lisa France (Anne B. Real) and working with a solid cast including Catherine Dent (Shield), Michelle Clunie (Queer As Folk), Judah Friedlander(American Splendor), and Shirley Ceasar (Award-winning Gospel singer). Outstanding photography by Jim Hunter adds to the foreboding atmosphere of a film that is alternately funny and touching.
Fidel Castro sees Filmmaker Luis Moro’s movie Love & Suicide and ruptures his intestine.
Fidel Castro sees Filmmaker Luis Moro’s movie Love & Suicide – and ruptures his intestine. Castro is immediately hospitalized when he finds out Love & Suicide, the movie is screenings in Miami at AMC Theatres starting this August 11th. Cubans in Miami cheer in the streets.
LOVE & SUICIDE, the movie
SCREENING IN MIAMI
WHEN: Starting August 11th.
PLACE: AMC THEATRES
3015 Grand Avenue
Coconut Grove, FL 33133
AND TICKETS http://www.AMCtheatres.com
Or Call: (305) 466-0450.
Castro said he was delegating power in Cuba to his brother because
“he did not want to be around when Cuban’s in Miami see the real Cuba
in the film Love & Suicide. They’re going to come and get me when they see
Love & Suicide.” Fidel said, holding his guts in.
“Seeing the movie Love & Suicide caused an acute intestinal crisis with
sustained bleeding,” said a statement signed by Castro and read out by his official aide Carlos Valencia.
White House spokesman Peter Piper said he didn’t want to speculate on
Castro’s physical health. “But mentally, Love & Suicide, the movie scared
“Given the films success, we are monitoring the writer Luis Moro closely as
Love & Suicide screens around the world.”
As a country, we continue to work for the day when ‘The Cuban Evolution’
Luis Moro started reaches everyone.” Mr. Piper also told reporters. “Mr.
Bush will be holding a private screening to educate congress and the senate
on the films theme.”
Castro, who’s been in power since 1959 and turns 80 on August 13, two days after Love & Suicide opens in AMC Theatres at the famous Coconut Grove in
Miami, Florida; yelled, “MORO, MORO, MORO!”
Fidel Castro blamed Love & Suicide’s profound impact on him as the reason
for his pre-resignation move.
People around the world are overwhelming buying tickets for the upcoming
screenings in Miami.
For show times and tickets visit http://www.AMCTheatres.com or call (305)
Visit http://www.TheCubanEvolution.com for updates and additional screening in New
Mexico, Ohio and California.
You’re in “The Cuban Evolution.”
- The Unseen is now on DVD!! Starring Gale Harold, Phillip Bloch, Steve Harris
- US producer risks jail for film shot in Cuba
- “Relax, it’s only life.” -Luis Moro
- Union City Reporter interviews Luis Moro by Jessica Rosero
- Interview with Filmmaker Luis Moro at the HBO NYC Latino Film Festival July 26
- “I dare you to speak your mind, with your heart.”-Luis Moro
- doe anyone know where I am supposed to put this?
- CBS 4 Miami interview
- Living piece of art
- AOL Black Voices interview with Luis Moro and Phillip Bloch
- Is it true?
- Who is Luis Moro?
- black actors
- Denzel Washington
- fashion stylist
- fidel castro
- Gale Harold
- Los Angeles
- Luis Moro
- mega tv
- My Space
- New Jersey
- Pete Maez
- Phillip Bloch
- Shirly Ceasar
- Union City