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Meet Ilmar and Aldo López-Gavilán, virtuoso brothers born in Havana, but long separated by geopolitics. Ilmar makes his way as a violinist in NY. Aldo is famous as a jazz and classical pianist in Cuba. Both find opportunities and challenges in their chosen countries.
At 14, the Cuban government sent Ilmar to Russia, to study with a master violinist. He never returned, landing a spot in the Queen of Spain’s music conservatory. He found his way to the U.S., where he won first place in a music competition. The prize: first violin in the Harlem Quartet, a hard-working performance group that mentors kids of color in classical music.
Aldo, 6 years younger, stayed in Havana, inspired by a culture of world-class jazz pianists. Acclaimed for his original jazz compositions and classical chops, he is virtually unknown in the U.S. But this summer they embark on their first U.S. tour together, and a door opens.
Just a few months later Fidel Castro’s passing and Trump’s election put their gains at risk. The Brothers follows their journeys in a time of tumultuous change.
For more than 20 years, PatchWorks Films has been creating award-winning documentaries exploring contemporary social issues through intimate character stories, and building innovative partnerships for their strategic use with organizations and educators. Their films have broadcast worldwide and shown at museums, libraries, schools, universities, community centers, conferences, and film festivals. Their most recent feature, Havana Curveball has screened in six countries to date, winning Best Documentary awards at the Boston and Seattle Children’s Film Festival, a special juror award at the Olympia Festival in Greece and a spot on School Library Journal’s “Best of 2014” list. Their previous film, Speaking In Tongues, funded by ITVS, LPB and CAAM, aired on PBS, won the Audience Award at the San Francisco Film Festival, and is a catalyst for changing language education worldwide. Previous films include the ITVS-funded Born in the U.S.A., which aired on Independent Lens and was hailed as the “best film on childbirth” by the former director of maternal health at the World Health Organization, and several shorts.
Ken Schneider (Producer/Director/Editor) is a Peabody-winning producer who has also edited over 35 feature length documentaries for PBS, HBO and Al-Jazeera. Films he edited have been nominated for an Oscar and multiple Emmys, and won prime-time and documentary Emmys, a Columbia-Dupont, two Peabodys, an Indie Spirit award and top awards at the Sundance Film Festival. He was editor on the Oscar-nominated Regret to Inform, a film The New York Times described as“unforgettable ... exquisitely filmed, edited and scored.” Other projects include: Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa (Peabody, 2015), Have You Heard From Johannesburg (Emmy winning series), In Football We Trust (Sundance, 2015), The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It, Orozco: Man of Fire, Ralph Ellison: An American Journey (American Masters), Store Wars, School Colors (Sundance 2002, Frontline), Bolinao 52 and Ancestors in the Americas (all featured on PBS). Visit www.kenschneidereditor.net for more details about Ken's editing work.
Marcia Jarmel (Producer/Director/Writer/Impact Producer) Consulting Producer on HBO’s Emmy-nominated 50 Children, producing consultant to Last Day of Freedom—short-listed for the Academy Award—and IFP Mentor to festival favorite, The Last Season, Marcia works with other filmmakers in addition to her work with PatchWorks. Other credits include co-editing the Academy Award nominee, For Better or For Worse, and assistant producing the Academy Award nominees, Berkeley in the Sixties and Freedom on my Mind. Prior to founding PatchWorks, Marcia directed and produced The Return of Sarah’s Daughters (Women in the Director’s Chair, DocuWeek, Cinequest, APT) and The F Word (Living Room Festival, AFI's VideoFest and the Judy Chicago film series at the Brooklyn Museum of Art). She was a resident at Working Films’ Content+Intent at MASS MoCA, Fledgling Fund’s Reel Education and Reel Impact, San Francisco Film Society’s FilmHouse, Kopkind Colony, and twice a BAVC Media Maker. She consults on documentary outreach and engagement and has guest lectured at Stanford, NYU and the San Francisco Art Institute.