Swedish director Maceo Frost’s new short sheds light on Cuba’s female boxing revolution. Or, rather, what he hopes will become that! “Namibia” tells the story of Namibia Flores Rodriguez — one of Cuba’s only female boxers — and the challenges she faces living in a country that arbitrarily banned the sport (Raúl Castro’s now deceased wife Vilma Espin believed that “women should protect their pretty faces”).
Namibia dreams of participating in the next Olympic games and Maceo is similarly dedicated to helping her cause: “I put all of my heart into this one and hope it can make a difference in Namibia’s situation somehow.” While the full 30 minute version isn’t out until the Fall, we had the chance to ask Maceo a few questions about the project.
Booooooom: Was this all shot on a Blackmagic? I thought for sure that was film!
Maceo Frost: Yeah 90% on Blackmagic and some shots on 16 mm.
Booooooom: Wow! Really impressed with what you were able to get out of the Blackmagic Pocket! It’s all how you use it apparently!
Maceo Frost: Yeah man, its a great camera! works really well for these grittier textured strong sun countries. It has such a good dynamic range, you can do really cool looks with it if you know how to use it.
Booooooom: You mentioned this was a passion project and it definitely flows like that. Did everything come together as seamlessly as the video feels or were there any unexpected challenges?
Maceo Frost: The Namibia film has been a passion project of mine for a long time! Hanging out and shooting with Namibia was a blast and went super smooth. Although, a fun story: This film almost never happened. We had our flight tickets ready and were packing our bags the night before grabbing the 6.30 am flight to Havana when my girlfriend asked, “Did you remember everything? your passport, visa?” My face turned pale. We had totally forgot to get visas for entry and it was too late to get one. At 10pm in the night, I went on to the internet to find the name of the visa agency. I looked them up in the Swedish company directory and managed to buy some papers with their company information in order to learn the name and contact information of the CEO. After calling him in the middle of the night and inspiring him to help the Cuban female boxing revolution he arranged so that I could pick up a special visa for me and my DP a couple of hours later. It was a close one.
Booooooom: Well it’s definitely the kind of story that makes you want to do something! Speaking of, I know your aim isn’t just to tell Namibia’s story but to help make a substantial difference for her situation. How close do you think things are to actually changing?
Maceo Frost: When I was in Cuba last Winter things were looking up and a lot of trainers were optimistic things would change by the Spring. They even started an official female boxing team so girls had time to get strong and skilled for the olympic preselections. However, I checked up on Namibia about a month ago and apparently the female team was disbanded and no changes have happened as of yet. Reasons are unknown why…