An In-Depth Interview With Nemanja Vojinovic, Director of HOME RUN

As director Nemanja Vojinovic prepares to shoot his documentary, Home Run, I was lucky enough to catch up with him and ask a few questions about his work.

When he visited Cuba in September 2012, director Nemanja Vojinovic was touched by the stories of the people of this post-transition country. On his trip, Vojinovic’s eyes were opened as he got to see firsthand how the people of Cuba live and gained insight into the many hardships they face. One story in particular stood out for him, however; the story of Indira Romero, a young actress and struggling mother. Indira’s story of heartache, passion, and motherhood inspired Vojinovic and he now wishes to share her tale.

In July 2013, he started doing just that when he returned to Cuba to film his documentary Home Run which follows the lives of Indira and her family. As of yet, the documentary remains unfinished but Vojinovic and his team hope to return to Cuba in June 2014 to finish filming. Home Run will explore the ups and downs of life in Cuba and will give the audience insight into the difficulties raising a child and following your dreams pose.

Vojinovic’s passion and determination to shed light on life in Cuba is inspiring, as is the story of Indira and her family. Having been touched by the story so far, I was lucky enough to get the chance to ask Vojinovic some of the questions I had burning about the project…

Q: What was it about Indira’s story that first caught your attention?


A: The diversity in Indira’s family background and in her personal interests is the reason I decided to make a documentary about her and her family. Her grandfather fought alongside Che Guevara in the Cuban Revolution, she is a member of the Santeria religion and she works in the most famous Cuban gay theatre, El Mejunje. Indira lives in Santa Clara with her mother Xiomara, her 10-year-old son Leandro and her great-grandmother, 95-year-old Carmen.

Q: Can you tell us a little about Cuba and the issues within the country just now?


A: Cuba is now facing transition. “Old” Cuba continues to be maintained, though it seems like it will fall apart any second. On the other hand, the “New” Cuba is expanding, but not to the extent that it could because “Old” Cuba does not allow it. What do I mean when I say “Old” and “New” Cuba? Old Cuba is Che Guevara and Fidel’s Cuba; a socialist, revolutionary, willing to die for ideals. New Cuba consists of Cuba’s youth, who do not want to give up their history, but do not want to lose their lives because of history and ideology.

Q: What does this mean for the people who live there?


A: This transition period in Cuba means that Cuban people have no idea what the future holds for them. They are unhappy with their present and frightened of their future.

Q: What is life like on a day to day basis for Indira’s family?

A: As a university professor, Indira’s mother Xiomara earns $36 per month and Indira, as an actress, earns $26. They live modestly. Indira is mostly doing monodrama plays as an actress and a director. With her ex-husband, famous Cuban actor Leandro Sen, Indira has a son, Leandrito. He goes to school, plays football and wants to become musician.

Q: What opportunities and prospects for the future does Santa Clara present for Indira?


A: Santa Clara doesn’t give much opportunity to Indira for her art. It’s a small university city in central Cuba with two main things – myth about Che Guevara and the LGBT community in theatre El Mejunje.

Q: How does Indira’s religion, Santeria, help her in day-to-day life?


A: A large number of Cubans turn to religion in seeking an escape from reality. Indira joined Santeria three years ago. That community is a very important part of Cuban life because they resemble their African roots. They are praying to Orishas to give them strength, happiness and to show them the right path in life.

Q: What struggles does pursuing her passion and working in the arts pose Indira?


A: Being an actor today is very difficult – especially in Cuba. Indira, due a general financial situation, turned her performances to a smaller size format, mostly monodramas. With her monodrama about Frida Kahlo, Indira participated in the “Festival of Monodrama and Pantomime” in Belgrade, which was her premiere outside of Cuba. She’s now continuing her acting career by doing another monodrama about the famous prophetess Cassandra.

Q: What does the future look like for Indira’s 10-year-old son, Leandrito?

A: I am not sure what future awaits Leandro. That is an aspect that I would like to research in this documentary.

Q: If things don’t change, will Indira likely have to turn away from her passion and find another job?


A: Indira has already worked as a cook and a housekeeper in her grandfather’s hostel but she didn’t like it. If things do not change for the better, I believe that Indira will try to leave Cuba and find a way to do her art somewhere else, rather than remain in Cuba and wash dishes.

Q: What are you hoping to achieve by creating your documentary?


A: I don’t want to present Cuba as a postcard and tourist attraction nor their culture as a bunch of colors, incessant games and music. This documentary will show a family struggle with everyday Cuban living conditions. Are they doing their best? How difficult is it to live in Cuba these days? Who they will become by growing up in such environment? Are others (we) privileged to live life as we know it? These are questions that I would like to answer in this film. I am making this film for all the people who don’t have control over their lives just because they were born in a certain place at certain time.

As soon as I read about Indira’s inspiring story and the hardships she continues to face, I knew this was a story I wanted to share. I admire Nemanja Vojinovic’s passion to share Indira’s story and his determination to give people an insight into what life is really like in Cuba. I, for one, can’t wait to see the finished documentary.

If, like me, you’ve been touched by this Indira’s plight, you can read more about her and about what Home Run is going to explore by visiting this page here. There you’ll find more information about what it’s like to live in Cuba, Indira’s day to day life, Nemanja Vojinovic and much more. Please support their project on Kickstarter to make Indira’s story heard.

Check the video below to learn more about Indira’s story and Nemanja’s documentary:

About the author


Writing is Nichola’s passion but she's also an avid reader and a massive film geek. Like most of us, Nichola spends way too much time surfing the web, mostly reading blogs on the weird and wonderful or rumours of who's got the lead role in next years hottest films.

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