"We are duty-bound to tell stories that help Cubans move forward"

"We are duty-bound to tell stories that help Cubans move forward"
Fecha de publicación: 
11 April 2024
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The television series Calendario arose from the results of a research conducted by the Center for Youth Studies, and were initially thought for a television film; but many issues were intended to be discussed. Conceived then as such, the popular proposal is now in its third and final season.

Every Sunday, a leaf falls from this audiovisual that has awakened different emotions, and has invited us to reflect on ourselves and our society.

Directed by prestigious director Magda González Grau, who agreed to talk with Granma, the series has marked a milestone in contemporary Cuban television, as it rejects stereotypes, and shows human beings with their nuances and in different circumstances.

The excellent script, written by Amílcar Salatti, the depth of the subjects addressed, and the aesthetics with which it presents each, the attention to details to be as realistic as possible, the convincing performances, with a cast made up of established and young actors and actresses, determine, among other things, the elements that have led to the success of Calendario.

«I have been a lucky director. There are people who say that this season, which includes 14 episodes, is stronger. Other people say that there are subjects that they do not like. It is still early to predict if it will pan out or not. I think it is a very well-written series. My proposal, and that of the actors, were constantly trying to live up to those scripts.


«After editing, I think they are fine. These are episodes that will move people and engage audiences. There is already controversy over the issue of Christians and the new teacher. "Let's just wait and see, to make conclusive judgments."

In season one, there was an Iyabó student in the classroom. "We wanted diversity to be seen." For this, after research, it was decided to make the Christian religion visible, because "perhaps it is less known compared to others."

On this occasion, new characters appear: "There are Sofía's parents, who are going to play a very important role, and others appear who, I believe, are going to make conflicts more intense."

Previous seasons set the bar quite high in terms of quality and expectations on the public’s side. In season 3, the biggest challenge was “closing everything.” The goal pursued is "that people are not disappointed, that they remain hooked, that they have a closure that lives up to their expectations." We work in this regard, whether we achieve it or not. I think the ending is good. “The characters’ arc from season 1 to season 3 is very coherent, the development of the characters, the conflicts. Anyone who has followed the series will know that those characters could have taken exactly that path.”

In general, the production process of these three seasons went faced several obstacles. The first was recorded in the midst of the pandemic, budget problems, transportation, food, the exodus of actors, among others. The third season – she explains – was the most difficult in economic terms, due to the situation facing the country. But Magda, Amílcar and the entire team knew how to reinvent themselves and take it forward. "One cannot give up before adverse conditions, but we must continue fighting until we achieve our dreams."

Despite adversities, "we enjoyed all three seasons, the rehearsals, the construction of the characters, the filming, we did a very strong pre-production work. I had an excellent production team, who helped me a lot. Now we are in post-production on the last episodes, and I am really enjoying the incidental music part. It has been a very hard work. Each episode is as if it were a television film, all the scenes are intense.

This was the first television series directed by González Grau. She considers each season like a daughter, and assures that she loves all three of them equally. “Some have weaknesses more than others. There are scenes that I adore in each of them, and scenes that I hate because they did not turn out the way I wanted, but each season has its charm, each one played an important role within the conflicts.”

After three seasons, she takes away many lessons. “I already know what can be done and what can't be done. If I do another series again, the same thing will happen to me. I will learn other things, because no project is similar to the other. They all have their singularities. I can't think of what I would have done differently. There are things that I would not have let happen or scenes that, perhaps, succumbed to the problems in the shooting part, and I took an easy route.”

The director knows the scope of fiction in building spirituality.  

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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