The pandemic brought about a deafening silence inside movie theaters the world over. New Orleans-based Independent film producer Nicelle Herrington found a way to keep the sweet sound of New Orleans jazz alive without missing a beat in the award-winning documentary A Tuba to Cuba.
“The most important thing as a filmmaker is that your film gets seen. It was quite problematic with everything in the world being shut down.… All those events for filmmakers around the world were being cancelled,” said Herrington, reacting to the sudden and across-the-boards cancellations of film festivals.
A Tuba to Cuba follows the New Orleans famed Preservation Hall Jazz Band as they retrace the musical roots of New Orleans jazz to the shores of Cuba. American jazz musicians meet up with their counterparts in Havana, speaking only the common language of music. And the music that happens … is pure magic.
Today, amidst a world of borders opening and closing, the film offers an important and timely reminder of the richness that comes from the interconnectedness of the human experience. For Herrington, the film encompasses much more than the history of New Orleans jazz:
“A Tuba to Cuba is a story of hope.… It’s a nice reminder that we’re all connected and a reminder that different cultures can come together on common grounds.… It was a beautiful thing to see.”
Wanting to get this message out to the world, Herrington took A Tuba to Cuba to the Scientology Network’s Documentary Showcase. The platform features the works of Independent filmmakers dedicated to making a positive impact on the world through their films. Streaming in 17 languages, the film aired during the global lockdown for a worldwide audience.
“If the film wouldn’t have been shown on Documentary Showcase, there would have been a very big pause on the release,” said Herrington. “I decided to partner with Documentary Showcase because I looked at the films that they have and I thought it was an incredibly well-curated group of films. [The] documentaries are so incredibly moving and inspiring and putting them all in one place, that’s genius. I felt honored to have our film with those other filmmakers’ beautiful stories.”
A producer’s job is, essentially, to get the job done. For Herrington, the pandemic didn’t put an end to production, it merely presented a host of unimagined hurdles she had to overcome in the creation of her next projects.
“There are definitely all sorts of new obstacles when you’re shooting during a pandemic. As a producer, you’re responsible for your crew and you want everyone to be safe. I can’t believe that, in all the shoots that we did, we didn’t have anyone test positive,” said Herrington.
Her résumé includes national commercials, an official selection at the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals, a feature-length documentary and a trio of music videos for the legendary Paul McCartney. But Herrington’s measure of success is in the positive impact her work has on people’s lives:
“I think in this pandemic time, the story of hope, giving people hope, making people smile, I think that is one of the most important things that we can aspire to … to warm their hearts and make them feel good on the inside.”
Fundamental to Scientology is a humanitarian mission that extends to some 200 nations with programs for human rights, human decency, literacy, morality, drug prevention and disaster relief. For this reason, the Scientology Network provides a platform for Independent filmmakers who embrace a vision of building a better world.
DOCUMENTARY SHOWCASE debuts films weekly from award-winning Independent filmmakers whose goal is to improve society by raising awareness of social, cultural and environmental issues. For more information, visit scientology.tv/docs.
Scientology Media Productions, located in Hollywood, California, is home to the Scientology Network. Broadcasting 24/7 from the studio, Scientology Network is available at DIRECTV Channel 320 and can be streamed live in 17 languages at scientology.tv as well as on streaming platforms such as Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku, YouTube and mobile apps for smartphones and tablets. Since launching in March 2018, the network has been viewed in 240 countries and territories worldwide.
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