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Migdia Chinea Directs the Prince of Old Havana

A trip back to a "Lusty Latin World" of 1910 Cuba

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: May 12, 2014


Migdia Chinea Directs the Prince of Old Havana


Migdia Chinea has always been curious about what happens at certain times, in certain places. The writer/director became fascinated with the life and times of Alberto Yarini, a legendary Cuban of incredible personal charm and charisma. His life, and eventual betrayal in early 20th century Havana are fodder for her sultry film titled, THE PRINCE OF OLD HAVANA. Chinea's 2-minute trailer for the film can be seen here.

"Street Cars, Cobblestone and Street Walkers"

Chinea's film takes place in 1910 Havana, capital city of Cuba. A bustling world of Victorian values but sizzling with a siren's call of song, dance, bright colors, spicy food and hard drink. A locale where everyone knew their place, except when it came to a certain upscale bordello. Enter Yarini. "He was a knight in demeanor," says Chinea, who spent years researching the young-man-turned-pimp to the Cuban aristocracy. "He had great power in Havana, he was dashing and handsome, everybody loved him, including the politicians, many of whom were his main clients."

Old Havana and "Sexual Feats Beyond Belief"

Havana circa 1910 is about people who work hard and play harder, doling out pleasures and sexual feats unheard of in a Victorian world where politician were dutifully decorous during the day but nefariously nasty by night. Chinea found the paradox great material for both her screenplay and film. "This time and place had it all," she says. "The repressed Victorian housewife, whose identity was through her husband, and the working girl, the prostitute. Yarini flits back and forth between these two worlds, plus all the machinations of love, power and influence, money and betrayal. It is a story of Old Havana with elements that continue to this day."

Life and Death of a Cuban Legend

How Alberto Yarini lived, died and became a Cuban legend by the tender age of 32 is what the film is all about. Chinea fills in the blanks of Yarini's life, his clients, his world and complex aspirations. She shares with viewers a time when whites, blacks and mestizos mingled in the streets. The air was clean, the water fresh, and horses clip-clopped their way down the cobblestone boulevard.

Ciboney Productions is an independent film and television production company founded by Migdia Chinea in 1997. For more information about "The Prince of Old Havana" go to theprinceofoldhavana.com.

Through Ciboney Productions, Chinea has written, directed, and produced numerous award-winning short films. She studied film at the graduate UCLA school of Theater, Film, Television and Digital Media receiving her MFA in Film in 2012. Her 2011 UCLA films "anonymous (street meat)" and "Kninth Floor" have screened in Cannes and dozens of festivals worldwide, including in Saint Petersburg, Russia, at the Philip K Dick Sci-fi Film Festival in Lille, in France and New York, at the Polish Film Festival, Cyprus Film Festival, Seoul S. Korea Film Festival, and many others. Chinea has been a staff writer for Sony Pictures and has worked extensively as a screenwriter with dozens of on-screen credits, including "The Incredible Hulk" and "Superboy," among many others.

More on Migdia Chinea at: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0889630/

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