Cuban Cigar Documentary Screened Next Week in New York City
Cuban Cigars and the glorious, sometimes tenuous environment it grows in gets some well deserved limelight next week as Matthew Gelb’s ‘The Prince of Smoke’ is screened at Manhattan’s Film Festival on the 27th of April 2018.
Hirochi Robaina, pictured, holds a freshly rolled Vegas Robaina cigar. Photo sourced via: Matthew Gelb.
Some Cuban Cigars for sale have been born out of environments that face political and climatic change. Hirochi Robaina says ‘it’s a huge responsibility’ to be a farmer at this time as the camera follows him through his luscious, green plantation while he tentatively inspects his crop. This short documentary follows tobacco farmer and ambassador, Hirochi Robaina, as he tells the story of how he attempts to support and sustain his family business by saving the tobacco crops which were once fondly loved by cigar aficionados worldwide and are now at the peril of bad weather caused by climate change.
Hirochi Robaina is pictured amongst his glorious and green crop, which he hopes will provide for the best harvest yet. Photo sourced via: Matthew Gelb.
‘I was inspired to continue this tradition by my grandfather, Alejandro. He was the King of tobacco in Cuba’. Alejandro Robaina was renowned in Cuba as the legendary tobacco farmer in the world famous region of Vuelta Abajo, where brands like Montecristo Cigars and Cohiba Cuban Cigars also source their tobaccos. Robaina’s reputation is obvious when the trailer displays photos of him rubbing shoulders with Fidel Castro, puffing on a cigar in a factory and finally immortalized in statues attributed to him to celebrate his success and show the community’s love for his work.
Prince of Smoke is a beautiful depiction of Cuban culture and provides an interesting insight into tobacco farming and the troubles Robaina faces as he meets the challenge of a worn-out ozone layer. This documentary has collected awards at Film Festivals around the world, thanks to the story itself and the unparalleled talent of award winning director and film-maker, Matthew Gelb.
Matthew Gilb speaks fondly on the process and of Hirochi Robaina, saying that he felt as though Robaina was the right person to lead him into the Cuban cigar world and a true visionary for a weakening brand in need of a revival.
Picturesque Cuba, despite appearances, is facing turmoil as tobacco harvests are hindered by climate change and torrential rains. Photo sourced via: Matthew Gelb.
Other family members share their opinions on the situation they face which makes for an interesting stance. For example, Robaina’s father is shown telling the camera ‘Let’s not forget our brand belongs to the government. It’s not our property. You understand?’. By creating space for such topics to be spoken about, viewers can get an insight into what other brands like Romeo y Julieta Cuban Cigars and H. Upmann Cigars might think of state ownership.
Those lucky enough to attend will be able to watch Prince of Smoke at the Cinema Village Theater in Manhattan, at 5pm.