The Feature Film
“When a young American businessman travels to Havana to strike a deal with the government, he meets a Cuban ballerina desperate to escape from the island. As he spends time with her, he begins to peel back the veneer of the supposed tropical paradise to discover the realities of life in Cuba.”
“A few years ago I posted a photo on Facebook of me in Cuba visiting my family. Immediately friends started messaging wanting to come on my next trip and for me to be their tour guide. I knew they wanted the Cuba from the postcards - the Cuba with the cool old cars, white sand beaches and frosty mojitos - they didn’t want the real Cuba”
Esteban “Steve” Petersen
Esteban "steve" petersEn
writer / director
Esteban "Steven" Petersen is a Cuban-American writer and director. Growing up in the Little Havana area of Miami, Florida and spending time in Cuba with his relatives has shaped his world view. He moved to Los Angeles to start an Emmy-winning career in directing and writing. And he has stayed committed to injecting as much of his unique background into his commercial work as possible.
With his film, Viva, Esteban hopes to raise awareness of the great oppression and suffering the people of Cuba endure today. His main goal is to reveal the difference between the perception versus the reality of life on the communist ruled island. All in hopes this will spark a conversation to effect much needed change.
Thomas Scott Stanton
DIRECTOR OF PHOToGRAPHY / PRODUCER
Thomas Scott Stanton is an award-winning cinematographer, artist, photographer, and filmmaker with a unique artistic approach to storytelling and collaboration. His ability to capture powerful imagery while still focusing on the emotional context of the characters and story has garnered much attention.
Some of the notable features Stanton has shot over the past few years include All About Nina, Take Me to the River, Growing Up Smith, The Lookalike, Silverlake and the upcoming Crown Vic. Several of which have been honored by prestigious lm festivals including Sundance, Tribecca, Seattle and Camerimage. One of Stanton’s most popular film’s, Benji, can currently be seen on Netflix.
Arami and Chloé Malaisé are Franco-Paraguayan sisters and entertainment professionals. Arami began playing the Paraguayan harp at the age of five and Chloé began singing along at the age of 10.
They began their acting career in grade school before both moving to NYC to study acting at NYCDA and AMDA respectively. Together they moved to Los Angeles, CA. in 2019 and formed Sister Alchemy LLC in 2021. They began producing in 2020.
Arami and Chloé have been submersed in Crypto since 2017 and more recently entered the world of NFTs in 2021. Since then they have began collecting from a number of different project including Boss Beauties, Crypto Chicks, Encryptas and more. They launched a POAP NFT for one of their virtual concerts in 2021 and are thrilled to create this new NFT collection for VIVA.
The Gersh Agency (“Gersh”) is a talent and literary agency established in 1949 by Phil Gersh, based in Beverly Hills, California and New York City. The Gersh Agency is the sixth largest talent agency in the United States. Gersh has remained one of the most recognizable names in the business for over seven decades.
With over 200 employees and offices in Beverly Hills and New York, Gersh maintains fourteen full-service departments: Talent, Feature Literary, TV Literary, Film Finance, Books, Comedy, Theatre, Below-The-Line, Alternative, Digital, Commercial Production, Commercial Endorsements and Global Branding.
In addition to the aforementioned, the agency’s roster of clients includes award- winning actors, writers, producers, directors and below-the-line talent in film, television, new media, broadcast and stage as well as literary.
On Film Forum simply select "Steve Peterson/VIVA" under "J-P".
If you'd like to be an even bigger part of the Viva Feature Film, please contact us to discuss becoming a producer of the film.
What is VIVA?VIVA is a feature film written by award winning director Esteban "Steven" Petersen. A short film version was also created in 2022 and will enter production at the end of March. VIVA aims to peel back the veneer of the tropical paradise to discover the realities of life in Cuba, while also presenting the beauty of the culture and people on this island.
What is the reason for making your film?The first step in solving a problem is identifying it. Most Americans and many people around the world are completely unaware of the terrible suffering the people of Cuba endure every single day. This film is designed to show a broad, general audience some of the horrors Cubans are forced to endure to survive.
Why not make a documentary?Documentaries traditionally appeal to people already interested in the topic. But we wanted to deliver our message to the broadest audience possible. So we created a scripted film full of truth, emotion and the beauty of the Cuban culture. Like a trojan horse, we are delivering our message of truth inside the fictional relationship of two characters from two different worlds who learn about each other's realities. In the same way Disney's classic film BAMBI is known to be "the most effective piece of anti-hunting propaganda ever produced" we are creating a piece of content to be "education through entertainment".
Why are you shooting in Colombia as opposed to Cuba?While we would love to shoot this film in Cuba, the Cuban government is not keen to allowing anything to be shot in Cuba if it criticizes the government. Cartagena, Colombia visually doubles for Cuba in nearly every way. From the beautiful city center and the historic Spanish castles to the picturesque seawall and run down neighborhoods. Furthermore, Colombia, specifically Cartagena, has emerged in recent years as a burgeoning production community with resources readily available.
How can I support VIVA?The best way to support our project is to mint a VIVA NFT (coming soon!), or becoming a traditional investor in the film, either directly or via Film Forum (tax deductible donation). Another way to support VIVA is by following us on Twitter and spreading the word about our project. Your support means the world to us! Thank you.