AWARD-WINNING DOCUMENTARY LOS HERMANOS / THE BROTHERS ON VIRTUOSO CUBAN-BORN MUSICIANS TO HAVE NATIONAL BROADCAST AND STREAMING DEBUT ON PBS & PBS.ORG STARTING FRI. OCT. 1
“NOTHING SHORT OF MAGICAL. LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE.”
– Kristen Page-Kirby, AWFJ
“THIS IS AN OSCAR CALIBER FILM FOR THE FAMILY AND ONE NOT TO BE MISSED.”
– Jeffrey Lyons, WCBS Newsradio 880
“There’s a fiery rhythm and life infused into their music that fuels a passion that results in a unique musical texture.”
– Bradley Gibson, Film Threat
“The film has a pulsing rhythm at its core that envelops the viewer in a celebration of the Gavilán brothers’ music and crescendos into two questions that burrow into your heart: What is the humanistic and artistic cost of our two nations’ enduring divide? And is it worth it?”
– Kim Mills, Winston-Salem Journal
Watch the Trailer Now!
NEW YORK, NY – The award-winning documentary feature Los Hermanos / The Brothers will have its national television broadcast debut starting on Friday, October 1 on PBS and its national streaming release on the same day (and available for 30 days) across all PBS owned platforms including PBS.org, member station video portals and the PBS Video App available on iOS, Android, Roku, Samsung Smart TV (Tizen), Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, and VIZIO SmartCast Smart TVs. Click here for the teaser and trailer. Checking local listings for airdates and times.
Directed by Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider, the film follows virtuoso Cuban-born brothers — Ilmar the violinist, and Aldo the pianist — who live on opposite sides of a geopolitical chasm a half century wide. Linked by music and dreams, their unfolding story offers a nuanced, often startling view of nations long estranged, and a vision of what can happen when borders can be crossed.
The release comes as the Biden administration pledges a review of U.S. policy which has ping-ponged from a 54-year old embargo to a brief historic opening between the U.S. and Cuba, back to even tighter restrictions during the Trump era. This story of family separation, hopeful reunion, and future uncertainty resounds with the ongoing relationship between the two countries.
Los Hermanos / The Brothers won the Best Documentary Feature Award at the Woodstock Film Festival and was nominated by the International Documentary Association for the prestigious Best Music Documentary. It screened at DOCNYC, the Miami Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, and most recently at Carnegie Hall ahead of the theatrical release in Spring 2021.
The Boston Globe film critic Peter Keough called it “The compelling tale of a family disrupted by geopolitics.” KQED Arts’s Michael Fox said the film “delivers a double album of Cuba libre!…President Obama’s enlightened cultural-exchange policies set the stage for a joyful U.S. tour featuring Aldo’s blood-pumping compositions that meld jazz, classical and Latin music.” The Marin Post film critic Don Schwartz said “I cannot overstate the pleasure and excitement this film provides. It is a must-see.” Violin maestro Joshua Bell assessed it as “expertly crafted and beautifully paced, like a great piece of music.”
Los Hermanos / The Brothers is a co-production of ITVS.
ABOUT THE FILM
Ilmar and Aldo López-Gavilán are virtuoso Afro-Cuban musician brothers, born in Havana in the 70s. At 14, Ilmar outgrew his island teachers and was sent to the U.S.S.R. to study violin. He never lived in Cuba again, ultimately landing as a working chamber violinist in the U.S. Younger brother Aldo grew up mentored by Cuba’s impressive jazz and classical pianists, his extraordinary talent achieving renown on the island, but stymied elsewhere by the 60-year-old U.S. embargo. Though they see each other when family finances and visa restrictions allow, they’ve never had a chance to collaborate musically—something they’ve longed for all their lives.
Tracking their parallel lives, poignant reunion, and momentous first performances together on stages across the U.S., LOS HERMANOS / THE BROTHERS is a nuanced, intensely moving view of nations long estranged, through the lens of music and family.
Featuring an electrifying, genre-bending score, composed by Cuban Aldo López-Gavilán, performed with his American brother, Ilmar, and with guest appearances by maestro Joshua Bell and the Grammy-winning Harlem Quartet.
84 minutes, English and Spanish (with English subtitles)
ABOUT THE BROTHERS
ALDO LÒPEZ-GAVILÁN (Composer, Pianist)
Praised for his “dazzling technique and rhythmic fire” in the Seattle Times, and dubbed a “formidable virtuoso” by The Times of London, Cuban pianist and composer Aldo López-Gavilán excels in both the classical and jazz worlds as a recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber-music collaborator, and performer of his own electrifying jazz compositions. Aldo began his formal piano studies at the age of seven, making his professional debut in Cuba at the age of 12, and developing remarkable improvisational skills and talent as a composer.
He has recorded six albums and performed his compositions in concert halls throughout Europe and Latin America, but geopolitics stymies his ability to perform in the U.S. Though they see each other when family finances and visa restrictions allow, they’ve never had a chance to collaborate musically—something they’ve longed for all their lives, until the door opens and our story begins.
ILMAR GAVILAN (Violinist)
Recognized as a child prodigy in Cuba, Ilmar Gavilán has had a distinguished career playing for world leaders from the Obamas to Queen Sofía of Spain. Based in New York for 20 years, he won first place in the Sphinx Competition as a young adult, and helped form the Harlem Quartet to mentor young classical musicians of color. Along the way, Ilmar also developed improvisational skills and has performed and released albums with Paquito D’Rivera, Eddie Palmieri and Gary Burton, and Chick Corea, with whom the Harlem Quartet won a Grammy. He has studied with Yehudi Menuhin and Itzhak Perlman. He continues to tour and teach with the Harlem Quartet, who are currently in residence at London’s Royal College of Music.
ABOUT THE DIRECTORS
PatchWorks Films, co-founded by husband and wife team Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider, makes documentaries raising nuanced questions about critical contemporary issues. PatchWorks’ films have broadcast and screened worldwide and have each been used in robust engagement campaigns. Their most recent feature, HAVANA CURVEBALL screened in six countries, winning Best Documentary awards at the Boston and Seattle Children’s Film Festival, a special jury award at the Olympia Festival in Greece and a spot on School Library Journal’s “Best of 2014” list. Their previous feature, SPEAKING IN TONGUES, aired on PBS, won the Audience Award at the San Francisco Film Festival, and continues to be a catalyst for changing language education worldwide. Previous films include BORN IN THE U.S.A., which aired on Independent Lens and was hailed as the “best film on childbirth” by the World Health Organization, and several shorts. LOS HERMANOS/THE BROTHERS is their 9th collaboration, their 4th in Cuba. Clips and information on all PatchWorks’ features and shorts can be found at patchworksfilms.net.
MARCIA JARMEL / DIRECTOR/PRODUCER/IMPACT MANAGER
Marcia is a veteran documentary director, producer, and impact producer. Prior to founding PatchWorks, Marcia directed and produced THE RETURN OF SARAH’S DAUGHTERS (Women in the Director’s Chair, IDA’s DocuWeek, Cinequest, international public television) and THE F WORD: A SHORT FILM ABOUT “FEMINISM” (Living Room Festival, AFI’s VideoFest, and Brooklyn Art Museum’s Judy Chicago film series). Angela Davis called THE F WORD “an important step toward rekindling discussion of feminism.” Marcia consults on social issue films, including HBO’s Emmy nominated 50 CHILDREN, and the Academy Award nominated LAST DAY OF FREEDOM. Marcia has been a resident at Working Films’ Content+Intent at Mass MoCA, Fledgling Fund’s Reel Education and Reel Impact, SFFilm’s FilmHouse, the Kopkind Colony, and twice a BAVC MediaMaker. She has taught at NYU-Tisch in Havana and Chapman University and served as a juror for the Emmys, BAVC MediaMaker, and many film festivals.
KEN SCHNEIDER / DIRECTOR/PRODUCER/EDITOR
Ken is a Peabody Award winner who believes in the power of film to affect hearts and minds. For nearly 30 years, Ken has produced, directed and edited documentaries in English and Spanish, focusing on war and peace, human rights, artists’ lives, American history, contemporary social issues, and Cuba. His work has appeared on PBS’s series American Masters, POV, Independent Lens, Frontline, Voces, and on HBO, Al-Jazeera, Showtime, and on television and in film festivals worldwide. Ken co-edited the Oscar-nominated REGRET TO INFORM and has edited over 35 feature length documentaries that have won Primetime and Documentary Emmys, three Peabodys, a Columbia-Dupont, IDA (International Documentary Association) awards, an Independent Spirit Award, and top awards at Sundance. Ken has a personal connection to Cuba, where his Vienna-born father was sheltered during the Holocaust. Ken has taught at NYU-Tisch, Chapman University, and San Francisco City College, and lectured at the SF Art Institute, University of San Francisco, and Harvard. He has been a panelist for the National Endowment for Humanities, Emmys, and various film festivals.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE & SOCIAL PAGES
ITVS is a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that has, for over 25 years, funded and partnered with a diverse range of documentary filmmakers to produce and distribute untold stories. ITVS incubates and co-produces these award-winning films and then airs them for free on PBS via our weekly series, INDEPENDENT LENS, as well as on other PBS series and through our digital platform, OVEE. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Acton Family Giving, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, Wyncote Foundation. For more information, visit itvs.org
ABOUT LATINO PUBLIC BROADCASTING
About Latino Public Broadcasting
Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) is the leader in the development, production, acquisition and distribution of film and digital cultural media that is representative of Latino people or addresses issues of particular interest to Latino Americans. These programs are produced for dissemination to public broadcasting stations and other public media entities. Providing a voice for the diverse Latino community throughout the United States, Latino Public Broadcasting is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. LPB also produces the acclaimed PBS documentary series VOCES, exploring the rich diversity of the Latino experience. VOCES presents new and established filmmakers and brings their powerful and illuminating stories to a national audience — on TV, online and on the PBS app.
Between 2009 and 2020, LPB programs won over 130 awards, including three prestigious George Foster Peabody Awards as well as Emmys, Imagen Awards and the Sundance Film Festival Award for Best Director, Documentary. LPB has been the recipient of the Norman Lear Legacy Award and the NCLR Alma Award for Special Achievement – Year in Documentaries. Sandie Viquez Pedlow is executive director of LPB; Edward James Olmos is co-founder and chairman.
We would like to thank Adam J. Segal • The 2050 Group – Publicity for the press release.