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Ron and I talk about his beautiful new film The Poet of Havana, the magic of music, the generosity of poets like Carlos Varela and why piracy at one time was seen as a blessing in Cuba.

Film Synopsis

Enter the world of internationally renowned Cuban musician Carlos Varela…singer, song-writer, lyricist, one of the most influential and well-loved artists of his time as he celebrates his 30th anniversary in poignant performances.

Discover his cultural, political and social significance. How he was influenced by his country, politics and people, and how he has influenced them in return. His struggle for individual freedoms, and his efforts to build bridges between Cuba, the United States, disenfranchised Cubans, and the people of the world.

Shot in Havana, with unique access, exclusive interviews, stunning concert and insider back-stage moments. Varela is joined by international stars, his friends, Jackson Browne, Benicio del Toro, Ivan Lins, Luis Enrique, Juan and Samuel Formel, Diana Fuentes, X Alfonso, Alexander Abreu and more.


Producer, director and entrepreneur, Ron Chapman began his career as a musician, and went on to manage musical artists and produce albums.  His legendary Toronto music club “The Edge” provided a scene for some of the most exciting international artists of the day, and he promoted concerts in the city’s premier venues.   He established a film production company, produced and directed rock videos, and for decades has produced and directed television commercials for some of the world’s leading brands. Chapman founded the successful Canadian advertising agency Brandworks International.

Chapman’s successful feature documentary “Who the F**K is Arthur Fogel”, released 2014 and distributed by eOne, features Lady Gaga, U2, The Police, Madonna, Rush, and key music industry insiders, and has been released in over 38 countries worldwide: including HBO in Canada and South America,  EPIX and Netflix USA.

His award-winning documentary film “The Poet of Havana”, released on the festival circuit in 2015 and picked up by HBO USA, documents the life and career of Carlos Varela, one of Cuba’s most influential, beloved artists. Capturing two memorable concerts at Havana’s Teatro National, with exclusive interviews and insider back-stage moments, Varela is joined by international stars, his friends, Jackson Browne, Benicio del Toro, Ivan Lins, Luis Enrique, Juan + Samuel Formel, Diana Fuentes, X Alfonso, Alexander Abreu and more.

Chapman’s latest film,  “The Forbidden Shore”, is an insightful, compelling documentary and definitive exploration of Cuban music: the people, culture and politics, and the effects of the embargo are illuminated through the eyes of Cuba’s musicians, and their incredibly diverse music, from Rhumba to Rap.  With unique access, rare performances and interviews from over 30 top Cuban artists, this is the most important and revealing film to come out of Cuba since the Buena Vista Social Club.  “The Forbidden Shore” had its World Premiere at the 2016 MIAMI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, March 2016.

An album of his own original songs, “ As Worlds Collide” recorded in Toronto and Havana with some of Cuba’s top musicians, and mixed by legendary record producer Terry Brown, was released on Current Records February 15, 2016.