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Hemingway Movie: A Rare Hollywood Moment in Cuba

/ Source: Associated Press
Image: Bob Yari, Joely Richardson, Adrian Sparks
Film director Bob Yari, left, works with actors Joely Richardson, center, and Adrian Sparks, right, during the filming of the movie "Papa" in Havana bay, Cuba on April 24. Though the title derives from the Nobel Prize-winning novelist's nickname, the movie is based on an autobiographical script by Denne Bart Petitclerc, who is played by Giovanni Ribisi, while Hemingway is portrayed by theater and screen veteran Adrian Sparks. Yesica Fish / AP

In Cuba, a joint Canadian-Cuban-American production recently wrapped up filming "Papa," a biopic about the budding friendship between acclaimed American writer Ernest Hemingway and a reporter in Cuba during the 1950s.

Hemingway, famous for many books including "The Old Man and the Sea," which he wrote in Cuba, lived in the island from 1939 to 1960 and is a beloved figure there.

"It was an absolute passion to actually make it in Cuba where everything that is in the script happened," said the movie's director, Bob Yari. Shooting began in March with the island's governmental film institute known as ICAIC providing location support, period costumes and local actors.

"Papa" came to Cuba under a U.S. Treasury Department license exempting it from most embargo restrictions. The film's makers said there was a cap on how much they could spend, but would not say how much or release overall budget figures.

Producers say it is the first full-length film with a Hollywood director and actors shot in Cuba since the 1959 revolution.

As a documentary, the film accessed Havana's most iconic locales, including the former Government Palace, now a museum celebrating Castro's revolution, the majestic Grand Theater and even Hemingway's former estate, Finca Vigia, which is closed to tourists.

--The Associated Press

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