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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 becoming 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. The film features a genre-bending score composed by Cuban Aldo Lopez-Gavilan performed with his American brother, Ilmar, and with guest appearances by maestro Joshua Bell and the Grammy-winning Harlem Quartet. (APRIL 23-24)


Director’s Statement: Marcia Jarmel, Ken Schneider

A family story originally brought us to Cuba, where Ken’s dad was given shelter as a refugee child from Nazi Germany, two years before the U.S. opened its doors to him. Years later, we began to make films in Cuba and built a community there of artists, thinkers, and musicians. We were hoping to find a story to explore their perspectives when we first heard Aldo in concert. His unusual cocktail of classical, jazz, Latin jazz, and Afro-Cuban rhythm blew us away. It was December 2014, just when a historic shift in U.S. -Cuban relations created new possibilities. Months later we met Ilmar in the U.S. who told us Aldo was coming for his first tour in the States. We didn't know what would happen, but we knew something was. Two remarkable musician brothers separated by circumstances, reuniting, sounded almost like a fable. Six weeks later we started shooting.


Selected Filmography: Speaking in Tongues, Havana Curveball, The Return of Sarah's Daughters

  • Year
    2020
  • Runtime
    84 minutes
  • Language
    English, Spanish
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Marcia Jarmel, Ken Schneider
  • Producer
    Marcia Jarmel /PatchWorks Films, Ken Schneider/PatchWorks Films
  • Executive Producer
    Sally Jo Fifer, Jonathan Logan, Sandie Viquez Pedlow
  • Cast
    Ilmar Gavilan, Aldo López-Gavilán, Guido López-Gavilán, Daiana Garcia, with a guest appearance by violinist Joshua Bell
  • Cinematographer
    Roberto Chile, Dave Sperling
  • Editor
    Ken Schneider with Bill Weber
  • Music
    Aldo Lopez-Gavilan