An Advance Look at Cuba’s Magic, from a Pace Grad

Cassie Pacenka

This week, Courtney Novak, a Pace graduate and veteran of two documentary trips, gave us an invaluable peek at what’s to come, showing dozens of images from her recent Cuba trip and offering helpful advice. She was in Cuba on assignment as a photojournalist taking photos of Cubans and telling their stories.

Courtney took the documentary course in 2010 and 2011, working on both The Life of an American Ambassador, shot in the Netherlands and the Linda Thornton, Seeing Sustainability, One Shrimp at a Time, filmed in Belize.

She allayed any concerns we had about taking pictures and particularly about talking to people we will meet. She said Cubans were the most positive people she had ever encountered. She spoke of them dancing in the street and being friendly and welcoming.

She even offered us an advance look at the hotel we’ll stay at in Havana, and — perhaps most important — said there’s a free wi-fi hot spot in a park just a few blocks from our door.

Her photographs vividly illustrated how Cubans are facing up to the big challenges facing the country, brightly painting crumbling buildings and making great meals even when the main offering is rice and beans. Thank you so much, Courtney, for your help!

We are now one step closer to Cuba.



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