The year was 1978 and filmmakers Leon Ichaso and Orlando Jimenez-Leal were plowing through knee-high snow to film "El Super," a low-budget movie that launched their cinematic careers in the United States and that became a classic of the Cuban exile community.
A year later "El Super" premiered at the Miami International Film Festival, it went to the Venice Film Festival, it played at the prestigious New Directors/New Films series at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It became a cult film.
At the time, "El Super," a slice of life story of a Cuban exile struggling as a building superintendent in New York City, was the first fiction film to depict the struggles of the Cuban exile community in the U.S.
Ichaso has now made 31 films, including "El Cantante" with Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez, and "Piñero" with Benjamin Bratt, while Jimenez-Leal has built a successful career as a cinematographer.
Leon Ichaso and Orlando Jimenez-Leal on the set of "El Super", the 1979 film that launched their careers in the United States.
But thanks to Manuel Arce, the film's producer, "El Super" has been digitally remastered and will be re-released at the Tower Theater in Miami on April 26th. "Time went by and we realized that the film hadn't made it into the digital world, like DVD," said Leon Ichaso on a recent interview in Miami. "Our producer thought about remastering it so it has a life, so it can be a document and it wouldn't get lost."
In March the newly remastered copy was screened at the Miami International Film Festival in front of a packed house.
Filmed on a shoestring budget, "El Super" tells the story of Roberto, a building superintendent who is on his tenth year of living in New York City. He goes through life dreaming about the day when he can take his wife Aurelia and his teenage daughter Aurelita (played by then 18-year-old Elizabeth Peña) to the next best thing to paradise, Miami.