Entirely shot in Cuba, the BTS videos focus on Glover and Murai’s desire for authenticity and the subsequent use of local talent, ranging from their casted actors, musicians and locations. The individuals who make up the supporting cast expand on their artistic backgrounds and its deep-rooted connections to Cuban culture, whether it be in music, art, dance, or acting. Additionally, Glover gives a voiceover tour of the historical venues they were able to film at, including the Astilleros Chullima dry docks established by Che Guevara, the Iglesia del Wajay church erected in 1764 and the house Kofi and Deni reside in — which surprisingly has more significant value than one would think.
In a statement, Glover touched on the experience of linking up with these artists. “At its best (or maybe just its most accessible), art is ingenuity. I had the pleasure of experiencing this spirit of ‘making what you must with what you have’ collaborating with Cuba’s talented and abundant artists over the course of filming Guava Island,” he said. “The artist’s endeavor has always been the manifesting of an idea, then forcing a society to recognize, or maybe just question, its value. These artists have not only inspired me to examine what we value on a day-to-day basis, but also to move with intention in the world with the childlike ingenuity that Cuba seems to offer every moment. I’m very proud to be able to share their stories with you.”
In case you missed it, watch Donald Glover and Seth Rogen sing “Hakuna Matata” in a new The Lion King featurette.