Film poster for "Los Hermanos/The Brothers" with pianist and violinist playing together in blue background.
Film poster for "Los Hermanos/The Brothers" with pianist and violinist playing together in blue background.
A nuanced view of estranged nations through the lens of music and family


Regular price $559.00


BEST DOCUMENTARY NOMINEE - Imagen Awards 2022 BEST DOCUMENTARIES OF 2021 – Video Librarian BEST DOCUMENTARY - Woodstock Film Festival | BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY NOMINEE - International Documentary Association | "Electrifying" "Poignant" - The New York Times

Ethnomusicology Arts • Latinx Studies • Spanish • Cuban Studies • Caribbean Studies • Latin American Studies • Immigration & Borders • Diplomacy

Date of Completion: 2020 | Run Time: 84 minutes​​ | Language: Spanish & English with English & Spanish subtitles | Captions: Yes | Includes: Transcript, Screenings Toolkit & Study Guide | Directors & Producers: Marcia Jarmel & Ken Schneider

Virtuoso Afro-Cuban-born brothers—violinist Ilmar and pianist Aldo—live on opposite sides of a geopolitical chasm a half-century wide. Tracking their parallel lives in New York and Havana, their poignant reunion, and their momentous first performances together, LOS HERMANOS/THE BROTHERS offers a nuanced, often startling view of estranged nations through the lens of music and family.

Video Librarian
"An absolutely gorgeous piece of music made that much more sublime by Ilmar’s violin arrangement and accompaniment, the full human tragedy of America's pointless and continuing isolation of Cuba comes crashing down. Strongly recommended."

Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO)Alessandra Otero-Ramos, Arts and Humanities Librarian, SUNY Geneseo
"This documentary is a good resource for Latin American studies, Caribbean studies, and courses about Ethnomusicology. Los Hermanos makes a great addition to special library collections such as Latino, Caribbean or Hispanic Studies collections."

The New York Times
"A moving documentary with generous amounts of music, 'Los Hermanos/The Brothers' follows two musician siblings from Havana whose personal closeness is at odds with the geopolitics that keep them apart."

"This beautifully shot, aurally pleasing film follows both brothers at home and on stage, culminating with the siblings achieving their dream of performing and recording together ... 
Music binds this lovely program together as we witness footage of the brothers rehearsing and performing 'Rhapsody in Blue,' 'Take the A Train,' and original composition 'Hermanos,' among other selections."

The Boston Globe
“The compelling story of a family disrupted by geopolitics.”

San Francisco Chronicle
“A remarkable film about a family ensnared in geopolitics and two brothers who lead very different lives and yet never lose their instinctual connection.”

Smithsonian Institution | James Early, Former Director of Cultural Studies and Communication, Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies
Los Hermanos express themselves, exercise their agency across divides of politics and distance, elevating literally the most familiar as the goal of their future—a basic human desire, aspiration, and achievement that Cubans in and outside of Cuba—literally around the world— find ways to do and enjoy everyday. That touted but under explored, undervalued reality, between Cuban citizens and the Diaspora family and is invitingly explored and enhanced by the two artists, their art, in addition to their family ties."

Ned Sublette, author of Cuba and its Music
"Magnificent!!! With a quietly persistent camera, Jarmel and Schneider take us deep into the lives of two famous musician brothers -- violinist Ilmar Gavilán and pianist-composer Aldo López-Gavilán.  Los Hermanos celebrates the music they struggle to play together across the harsh political border between the US and Cuba. No film better captures the exuberance of the years following President Obama's 2014 opening, and no film better captures the heartbreak of the harsher-than-ever sanctions that followed. And the best praise of all: it's about the music."

Ron McCarley | Director of Jazz Studies, Cuesta College
"At the end of movie I was left with a renewed appreciation for what it means to make music within relationships as well as renewed concern for all of the damage that is done to music making, families, economies and lives by barriers, embargos and other political means of separating people."

Evergreen School District | Sergio C Hernandez, Educator
"Beautifully done! Extremely inspirational seeing the struggle of family separation and reuniting when the opportunities came to bring together the love of a family. The passion of the love for music in the brothers' family is rooted deep in their culture, love that. Thanks for sharing this film."

Cupertino High School | Joy Kiefer, Educator
"We wanted to give our students an opportunity to experience a different culture, to give them an opportunity to hear Spanish spoken by native speakers, and to recognize that diversity is an asset and we can learn so much from each other! The movie easily accomplished all of those. It was a great experience for all involved."

Alliance of Women Film Journalists
“Nothing short of magical. Lightning in a bottle.”

Film Threat
“Jarmel and Schneider also show us how American exceptionalism and isolation are denying us the gifts of art that come from being an engaged participant in the world. Listening to Aldo and Ilmar López-Gavilán play may help us understand how much more important the blending of cultures is than any benefit of clinging to an outdated political ideology.”

NPR Boston
"Six months without live music will be reason enough to see these two gifted musicians reunite across borders to perform publicly for the first time. Los Hermanos/The Brothers offers a bright take on the endurance of family despite the policies of the day."

John Santos, Seven-time Grammy-nominated percussionist, Music Educator
"Los Hermanos is truly moving and gorgeous in every way. ...It speaks volumes about so much Cuban reality with a real humanist perspective that brilliantly reflects the hearts of these young men and their families ... A deep eye-opener that elicits empathy and gratitude, introduces us to these two brilliant artists who happen to be siblings, and is yet more solid evidence that the tired US embargo against Cuba is inhumane and utterly useless."

Joshua Bell, American Violinist
"Expertly crafted and beautifully paced, like a great piece of music. A gift to us all."

Robert Craft, Composer
"The film filled me with many emotions, so that by the end I wasn't sure whether to smile with a heart full of joy, or weep from the sadness I felt…. the music is incomparable."

Community Music Center BostonSarah Spinella, Chief Advancement Officer
“I found it so deeply moving, as a sister, as a musician, as a citizen of the US and of the world, and as someone living through the last year estranged from my own family due to the pandemic.”

Baltimore Symphony OrchKids | Megan Natoli, Flute Teacher
“What a joy it was to watch this film - I didn't want it to end! I feel endlessly inspired by Ilmar and Aldo's journeys and by their infectiously positive energy.”

Samuel Vargas International Music FoundationElena Kolbrek, Violin Instructor
“I think anyone who plays or appreciates music would enjoy the movie, but a love of music is not necessary to be awed by the family's music and the beautiful performances.”

Alyce Myatt, Arts & Culture Philanthropy Consultant, Former Director, Media Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts
"Blends music, family, and politics for an inspiring, spirited, and brilliantly crafted film that leaves you uplifted, affirming the power of art, yet challenges you to question the logic and impact of our nation's policies."

U.S. State Department | Lynn Roche, Deputy Director for Public Policy and Public Affairs, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
"A wonderful film that tells the story of family, music, culture...and our two countries with openness and humor."

KQED's The Do List
"A joyful U.S. tour featuring Aldo’s blood-pumping compositions that meld jazz, classical and Latin music."

Woodstock Film Festival Jury
"Here is a purely celebratory film that at the same time biopsies political expedience and nationalism; a film about love — for family, for art, for country — that is deeply layered with injustice as well as resilience; a film about forced separation that made us want to dance. All of the films in competition moved us deeply, but 
Los Hermanos/The Brothers, a hopeful, soaring, and beautifully-made documentary, was this jury's top choice."

The London Times
“Aldo López-Gavilán is not only a formidable virtuoso, but also exceeds in works that require extraordinary color and fascinating sounds. His natural talent never suffers and his original thinking as an artist assures a performance of amazing playing and individuality”

David France, Oscar-nominated filmmaker, How to Survive a Plague; The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson; Welcome to Chechnya
"A beautiful beautiful film. Thank you for opening my eyes in a brand new way."

Rob Epstein, Two-time Oscar winner, The Times of Harvey Milk; Common Threads
"Exquisite — so much poetry, heart, and exemplary craft.  A truly lovely film. The editing is just sublime."

Senses of CinemaValerie Soe, Writer And Filmmaker, Authors The Blog Beyondasiaphilia.com
"Los Hermanos effortlessly weaves together its images with its gorgeous score (composed by Aldo), using the soundtrack to drive and elevate the narrative, and Jarmel and Schneider skillfully portray the brothers’ relationship with each other. The movie turns an affectionate lens on Cuba, depicting the island nation awash in vibrant pastel light."

Latin Jazz Network
"Breathtaking ... 
It is a compelling story that just had to be told."

Professor Marina Rojavin | Bryn Mawr College
"The film focuses on a big topic through the lenses of familial matters."

Marcia Jarmel has produced and directed a slate of award-winning films for PatchWorks Films. She works as a consultant and impact strategist on a broad range of films, including the Oscar nominee Last Day of Freedom and HBO’s Emmy nominated 50 Children. Marcia has taught both undergrad and graduate film courses at NYU and Chapman University and been honored with residencies with Working Films, the Fledgling Fund, SFFilm, the Kopkind Colony, and BAVC Media Maker. She has served as a juror for the Emmys, BAVC MediaMaker, and many film festivals.


Ken Schneider is a Peabody-winning producer/director who has also edited nearly 40 feature documentaries for PBS, HBO, Showtime and Al-Jazeera. He received a Peabody as Co-producer and editor of Soft Vengeance. He edited the Oscar-nominated Regret to Inform, described by the New York Times as "unforgettable ... exquisitely filmed, edited and scored". Films he edited have earned multiple Emmys, a Columbia-Dupont, three Peabodys, an Indie Spirit and top awards at the Sundance Film Festival. Ken is drawn to stories of war and peace, human rights, artists, American history, contemporary social issues, and Cuba. Ken works in English and Spanish.

Violinist, Ilmar Gavilan, a native of Havana, Cuba, has had a remarkable performing career that has taken him all over the world. This fascinating journey range from performing for world leaders such as President Obama at the White House and Queen Sofia of Spain at The Royal Palace of Madrid. An avid chamber musician, Mr. Gavilan has performed with Itzhak Perlman, Arnold Steinhardt, Ida Kavafian, Carter Brey, Paul Katz, Fred Sherry, Anthony McGill and Misha Dichter. Mr. Gavilan has participated in numerous chamber music festivals including Tanglewood, Ravinia and Angel Fire. As a soloist, Mr. Gavilan has performed concertos with the Atlanta, New Jersey, Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Hartford, Nashville, Ann Arbor, Santa Monica, Phoenix, Denver, Louisiana, Anchorage, Santa Fe, Havana, Mexico City, and Venezuela Symphonies and played recitals in England, Russia, Spain and Portugal. Alongside his accomplished classical music career he has enjoyed the privilege of performing with Jazz legends Chick Corea and Gary Burton. This collaboration rendered him a Grammy for the recording of the “Hot House” album as member of the Harlem Quartet.

Pianist, Aldo López-Gavilán, praised for his “dazzling technique and rhythmic fire” in the Seattle Times, exalted as “a terrific composer” by The Washington Post, and dubbed “formidable virtuoso” by The Times of London, Cuban pianist and composer Aldo López-Gavilán excels in both the classical and jazz worlds as a recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber-music collaborator, and performer of his own electrifying jazz compositions. He has appeared in such prestigious concert halls as the Amadeo Roldán (Cuba), Teresa Careño (Venezuela), Bellas Artes (Mexico), The Lincoln Center (U.S.A.), Carnegie Hall and Jordan Hall (U.S.A.), Royal Festival Hall (U.K.), Nybrokajen 11 (Sweden), The Hall of Music (Russia), and Duc de Lombard et Petit Journal Montparnasse (France), as well as venues in Canada, Santo Domingo, Colombia, Spain, Greece, Hong Kong, Burkina Faso, Germany, and Austria. Other important milestones of his thriving international career have been the world premiere of “Emporium”, his first concerto for piano and orchestra, and his debut with The Florida Orchestra playing Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, under the direction of world renown conductor Michael Francis.

As a result of the documentary, LOS HERMANOS/THE BROTHERS, Aldo and Ilmar were able to record their first duo CD, entitled Hermanos.