Waiting for Fidel

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Waiting for Fidel
Directed by Michael Rubbo
Produced by Tom Daly
Starring Joey Smallwood, Geoff Stirling, Michael Rubbo
Edited by Michael Rubbo
Distributed by National Film Board of Canada
Release date
Running time
57 min 50 s
Country Canada
Language English
Budget C$ 125,155 [1]

Waiting for Fidel is a documentary film from the National Film Board of Canada, in which Joey Smallwood, former Premier of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador; Newfoundland media mogul Geoff Stirling; and director Michael Rubbo document their visit to Cuba in an unsuccessful attempt to interview Fidel Castro. Much of the film consists of the progressive-minded Smallwood and free-market supporter Stirling debating the effects of the Castro regime.


Two eccentric Canadians, one the former premier of Newfoundland, Joey Smallwood, and the other Geoff Stirling, a broadcaster and lifelong seeker of higher consciousness, head off to Cuba in a private jet. They are intent on meeting Fidel Castro and talking to him about a rapprochement between Cuba and the U.S. Fidel smells a rat and never turns up for the promised great diplomacy session. All of this takes place in front of the camera – the waiting and the endless arguments about the reality of Cuba. Directed by Michael Rubbo, who also appears in the film, Waiting for Fidel is a much-loved documentary, and its informal, director-as-star style was an inspiration for Michael Moore and his personal approach to filming documentaries (e.g. Bowling for Columbine).[2]


The film can be seen on NFB's website and YouTube channel, as well as occasionally on Stirling's TV station CJON-DT during the Captain Atlantis Late Night block (2-4 AM Newfoundland time every Saturday).

What the critics said[edit]

New York Times film reviewer Richard Eder observed that "It is about Cuba, in a way, but it is also about the difficulty in seeing Cuba for what it may be."[3] Gary Evans, in his chronicles of the National Film Board, called the film "one of the most intriguing documentaries of the period".[1]


  1. ^ a b Evans, Gary (1991). In the national interest: a chronicle of the National Film Board of Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 195. ISBN 0-8020-6833-2. Retrieved 2009-09-25. 
  2. ^ Bernstein, Matthew (ed.) (2010). Michael Moore: Filmmaker, Newsmaker, Cultural Icon. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. p. 140. ISBN 978 0 472 07103 6. 
  3. ^ Eder, Richard (November 14, 1975). "Waiting For Fidel (1975) Two Fresh and Funny Films on Indonesia and Cuba". New York Times. Retrieved 25 September 2009. 

External links[edit]