By Manuel Ruiz-Barrera
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This campaign has ended. It raised $25,100, reaching its minimum goal.
The mission of this landmark project is to tell the untold story of Cuba's state vigilance society through a universal story that is about forgiveness, redemption, and reconciliation. This work commences with funding a duo-language audio series.


When Cuba's most prominent dissident moves into town, he upends the world of a longtime Revolutionary snitch, uncovering secrets that will shake everyone’s faiths and throw an entire neighborhood into chaos.

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“Bistec” is a historical fiction drama that reveals the inner world of modern Cuba’s vigilance society through a universal, emotional story about forgiveness, redemption, and reconciliation.  


Our story follows Echauri Suarez, a devout Cuban Revolutionary leading his neighborhood's vigilance committee, and Orlando Contreras, a prominent dissident whose arrival in Echauri's barrio triggers a series of unexpected events that will unveil secrets and test sacred loyalties.  


Set in the Dystopian world of Cuba in 2009, “Bistec” resonates as a powerful cautionary tale for today about privacy, the rise of artificial intelligence, human rights, the dangers of political fanaticism, and the role of government in society.  


This is the first story to ever delve DEEPLY into the ‘Big Brother’ system that has controlled Cuba for 65 years - and which was directly inspired by Nazi Germany, and Stalin.


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100% of the funds raised will go towards the project, commencing with a premium audio series that we will complete in Spanish and English to distribute nationally and internationally. 


Bistec is a 15-year-old passion project that through the years we have self-funded with production and script consultants, a gorgeous musical score, as well as location scouting trips for the future film to Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.  Now that we have assembled our core team of producers, we are coming to you to join us and help us complete this important project. 


With the money raised, we will complete and robust launch the series in both Spanish and English, and assemble additional staff we need to raise funds for the film that we want to produce this Fall in the Dominican Republic, and Miami.  Our stretch goal will enable us to secure more music rights and to create a Behind the Scenes podcast to accompany every episode of the audio series. 


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Additional Information


Our duo-language, premium audio series and the pre-production we've done for the accompanying film puts us in a strong position to efficiently shoot this movie in the Fall of 2024 and to have it fully ready for film festival season by early 2025.  

This timing of the audio series and ensuing fundraising campaign for the film relies on a Pay-It-Forward model that is optimal for the story because it involves issues people care passionately about.  


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Turning the Tables on Fidel's Dystopia

From disciplined storytelling to premium productions and highly collectible poster art, the Dystopian Cuban state has leaned heavily on the film arts to persuade the world that they are bigger thinking, more humane, and better suited than anyone else to remain in power while continuously spreading their ideology throughout the Americas and the world.  

Bistec rips a page from that playbook created by Fidel, and through a humane, compassionate, and clever story infused with memorable characters, culture, music, and historical accuracy turns the table on the dictatorship’s propaganda. 


By fiercely focusing on story and freshly peeling back the nuclear secrets of Cuba’s mysterious vigilance apparatus, we believe Bistec will articulate for the Cuban Exile what Schindler’s List did about the Holocaust.


The Nitty-Gritty


Written and created by Manuel Ruiz-Barrera, Bistec is the first major production of Nuestro Studios, a division of Nuestro Stories.  By supporting this entirely Latino-produced and directed project, you are not only helping make this incredible audio series and film possible but are enabling us to increase opportunities for other projects that we expect to produce with other Latinos.  The producers have a very strong track record for diversity and inclusion in media that spans decades. 


Thank You

Thank you for taking the time to consider supporting ‘Bistec’. We hope you can be a part of our landmark project and help us bring awareness to what's happening in Cuba, and in other societies that disregard its citizens' right to privacy, especially at a time when artificial intelligence and Big Data are growing concerns in the U.S. and worldwide. 

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Latinos under-represented in Hollywood 

Based on the Hollywood Diversity Report 2023, the representation of people of color remained insufficient across various industry sectors in 2022, except for streaming film actors. This includes both on-screen and behind-the-scenes roles. Despite Latinos representing 19% of the total U.S. population and being enthusiastic moviegoers, their presence on the big screen remains disproportionately low. In 2022, white actors dominated 78.4% of leading roles in theatrical films, while Latinos were only given 2.3% of these opportunities. Similarly, on streaming platforms, while leads were predominantly white in 66.7% of films, Latinos were represented in only 6.1% of these roles.

About Nuestro Stories

The flagship brand of the diverse-owned Brilla Media Ventures, Nuestro Stories is the content, influencer, ad tech, and production studio devoted to celebrating Latino heritage every day. Nuestro Stories produces snackable videos, stories, and social media content daily focused on Latino origins and histories, and through its Nuestro Studios also creates or co-produces branded and original films, documentaries, series, and podcasts. Nuestro Stories is led by Angela Sustaita-Ruiz and Manny Ruiz, creators of Hispanicize and co-founders of the Hispanic social media marketing, and influencer industries, the Latino press release wire industry, and the first network of Hispanic print media companies online.


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Team-member photo
Manuel Ruiz-Barrera

“Bistec” is written and will be directed by Manuel Ruiz Barrera, Chief Content Officer and Co-Founder of Nuestro Stories. 

A U.S. Hispanic media, entertainment, and events trailblazer of more than 28 years, Ruiz oversees all editorial aspects of Nuestro Stories, including its Nuestro Studios division that produces premium branded content, films, documentaries, series, and podcasts.  One of the founders of the U.S. Hispanic social media marketing industry and Hispanicize, which he sold in 2022, Manny has been part of three media company sale exits.  

Prior to Hispanicize, Manny created the first press release wire service, Hispanic PR Wire, which in 2008 he sold along with two other sister companies to the publicly traded events and media company UBM (now Informa).

Manny has been awarded the keys to the City of Miami, is a member of the Miami Dade College Hall of Fame, and has won every major award in the public relations industry, including the PRWeek Campaign of the Year (“truth”), the Silver Anvil, and the Hispanic Public Relations Association Professional of the Year Award.  In 1992, during his years as a writer for The Miami Herald, he was a co-recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Community Journalism.


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Lourdes Castillo

Lourdes Castillo is a co-founder and Chairman of the Board of LATAM Family Office Society. Lourdes is also the co-founder of Economic Club of Miami and the founder and CEO of LMC Communications, a strategic advising & public relations firm focused on South Florida as gateway of the Americas. Being an advocate of women and children’s issues, Ms. Castillo served as Commissioner for the Florida Commission on the Status of Women from 2008 through 2013.  She was a co-founding partner of MIT’s Global Co Creation Lab, helping lead their South Florida branch in their breakthrough technologies and innovation-driven enterprises. Ms. Castillo’s impact and leadership in South Florida has been recognized by several notable organizations. Over the years, she has been awarded the Big Brother Big Sister “Miracle Maker” Award, the Junior League of Miami “Women Who Make a Difference” Award, Chapman Partnership “Womenade” recognition.  Lourdes has been at the forefront of helping to foster a thriving economic and financial ecosystem in South Florida. 

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Celines toribio

Director, Actress and Producer only begin to describe the dynamic executive producer of ‘Bistec’, Celines Toribio. 


Over the past three years, Celines has directed and/or produced three feature films through her company ESENCIA Films, one of the most established production houses in the Dominican Republic. 


Celines is the producer of the biopic Maria Montez (Offical Selection at Guadalajara Film Festival 2015), the Drama Film "The King Of Havana" (Official Selection at San Sebastian Film Festival 2015), and Los Fabulosos Ma' Mejores (Kids Baseball Comedy). 


Celines' biggest passion is to help community organizations that can work with inner city programs for kids. She has worked many years working as an On-Air talent for radio and television in the Hispanic Market. Currently, she resides in Miami. 

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Santiago Eljaiek III

Santiago Eljaiek III is an established lawyer with over 20+ years experience in media, mergers and acquisitions, commercial and residential real estate, asset-based and structured lending, and general corporate agreements.

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Armando Azarloza

With more than 30 years of experience in marketing, communications, and advertising, Azarloza is CEO of The Axis Agency, an award-winning U.S. multicultural marketing agency he co-founded in 2005. Whether launching a new product, managing a company’s reputation or brand building, his efforts produce experiences that are consistent with culture, language, and lifestyle.


Azarloza has been instrumental in shaping marketing strategies for many respected brands and his teams have been recipients of more than 60 national marketing awards. Before launching The Axis Agency, Azarloza was Executive Vice President of Weber Shandwick, a leading global communications firm.

Nuestro Stories Launches Nuestro Studios with Slate of Bold Original Films
Thu. May 16, 12:59 AM EDT


Nuestro Studio’s first productions 


Nuestro Studios’ first slate of productions features three original films, and podcasts highlighted by ‘Bistec: A Dissident’s Tale’. Written by Ruiz, the feature film and original audio series tells the quirky cat-and-mouse story of Cuba’s most prominent dissident, and the Communist neighborhood snitch who’s sworn to stop him. Six-time EMMY-winning conductor Alberto Badewill score ‘Bistec’, and Cuban filmmaker, writer, and documentarian Ernesto Fundoraof ‘Cuba Suena’ is joining as associate producer, and head of photography.


Also in production is the short film ‘El Clavito’, which tells the dark tale of a young couple who make a strange compromise to buy their dream home for $1. ‘El Clavito’ was co-written by the late Mel Santiesteban and Ruiz. ‘Fantastic Fails’ is an entertaining, interview-style podcast devoted to showcasing entrepreneurs’ biggest business ideas that failed, and the lessons they learned from them.

As part of its commitment to collaborate with other Latino studios and production companies, Nuestro Studios is producing its five-part audio series for ‘Bistec’ and its serial podcast ‘Fantastic Fails’ with the award-winning team of Studio Ochentaled by Lory Martinez. The ‘Fantastic Fails’ podcast is being hosted and co-executive produced by Jesse Martinez, founder of the Latinx Startup Alliance.

As part of the company’s expansion, Nuestro Stories also promoted the multi-hyphenated producer, and senior editor, Efrain Gonzalez to partner and vice president of Nuestro Studios productions. Gonzalez’ talent can already be seen on many of Nuestro Stories’ premium snackable documentaries.


Only 1 left!
Social media shoutout ($25+)
You are awesome! We will give you a shout out on our social media and include you in our VIP newsletter for the latest Bistec updates.
Unlimited supply.
Two Passes to Film Screening ($75+)
Social media shout-out and two passes to one of the film's screenings (travel not included.)
Unlimited supply.
Bistec T-Shirt ($85+)
Social media shout-out and a Bistec tee.
Unlimited supply.
Q&A with the Cast & Producers ($100+)
Private Q&A with the Director, Producers, and Cast (unlimited)
Unlimited supply.
Bistec Photo Documentary Book ($150+)
All the previous incentives plus your copy of the Bistec Photo Book featuring the documentary photography that inspired the story.
Unlimited supply.
Premium Silkscreen Poster ($500+)
You will receive the previous incentives as well as an original, signed, premium silkscreen print poster.
Unlimited supply.
IMDB Credit as Associate Producer of Podcast ($1500+)
All of the previous incentives plus an Associate Producer credit for the Bistec Podcast on IMDB.
Unlimited supply.
Red Carpet VIP experience ($2500+)
All of the previous incentives plus a VIP invitation to a red carpet premiere (travel not included)
Only 25 left!
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