Los Hermanos/The Brothers

A geopolitical chasm forces two Cuban brothers to shelve a dream of playing music together until a diplomatic thaw unites them onstage.

Brothers Ilmar and Aldo Lòpez-Gàvilan
PBS Plus Presentation
Premiere Date
October 1, 2021
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2020 International Documentary Association (IDA)-Best Music Documentary
  • Producer/Director

    Marcia Jarmel

    In addition to her PatchWorks' work, Marcia was consulting producer on HBO’s Emmy-nominated 50 Children," consultant to Academy Award nominee Last Day of Freedom," and IFP Mentor to The Last Season. Other credits include co-editing the Academy-award nominee,For Better or For Worse, and assistant producing the Academy Award nominees, Berkeley in the Sixties Show more and Freedom on My Mind. She also field produces and consults on impact for documentary films. Show less


    Ken Schneider

    Ken Schneider is a Peabody award winner who believes in the power of film to affect hearts and minds. For 25 years, Ken has produced, directed and edited documentaries, focusing on war and peace, human rights, artists’ lives, unearthing buried American history, and contemporary social issues. Ken co-edited the Oscar-nominated Regret To Inform, a film Show more the New York Times described as “unforgettable … exquisitely filmed, edited and scored.” His films have appeared on PBS’ American Masters, POV, Independent Lens, Frontline, Voices, on HBO, Showtime, Al-Jazeera, and in television and film festivals worldwide. He edits in English and Spanish. Show less

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    The Film

    Siblings Ilmar and Aldo Lòpez-Gàvilan, six years apart in age but conjoined by talent and a love of music, evoke the history of U.S.-Cuba relations — living on opposite sides of a geopolitical chasm more than half a century wide. Classical violinist Ilmar was a teenager when he left Cuba in the 1980s to play with orchestras in Moscow, Spain, Los Angeles, and finally New York, the place he now calls home. His younger brother Aldo, a child prodigy and virtuoso classical and jazz pianist, chose to make his life on the island nation he loved. Both men soared in their careers. And yet, restrained by embargos, travel bans, and finances, the brothers saw each other rarely and had long ago shelved their aspirations of playing together professionally. Until 2015, when a diplomatic thaw made that abandoned dream a reality. Tracking Ilmar and Aldo’s parallel lives, poignant reunion, and momentous performances together on stages in Cuba and across the U.S., Los Hermanos/The Brothers offers a nuanced, often startling view of estranged nations through the lens of their music, each thriving in its own way. The film also presents an intensely moving, personal perspective on an unending geopolitical conflict who's next stage remains unknown.