A film by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
USA/Cuba, 2005, 70 min. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Subjects: Latin American Studies, Latino Studies, Cuba, Political Studies, Music, Cultural Studies, Hip-hop

From the acclaimed filmmakers of the feature films Half Nelson and Sugar, Young Rebels follows five Cuban hip-hop groups and two producers over the course of a Havana summer. Battling onstage or at home, the characters’ personal travels collide in a summer of explosive concerts, intense debate, unbearable heat and rising tensions as government agencies begin to institutionalize hip-hop’s street roots.



FESTIVALS: Official Selection New Directors/New Films 2005

San Jose Cinequest Film Festival 2005

IDFA Flies Tropics (Suriname) 2006

Tekfestival (Roome, Italy) 2006

Madrid's Hip Hop Festival 2006

“Young Rebels is essential viewing for anyone interested in rap music, free speech issues or the youth culture of contemporary Cuba.” – Dana Stevens, The New York Times

“Affably ambling pic is particularly strong in examining the economics of rap.” – Richard Scheib, Variety

“Young Rebels is at least as sharp as Buena Vista Social Club” – Robert Christgau, The Village Voice

“A labor of love, Young Rebels is essential viewing for anyone who wants to stay ahead of the hip-hop curve.” – V.A. Musetto, New York Post

“Fascinating” – indieWIRE

“As young Cuban musicians with few hopes of commercial success embrace rap music, they look at American hip-hop with a mixture of pride (in the purity of their own political and social messages) and envy (at the wealth and fame achieved by American rappers). This informative doc introduces us to a number of these earnest young pop messengers, who barely have the resources to make a CD... but have the wherewithal to organize a rap festival.” – Stephen Holden, The New York Times

“An eye-opening movie, both socially and politically.” – David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor


Anna Boden (Co-Director): Anna Boden moved from her hometown of Newton, Massachusetts to New York City in 1997 to study cinema and English at Columbia University. On a short hiatus from school, Anna helped develop a filmmaking course for students in the Talent Search program, a program for first-generation college-bound youth.

Ryan Fleck (Co-Director): Ryan Fleck moved from Oakland, California to New York in 1997 to study filmmaking at NYU.  His student film Struggle, detailing a racial confrontation on the set of a film about the life of former Black Panther Assata Shakur, received the Carl Lerner Award for Social & Humanitarian Significance and also screened in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. 

Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck began their artistic collaboration in 2002 on documentary short Have You Seen This Man? The short won several festival awards, premiered on PBS in 2003, and airs regularly on the Independent Film Channel.  Their most recent short film, Gowanus, Brooklyn, premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, where it was awarded the grand jury prize in short filmmaking.  It also screened at New Directors/New Films in 2004.  Gowanus, Brooklyn was based on the feature-length script, Half Nelson, which Anna and Ryan co-wrote and developed at the Sundance Screenwriters’. Filmmaker Magazine recently named Ryan and Anna two of the 25 New Faces of Indie Film for 2004. Jóvenes Rebeldes (Young Rebels) was Anna and Ryan’s first feature-length project.


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