With a Stroke of the Chaveta

The untold story of cigarmakers and literature in Cuba.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
28 mins
Remote video URL


With a Stroke of the Chaveta takes viewers into the legendary cigar factories of Cuba to witness the survival of the collective reading of literature while tabaqueros roll cigars. We learn how through la lectura de tabaquería cigar workers have been entertained, educated, and maintained a sense of class solidarity.

Featured review

Pam Sporn's engaging documentary, Con el toque de la chaveta, provides a revealing contemporary view of a thriving cultural institution, created by and for workers long before the Cuban revolution.
— Robert Ingalls
Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida, Co-author (with Louis A. Perez, Jr.) of Tampa Cigar Workers: A Pictorial History


The voice of the cigarmakers’ beloved lector is but a whisper in most places. How has the tradition of factory readings survived in today’s Cuba?

In With a Stroke of the Chaveta, current day Cuban lectores Odalys, Aguila and Gricel tell us about the challenges of meeting the expectations of a knowledgeable and demanding workforce, and the satisfaction of receiving the applause of hundreds of chavetas in unison. Meanwhile, los tabaqueros tell us they can’t imagine a workplace without their esteemed lectores.

Awards and Screenings

First Prize: Festival del Habano Film Festival, Havana, Cuba
Best Documentary Short: Cine Las Americas Film Festival, Austin, Texas
Festival internacional del nuevo cine latinoamericano, Havana, Cuba
Maysles Cinema, Harlem, NY
Chicago International Latino Film Festival
London International Documentary Film Festival
Gasparilla Film Festival, Tampa, Florida
Los Angeles International Latino Film Festival

Features and Languages

Subtitle/Caption Languages

  • English

Promotional Material

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