Before the War

A man returns home from a war. His physical scars are healed but the emotional ones are so deep that he will never be the same.

Creative team

Writer/director: Tamara Segura
Producer: Ruth Lawrence

Filmmaker’s statement

For many years, I was haunted by the story of Before the War but I never felt the courage to share it.

Decades ago, when he was only a teenager, my father was forced by the Cuban government to go to the battlefield. The effect of his experiences during those years brought to my family a series of conflicts that ended up with him cutting all contact with us.

Years later, when I immigrated to Canada, the emotional breakdown that I suffered due to my drastic change of life increased my awareness about mental health issues.

This is how I came across the concept of post traumatic stress disorder.

Only then did I understand the reasons behind my father’s behaviour. However, everywhere I looked, I realized that mental illnesses were still feared and misunderstood by most people.

That’s when I decided it was time to open up.

I made this film because, after such a long period, I could finally exorcise my trauma and establish contact with my father again. I made this film because I wanted to say “I love you” and because I refused to portray mental illnesses in an dehumanized way.

Before the War embraces the power of understanding and freedom from the burden of hate. By creating it, I wanted to heal myself, help heal my own family and all those that have been through similar experiences.

About Tamara Segura

Tamara Segura

Tamara Segura graduated with honours in film direction from the Cuban Higher Arts Institute. Later she specialized in screenwriting at the International Film School of San Antonio de los Baños, an acclaimed institution founded by Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez to help diversify the globe’s cinematic landscape.

Segura’s films have been awarded film prizes in Spain, Cuba, Canada and Mexico. Her 2012 short drama Fireflies won the Martin Luther King Award for best short film of the year.

In 2010, Tamara was chosen for a fellowship under the Leaders for the Americas Program to conduct research about female sexuality as social construction at Concordia University.

Currently, Tamara is based in Newfoundland where she won the 2013 RBC Michelle Jackson Award to produce her script Before the War.

Her second Canadian short film, Song for Cuba, was produced by the National Film Board and its currently making the rounds at a number of festivals.

This year, Tamara has been invited as a panelist to the TIFF Higher Learning Program as part of a discussion about diasporic Cuban cinema. Her interventions shed light on issues such as gendered expressions in her work as well as global imaginaries of nostalgia.

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