Who Created
The Cuban Flag?

Find out through the story of EMILIA!

Emilia productions

Emilia is a documentary film exploring the life of Emilia Teurbe Tolón, a pioneer for an independent Cuba from Spanish rule. Exiled for insurgency in 1850, Emilia continued to conspire from New York City, where she embroidered the first Cuban national flag, an important symbol for the emerging nation.
In this personal narrative, the director traces his familial roots over two centuries to uncover a forgotten past and inspire future generations to tell their stories.
He joins Emilia’s descendants in Cuba and Miami as they struggle to understand Cuba-US history, and their own history of exile, family separation and reunification.


EMILIA, an untold Cuban American Story

EMILIA is a personal journey and search for ancestral roots to unravel the story of my ancestor, Emilia Teurbe Tolón, who sewed Cuba’s national flag while living in exile in New York in 1850. It is a first-person experimental narrative based on family memories and the meaning of the flag as a unifying symbol for all Cubans. The film chronicles a little known but very significant episode in US-Cuban history: the creation of Cuba’s national symbols in New York. Emilia was the first woman deported from Cuba for political insurgency. She was a 19th century woman ahead of her time and a role model for women’s contributions to the struggle for independence. An advocate for social justice, she bequeathed her wealth for children’s education. Her husband, Miguel, was a poet, political activist and a Freemason. In exile, he became a pioneer of Spanish language journalism in the United States where he designed the flag and coat of arms.
Their commitment to free Cuba from Spanish colonial oppression gave rise to the birth of the Cuban nation. Although anchored in history, the story is told in the present as I discover milestones about the history of Cuba, Latinx United States and my ancestor. The film merges personal histories and interviews with excerpts from 19th century publications, diaries, letters and poetry to reconstruct Emilia’s life. I join Emilia’s descendants in Cuba and Miami as we struggle to understand our family history, and our own story of immigration, exile, family separation and reunification.
Cuban escudo

Producer /


Luis Pérez-Tolón is an award-winning Cuban-American filmmaker, visual anthropologist and former network executive whose career spans more than 40 years across the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. His credits include: Director of Production and Development for Discovery Networks Latin America; PBS; Café Productions, London; Director of the EU’s MEDIA Program for Audiovisual Development in Spain; and the U.S. Department of Education.

Associate /


Charles and Silvia Wilhelm. The production of this film could not have been possible without the Wilhelm’s support. They facilitated filming in Cuba thanks to their more than twenty five years working for the Cuban people. Their continuing belief in this story during the fundraising, editing and promotion has been essential for making this film.


Editor /

motion graphics

Daunier Estevez is a filmmaker with more than 10-years’ experience in video editing, including educational documentaries for the U.S. Dept. of Education and Miami’s Pit Fall, a story of why the pit bull ban became a Miami Dade County ordinance in 1989. Daunier is co-founder of Zentient Arts, a creative media agency that provides video, photography, graphic and web design services.

Fermin Fleites is an SEO Expert & Communications Specialist. For 15 years he has developed projects “Across Media” to link media online and offline. In 2006 the program Arte Mundo Latino aired for six years on national TV through DirectTV and Time Warner, an online version is now on Youtube. He produced and directed three records (Tenors, 4Voces, Paracas-a Special Reserve) for youtube. Currently he works as SEO and SEM consultant for various companies.

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EMILIA, an untold Cuban American story
51 min English/Spanish with Subtitles
Produced and Directed by Luis Pérez Tolón
©Emilia Productions LLC 2017

Upcoming Presentations

Antropología Visual e Historia: Emilia y la Bandera Cubana

Jueves 28 de Noviembre Aula 608, Piso 6 Edificio Volta Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Original Cuban Flag 1850

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