Ottomaticake came about much like Otto’s cheesecake—an unexpected surprise beginning, followed by many challenges, and a joyous end. As a long time friend of Otto, I filmed his performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch not even thinking of making a film. When he faced difficulties with the bakery in Honolulu’s Chinatown, I realized that his story could help others. I took this film as an experiment to face my own creative fears. Unlike my previous documentary film Ella Es El Matador (She is the Matador), I shot this film myself over a period of four years and worked with my generous editor Kyung Lee for the past two years. We completed the film production for under ten thousand dollars mirroring Otto’s do-it- yourself spirit. I took a leap of faith relying on the big-heartedness of others, and an exceptionally talented film team. Through Otto, I am reminded that no matter who you are, if you are truly authentic and true to your gift, you can carve a place for yourself in the world. I am grateful to Otto for teaching me how to be a more resourceful, less worried, and more joyful filmmaker. Otto has much to teach us about living locally, authentically, creatively, and choosing to surround ourselves with the ingredients we love in our lives. No matter what, he has an eternally youthful spirit. I hope to have captured Otto’s true essence and that in watching the film you take a piece of his inspiring world with you. I am honored to share Otto’s story with all of you at the 2017 Hawaii International Film Festival. For Otto, its about cheesecake, punk-rock, and rollercoasters. For me, its about teamwork, storytelling, and faith. What secret ingredients bring you joy? Aloha.

—Gemma Cubero del Barrio
Writer, Director, Producer, Camera

Stills from the film


“ Delicious, gritty, perceptive… This film as many layers”
—Jeannette Paulson Hereniko, Founder of HIFF

World premiere at 37th Hawaii International Film Festival – Made in Hawaii Competition.