May 2 - Two Cuban actors make a life changing decision to escape Cuba and pursue their dreams in the United States, hoping their story has a happy Hollywood ending. Kathi Urban reports.
They came to America to promote their new film. But Cuban actors Javier Nunez and his girlfriend Anailin de la Rua never arrived at the Tribeca Festival premiere of "Una Noche" in New York. Instead, the couple slipped away from the film's director who was accompanying them at Miami airport. The reason - Javier and Anailin have decided to leave communist Cuba for good and seek political asylum in the U.S. SOUNDBITE: Anailin de la Rua, Cuban defector, saying (Spanish): "It's a very painful decision, but I think that everything comes with sacrifice. We left our families behind. It's a sacrifice for a better livelihood. I think that everything is for our well being as well as our families there." SOUNDBITE: Javier Nunez, Cuban defector, saying (Spanish): "We never knew we were coming to the United States. When the director told us that we had been selected for the Tribeca Film Festival and the visa and paperwork came through, that's when we made the decision that we were going to stay." A life changing decision, which resembles the story of their characters in the film. "Una Noche" follows three Cuban teenagers who try to escape their homeland to start a new life in Miami. Javier and Anailin, who fell in love on set, play a brother and sister, but only one of them survives the journey. The two have now become the centre of media attention in Miami since going missing last week. They now hope to pursue their dreams in acting. SOUNDBITE: Javier Nunez, Cuban defector, saying (Spanish): "My dream in life is to be an actor like William Levy [Cuban actor working in the United States] and others acting in the movies which is what I like the most." Now twenty, they initially auditioned for the roles when they were 15 where they were discovered by the film's director, Lucy Mulloy. And whilst there are no film roles lined up for them at the moment - the couple say they're happy to work any job to support themselves until their legal status is resolved. Kathi Urban, Reuters