Cuban Actors in Tribeca Film Festival Movie About Defecting From Cuba Defect From Cuba Via Tribeca Film Festival

Please don’t confuse Anailin de la Rua and Javier Nunez, the first-time actors who star in Una Noche, with their characters. In the movie, the two escape to Miami from Cuba via raft. In real life, the two escaped to Miami from Cuba via the Tribeca Film Festival.

Confused? Let’s back up. The movie premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York last week, and de la Rua and Nunez were given travel permits to attend the event. Instead, the pair — who play a brother and sister who travel to Miami via a dangerous sea journey in the movie, and who fell in love on set — sneaked over to Miami, where they’re now staying with de la Rua’s uncle and seeking political asylum. They went missing upon arriving in the U.S., and it was widely assumed that a defection might be afoot. But they just announced their location and intentions on Friday, with an interview on Miami’s Spanish-language channel America TeVe. The day before, Nunez was awarded Tribeca’s Best Actor award alongside Dariel Arrechada, the third star of Una Noche. Said Arrechada — who is, for the record, not planning a fact-is-crazier-than-fiction, life-imitates-art escape — before learning of their whereabouts: “I’m sad for them because they are my friends. I wish they were here, but … you could be happy for them, for Javier and for Anailin and for everyone. It’s weird. I miss him.”

As for the duo’s future, Reuters reports:

“In part it’s hard to leave your family and friends behind,” said de la Rua, who has two sisters and divorced parents in Havana. “But at the same time you do it so you can help them. There’s no future in Cuba.” Nunez said his mother lives alone in Cuba and he plans to help her out economically along with his older brother who left Cuba for Ecuador several years ago and works as a waiter … [They plan] to move into their own place as soon as they find jobs. They said they would like to act again, but are willing to do any kind of job to kick off their new lives. They said the director of “Una Noche” is hoping to make a sequel, titled “Una Noche Mas” (One More Night). “We’d like to do that,” said Nunez.

Pretty nuts, right? And now you totally want to see Una Noche, yes? Note to future directors of fledgling indies: A great way to promote your project is to have your lead actors make a daring, possibly young-love-motivated political escape that mirrors, but also tellingly and dramatically contrasts with, the plot of your movie.

Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ AmosBarshad