Two Cuban actors starring in a film about defecting to the United States have gone missing while en route a New York festival where they were due to appear at the movie's US premiere last week, a spokeswoman for the event has said.
Actress Anailin de la Rua de la Torre and actor Javier Nunez Florian, cast members of Una Noche [One Night], failed to appear at the Tribeca Film Festival debut on Thursday, prompting reports that the two may have defected - a case of real life imitating art.
"Only Dariel Arrechada attended the Tribeca Film Festival premiere screening of Una Noche on Thursday, April 19. We have not had any contact with Anailin de la Rua de la Torre or with Javier Nunez Florian," a spokeswoman for the New York City event said in a statement on Monday.
"We had no conversation [about defection] on the plane from Havana or at any other time. They were just excited to come to New York for the premiere "
- Sandy Perez Aguila, producer
Una Noche, directed by New York University film school graduate Lucy Mulloy, follows the journey of three Cuban teenagers trying to escape the poverty of their homeland to start a new life in Miami.
Havana-based producer Sandy Perez Aguila told the Los Angeles Times on Monday that he last saw the pair of missing actors at Miami's airport during a layover as they were all traveling to New York.
He told Miami police they were missing, but police said he would have to wait 24 hours to file a report.
Upon reaching New York, Aguila opened the pair's suitcases and they were empty.
"It was very strange," Aguila told the LA Times. "We had no conversation [about defection] on the plane from Havana or at any other time. They were just excited to come to New York for the premiere."
There is a long history of Cuban athletes and artists defecting to pursue careers outside their home country.
In 2005, Cuban ballet dancer Rolando Sarabia snuck across the border into the US and in 2008, seven members of Cuba's Olympic soccer team defected in Florida after a game.