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Actors Javier Nuñez Florian and Anailin de la Rua de la Torre in Una Noche

asylum seekers

Cuban Actors Portraying Would-Be Defectors in New Film Una Noche Defect For Real

New coming-of-age film Una Noche tells the story of three Cuban teenagers risking the oversea journey from their native country to Miami in search of the ol' American Dream. It won three top awards at this year's Tribeca Film Festival for cinematography, direction (in the new narrative direction category), and acting (Dariel Arrechada and Javier Nuñez Florian shared the Best Actor honor.) 

However, only Arrechada has been able to accept the award or, for that matter, attend Una Noche's U.S. premiere. Florian and another co-star (and real-life girlfriend) Anailin de la Rua de la Torre disappeared en route to its first American screening. The couple confirmed they're seeking political asylum in the country in a televised statement last night.

While on a layover in Miami earlier this month, Florian and de la Rua absconded together — hiding out with the latter's uncle, who lives in the city. Both explained the decision as one designed to help loved ones back home. "In part it's hard to leave your family and friends behind," said de la Torre, "but at the same time ... there's no future in Cuba." A Miami-based immigration lawyer, representing the pair, has said he will file for asylum on their behalf in the next two weeks. 

Una Noche's director, Lucy Malloy, said the duo's defection came as a shock, and that it "all happened so quickly." Their co-star Arrechada says he's trying to be happy for the couple, but that "it's weird," and that he misses them both. As it happens, he might get the chance to see them again — Florian told Reuters he and de la Torre would love the chance to reprise their roles in a sequel, which is potentially in the pipeline. That might be a little bit awkward though, especially if it involves more filming in Havana.