Two Cuban actors due to attend a New York premiere of their movie about defecting to America have failed to show up, organizers said Monday, in a bizarre case of life imitating art.
The two young actors were to have attended a screening of the movie "Una Noche" at New York's Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday night.
But, en route to New York from Havana, actress Anailin de la Rua de la Torre and co-star Javier Nunez Florian disappeared during a stopover at Miami International Airport and have not been seen since.
Officials with the film festival said a third actor in the film had shown up as scheduled in New York.
"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," they said in a statement.
Arrechada told The Huffington Post news website that he did not know where his co-stars were.
"I have my whole family there -- my friends, my girlfriend. I have no one here and I don't even speak English that well either," he said.
The feature film tells the harrowing tale of three Cuban teens who try to escape the island's poverty for a new life in Miami.
The director of "Una Noche" ("One Night"), Lucy Mulloy, said she too was caught off-guard by the actors' disappearance.
"I really was thinking that they were going to come here and enjoy the festival, and I thought they would love to participate in it," Mulloy told The Huffington Post.
The Communist island, one of the world's last Marxist holdovers from the Cold War era, has been hard hit over the years by defections, particularly in the world of sport and the arts.
In March 2008, seven members of Cuba's football (soccer) team, fresh from an emotional one-one draw against the United States slipped away from their minders in Tampa Florida and sought asylum in the United States.
The world of baseball also has been hard hit, with decades of promising prospects lured by the promise of fame and riches in the United States.
Rolando Sarabia, one of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba's leading dancers -- the so-called "Cuban Nijinsky" -- snuck into the United States in 2005, the most heart-rending of a wave of defections that has rocked the struggling Cuban ballet company over the past decade.
Some defectors leave for political reasons, others in the name of greater artistic freedom or simply out of a desire to be freer and able to earn more money.
It was not clear what prompted these latest apparent defections, but news that Cuba may have lost two more young talents was reported on the blogosphere back on the island by well-known Cuban dissident Yoani Sanchez.
"#Cuba Some times life is taken to the screen & some times the subject of the movie ends converted into reality..." she wrote under her @yoanifromcuba Twitter handle.
Source: AFP Global Edition