(NEW YORK) — In a case of life imitating art, a pair of young Cuban actors who were expected at the New York premiere of their film about defecting to the U.S. have disappeared after landing in Miami.
The film Una Noche is about three young Cubans who decide to flee the country on a raft after one of them is accused of assault. The film follows the day they attempt to make it 90 miles across the ocean to Florida.
All three of the film’s stars — Anailin de la Rua de la Torre, Javier Nunez Florian and Dariel Arrechaga — were expected to appear at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival for the premiere. But Torre and Florian, both 19, were nowhere to be found the night of the event.
“Only Dariel Arrechada attended the Tribeca Film Festival premiere screening of Una Noche on Thursday, April 19,” a spokeswoman for the Tribeca Film Festival said in a statement. “We have not had any contact with Anailin de la Rua de la Torre or with Javier Nunez Florian.”
Tammie Rosen, spokeswoman for the festival, confirmed to ABCNews.com that all of the actors were invited to the festival.
“We can’t say for sure what the status of these guys are,” Katie Tichacek Kaplan, spokeswoman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), told ABC News. “There are a number of things they could be thinking. We just don’t know what their plans are.”
Kaplan said that USCIS could not comment specifically on individual cases, but said that people in similar situations that come to the U.S. for asylum have a year to apply.
A State Department official told ABC News, “We are aware of the reports but we don’t have any further information. We have not been in contact with the film festival organizers or the Cuban actors.”
On the Facebook pages for the film and the actors, supporters have left messages of encouragement.
“Congratulations on making your dream a reality, wishing you much success in the land of the free,” one person wrote.
Another wrote: “I’m glad you were able to get out. May God bless you.”
Representatives of the film did not respond to requests for comment, but Lucy Mulloy, the film’s writer and director, told The Huffington Post, “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. They made a decision, I guess.”
The British-born director recently graduated from New York University’s graduate film program, and Una Noche is her first feature film.
She did not anticipate that her stars would not be at the premiere.
“It is surprising,” she told the website. “I mean, they had all of their family there and it’s surprising. But things can be difficult in Cuba. There’s an embargo and so there’s a lot of challenges for people living in Cuba.”
Arrechada, 21, the one actor who did attend, told reporters he was alone in New York and planned on returning to Cuba as planned since his visa was going to expire.
“That’s their choice, you know?” Arrechada said of his co-stars, according to The Huffington Post. “That’s their way of thinking. No one is forced to stay. And no one is forced to go back. If you want to stay in the United States, I think, well, stay. If you want to go back, go back. Not all of us have to stay and not all of us have to go back. It’s about what you want to do with your life.”
He told the website he believed his co-stars would stay in the U.S.
A similar situation occurred in March when Yosmel de Armas, a Cuban soccer player, defected from his national team while in Tennessee for a game. Armas turned up in Miami earlier this month and is seeking asylum with the help of an immigration attorney.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN