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Two Cuban actors who starred in an award-winning film about defectors have emerged from hiding to confirm they are seeking asylum.
Cuban actors Javier Nunez Florian and Anailin de la Rua de la Torre emerged from hiding on Saturday to confirm that they are seeking political asylum in the United States, according to Reuters.
In a case of life imitating art, the actors who played lead roles in the award-winning film "Una Noche" disappeared last week while en route to the Tribeca Film Festival where the film was holding its US premiere.
The film centers around three Cuban teenagers who flee the country after one of them is accused of assault, said ABC News. "Una Noche" follows them on the 90-mile journey to Florida. All three of the actors, including Dariel Arrechaga, were expected to appear at the Tribeca Film Festival last week, along with the film's British-born director Lucy Mulloy.
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Before they appeared on a Miami-based television channel, America TeVe, de la Rua and Nunez were last seen at Miami airport on a stopover between Havana and New York, said BBC. They told a film producer traveling with them that they would meet him at the departure gate, but then went missing.
Nunez and de la Rua, who fell in love during the film's making, told Reuters they began considering defecting when they received invitations from festivals abroad, including the one in New York. "In part it's hard to leave your family and friends behind," said de la Rua. "But at the same time you do it so you can help them. There's no future in Cuba."
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The director, Mulloy, said, "Though they’ve made difficult choices about what to do at present, I wish them the very best in all their endeavors and I hope I will get to see them again soon," according to The New York Times.
Arrechada, who shared the Best Actor award at the Tribeca Film Festival with Florian said, "Thank you very much. I thank you with my whole heart. I'll never forget this day," according to The Telegraph.
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Here is a video report from The Telegraph of statements from Arrechada and Mulloy about the pair: