Luis Salas is Cuban-American, a New Jersey native whose life experiences differ greatly from those of his Cuban relatives. Salass grandmother lived in Cuba during the revolution in the Fifties and initially sided with Fidel Castro. When he was sixteen years old, his father fled the island in search of freedom by swimming to the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay.
I wanted to know certain things about my father and his culture. When he got arrested for hanging out with people who opposed the revolution, his mother refused to bail him out. He was left with no other option than to try to swim to the naval base, says Salas. His fathers unimaginable desperation and the unspoken emotions of his grandmother -- who now lives in the U.S. -- spurred Salas to tell the sprawling story of his countrymen. His fascinating documentary, Lejos de la Isla (Far from the Island), traces Cuban history from the Castro-led revolution, to the Mariel Boatlift, to todays U.S. visa lottery. He interviews artists, authors, successful businessmen, and fresh-off-the-raft newcomers, many of whom are struggling to find their place in America. The stories are so touching. How desperate do you have to be to get on a makeshift boat, to travel shark-filled waters and brave storms to get here? This is a story that needed to be told, says Salas. Catch the debut of his film tonight at 8:30 at the Miami Beach Cinematheque. Tickets cost ten dollars. Call 305-673-4367, or visit www.exile2005.com.
Sat., June 17