Cuban refugee rafters—“balseros”—fled by the thousands in 1994 after Fidel Castro opened up Cuba’s coastal borders to those who wished to leave the country. This documentary passionately traces, over the course of seven years, the lives of seven of those refugees. We follow them from the building of their rafts to their attempts at building new lives in America. In chronicling the bittersweet dreams of families torn apart, and in some cases reunited, these interwoven stories show the emotional toll exacted on those who risked acts of desperation in hopes of attaining a better life. The footage captures Cuba during a dramatic period in its history, and includes interviews, emotional telephone conversations, and video updates between “balseros” and their families back home. Meticulously crafted, directors Carles Bosch and Josep Maria Domenech cast a revealing light on Cuban culture and the country’s perceptions of America during this tumultuous time. Executive producers Tom Roca, Maria-Jose Solera, and Sheila Nevins (for Cinemax Reel Life), producers Loris Omedes Regas and Nancy Abraham (for Cinemax Reel Life), and editor Ernest Blasi bring this illuminating story to viewers. Presented on Cinemax, a production of Televisio de Catalunya and Bausan Films in association with Cinemax Reel Life for HBO/Cinemax Documentary Films, the Peabody Board presents Balseros with a George Foster Peabody Award.
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