Andy Garcia narrates new documentary featuring stories of Cuba's former political prisoners
- Submitted by: lena campos
- 08 / 09 / 2012
Celebrating Life in Union, a new documentary narrated by Andy Garcia, will premiere at the 2012 New York City International Film Festival at Tribeca Cinemas, August 14 at 6: 00p.m. The film unveils the tragedy and brotherhood of a group of former political prisoners from the Cuban Revolution, who fought for, and then were betrayed by their leader, Fidel Castro.
Director and human rights activist Gladys Bensimon, known for her award-winning documentary Crossing our Borders, learned that a group of these former prisoners, now in their 70s, was living and gathering weekly in Union City, New Jersey. She began attending the meetings as her curiosity grew about what really happened to the people of Cuba during the Revolution. Garcia, a Cuban-American, joined the project to support the former prisoners and to help tell their stories.
"These men were young and passionate when they initially joined Fidel Castro's revolution in Cuba to overthrow dictator Fulgencio Batista," said Bensimon. "They were students, teachers, farmers, businessmen who sacrificed everything to change Cuba for the better. After all that effort, they were betrayed by Castro and forced to lead a counter-revolution in the Escambray Mountains."
Celebrating Life in Union juxtaposes the former prisoners' stories with the stories of their families, who prayed they survive the firing squads that claimed the lives of thousands in a tumultuous Cuba. The men recount the physical and mental abuse they endured during their decades incarcerated. Thousands paid with their lives and many more with their freedom and sanity to fight for a free Cuba.
"I didn't want their stories and the human rights violations of the Castro regime to be forgotten," said Bensimon. "We need to remember what our freedom is worth, and pay respect to those who are brave enough to fight for it."