Mariel Wins Second Straight International Award

Voices From Mariel, a one-of-a-kind documentary film, produced NFocus Pictures, won Jury Award for Best Caribbean Film at the Aruba International Film Festival (AIFF). The award, recognizing excellence in Caribbean cinema, was presented during a ceremony held June 13 in Aruba.  This is the second straight festival win for Voices From Mariel, having earned the coveted Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary at the Gasparilla International Film Festival this past March.

More about Mariel…In 1980, Cuban leader Fidel Castro permitted his people to board boats at the Port of Mariel to come to the United States. Nearly 125,000 Cuban citizens, from April to September of that year, crowded barely seaworthy boats in search of a better life in America. Dr. Jose Garcia and his parents were among those who made it. He was 13 years old. He is now the Associate Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies and Modern Languages Chair at Florida Southern College.  In the film, Garcia and the NFocus team conduct numerous interviews with other Mariel survivors willing to share their stories. They also return to Cuba to document Garcia’s experiences as he reconnects with loved ones still living in Cuba today.

According to the film’s producers, the project involved great planning and risk and is believed to be a one-of-a-kind look at the lives of Mariel’s Cuban-Americans 30 years later. It also provides a recent and rare glimpse into the lives of people who still live in Cuba today.  To watch the trailer and learn more about the film, visit