America TeVe Interview

Posted by James Carleton on Jul 12, 2011 in Cuba, Film, Press, Videos | 0 comments

Dr. Garcia is interviewed on the program La Mirada Indiscreta on América TeVé.

Radio Caracol Interview

Posted by James Carleton on Jul 12, 2011 in Cuba, Film, Interviews, Press | 0 comments

Dr. Jose Garcia’s interview with Radio Caracol during Cuba Nostalgia.


Voices From Mariel Selected for Two More Festivals

Posted by James Carleton on Jul 7, 2011 in Cuba, Film, Update | 0 comments

Voices From Mariel is heading to the Northeast, having been named as
an official selection for both the Jersey Shore Film Festival and the
New Jersey International Film Festival.

The Jersey Shore Film Festival runs July 28 through August 7.  Founded
in 2006, the mission of the Jersey Shore Film Festival is to serve
film enthusiasts of all ages throughout the Jersey Shore community by
presenting entertaining and thought-provoking films created by
talented independent filmmakers from around the world.  For more
information on the Jersey Shore Film Festival visit its website

The New Jersey International Film Festival is in its 30th year and
will be screening films on select evenings between September 9 and
November 5 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.  For more
information on the New Jersey International Film Festival please visit

More information on Voices From Mariel screening times for these
festivals will be forthcoming at

Mariel Wins Second Straight International Award

Posted by James Carleton on Jun 16, 2011 in Cuba, Film, Press, Update | 0 comments

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

Landed In Aruba

Posted by James Carleton on Jun 10, 2011 in Film, Update | 0 comments

Awoke this morning in Aruba.  Enjoyed meeting the makers of the film Children of God.  Briefly met with Claudio Masenza, Artistic Director and Giuseppe Ciccarelli of the Aruba International Film Festival.  Looking forward to further conversation and meeting with other filmmakers.

Steven Bauer to Attend AIFF

Posted by Virginia Celoria on May 31, 2011 in Cuba, Film, Showings | 0 comments

Steven Bauer to Attend AIFF

Steven Bauer, who appears in a special introduction to the documentary, will be attending the Aruba International Film Festival along with the filmmakers of Voices From Mariel. The official screening schedule has not been released, but we will post it here when it becomes available.

To learn more about Steven Bauer or to view his special introduction, please click here.

Aruba Film Fest Announced 2nd Annual Slate

Posted by Virginia Celoria on May 27, 2011 in Showings | 0 comments

Aruba Film Fest Announced 2nd Annual Slate


by Peter Knegt

Aruba International Film Festival

The 2nd annual Aruba International Film Festival has announced its lineup, with Kim Cattrall (whose “Meet Monica Velour” will open the festival), Jonathan Demme, Milcho Manchevski, Sergio Sanchez Suarez and Lech Majewski among its noted guests. The lineup was announced by AIFF Artistic Director Claudio Masenza and Festival founders Giuseppe Cioccarrelli and Jonathan Vieira. The festival takes place June 10-16, 2011.

Full press release below.

Aruba – May 26, 2011 – Program details for the 2nd Annual Aruba International Film Festival (AIFF), which takes place June 10-16, 2011, were announced today. The Festival will showcase a diverse array of films from 13 different countries and feature several international premieres. The lineup was announced by AIFF Artistic Director Claudio Masenza along with Festival founders Giuseppe Cioccarrelli and Jonathan Vieira.

Among the titles, the international premieres at AIFF include the Massimiliano Bruno directed Italian comedy “Nessuno mi puo giudicare” (English title “Nobody Can Judge Me”); American drama “Meet Monica Velour,” written and directed by Keith Bearden; the Mario Van Peebles directed drama “Things Fall Apart” starring rapper, actor and multi-tiered business mogul Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, who will be attending the Festival; and “Tequila” directed by Sergio Sanchez Suarez.

AIFF will open with “Meet Monica Velour” starring Golden Globe(R) Award winning actress Kim Cattrall (“Sex and the City” franchise, “The Ghost Writer”) who will kick-off the Festival’s opening night Red Carpet on Friday, June 10th at Paseo Herencia.

The Festival’s “In Conversation With…” series will start on Saturday, June 11, 2011 with the Oscar(R) winning director Jonathan Demme (“The Silence of the Lambs,” “The Manchurian Candidate”). Demme is also presenting his film “The Agronomist,” which will be followed by a Q&A.

Kim Cattrall, BAFTA Film Award-winning Hollywood costume designer Michael Kaplan (“Blade Runner,” “Burlesque,” “Fight Club”) and Academy Award(R) nominated director Milcho Manchevski (“Before the Rain,” “Mothers”) will also take part in the “In Conversation With…” series with particiaption dates scheduled to be announced in the next few days.

Milcho Manchevski will introduce his latest film “Mothers” which he wrote and directed, and also screen his Macedonian drama “Before the Rain,” which earned him an Oscar(R) nomination and 12 award wins.

Among the international stars confirmed to attend AIFF are Italian actress Paola Cortellesi (“Nessuno mi puo ’ guidicare-Nobody Can Judge Me,” “Piano, solo”), director Sergio Sanchez Suarez (“Tequila”) and his leading actress Daniela Schmidt (“Casi divas,” “Sea of Dreams”), Mexican actress Barbara Mori (“Kites,” “La mujer de mi hermano,” “Ugly Me”), Italian actor and screenwriter Alessandro Calza (“Ciao”), and Polish director and artist Lech Majewski (“The Mill and the Cross,” “Angelus”). Additional names will be announced in the coming weeks.

The official AIFF lineup is comprised of the following films:
 BEFORE THE RAIN (Country: Republic of Macedonia / Director: Milcho Manchevski)
 BEGINNERS (Country: USA / Director: Mike Mills)
 BIBLIOTHEQUE PASCAL (Country: Hungary / Director: Szabolcs Hajdu)
 CIAO! (Country: USA / Director: Yen Tan)
 EVEN THE RAIN (Country: Spain / Director: Iciar Bollain)
 HERMANO (Country: Venezuela / Director: Marcel Rasquin)
 KITES (Country: India / Director: Anurag Basu)
 MADE IN HUNGARY (Country: Hungary / Director: Gergely Fonyo)
 MEET MONICA VELOUR (Country: USA / Director: Keith Bearden)
 MOTHERS (Country: Republic of Macedonia / Director: Milcho Manchevski)
 NESSUNO MI PUO’ GIUDICARE (Country: Italy / Director: Massimiliano Bruno)
 TATANKA (Country: Italy / Director: Giuseppe Gagliardi)
 THE SON OF NO ONE (Country: USA / Director: Dito Montiel)
 TEQUILA (Country: Mexico / Director: Sergio Sanchez Suarez)
 THE AGRONOMIST (Country: USA / Director: Jonathan Demme)
 THE BIG BANG (Country: USA / Director: Tony Krantz)
 THE GUARD (Country: Ireland / Director: John Michael McDonagh)
 THE LIFE OF FISH (Country: Chile / Director: Matias Bize)
 THE MILL AND THE CROSS (Country: Poland / Director: Lech Majewski)
 THINGS FALL APART (Country: USA / Director: Mario Van Peebles)

**Caribbean Spotlight Series (CSS)

Encouraged by strong local support last year, AIFF expanded its popular “Spotlight” series, which was created to showcases movies from Aruban and Caribbean filmmakers. Having proved its popularity among locals, the Festival has created a broader experience for the series this year. There will be an official competition, jury and award, as well an audience award.

The three person CSS jury consists of journalists Noel DeSouza and Rosalie Klein and producer Emmanuel Itier. They are charged with evaluating and selecting the competition winner and bestowing the Festival’s first competition award.

The winner of the CSS Audience Award will receive a $1,500 cash prize.

The official films have been selected by Director of CSS Aaron Hose and the CSS committee. AIFF Artistic Director Claudio Masenza and the founders of AIFF Giuseppe Cioccarelli and Jonathan Viera proudly announce CSS 2011:

CSS Films In Competition
O 100,000 (Country: Puerto Rico/ Director: Juan Agustin Marquez)
O CHILDREN OF GOD (Country: Bahamas/ Director: Kareem Mortimer)
O CURACAO (Country: Netherlands/ Director: Sarah Vos and Sander Snoep)
O FIRE BURN BABYLON: (Country: Montserrat/United Kingdom/ Director: Sarita Siegel)
O VOICES OF MARIEL: (Country: Cuba/USA/ Director: Jim Carleton)

CSS Special Screenings (Not in Competition)

O LA FUGA: (Country: Puerto Rico/ Director: Edmundo H. Rodriguez
O RISE UP: (Country: Jamaica/ Director: Luciano Blotta)

The full AIFF program is available to print online at Tickets can be booked through the website and purchased at the AIFF’s office at Paseo Herencia. Tickets are available in a variety of price ranges, from a simple movie ticket to packages of multi-event attendance, to top accreditation tickets for VIP events.

About the Aruba International Film Festival

The breathtaking Caribbean island of Aruba provides the backdrop for the film industry’s newest “must-attend” event, taking place June 10-16, 2011, with an inviting atmosphere, suited like none other, to attract actors, directors, filmmakers, and film lovers.

AIFF stands to further global awareness for the Island of Aruba as a center of art, culture and creativity and serve as a platform to promote the understanding and appreciation for the art of cinema and filmmaking. With participants enjoying a relaxed Aruban ambiance and a casual interaction between filmmakers and audience.

The annual AIFF brings people from around the world to view a wide selection of films, join in discussions and attend special parties and events.\

AIFF has a mission to encourage, educate and activate young Aruban filmmakers. Throughout the Festival, notable film professionals will be conducting master classes on all facets of filmmaking and the creative process.

For more information please visit the Aruba International Film Festival website at

My big, fat Cuban family: Voices From Mariel

Posted by Virginia Celoria on May 20, 2011 in Cuba, DVD, Film | 0 comments

Blog post on My big fat, Cuban family blog. Written by Marta Darby.

I’m often amazed at how little people here seem to know about the waves of Cuban immigrants refugees to this country.

The older folks seem to remember that in the early 60′s there were some displaced Cuban children that needed homes. This they only know if one of the children ended up in their neighborhood. I’m referring, of course, to the Pedro Pan Flights, where 14,000 unaccompanied minors were sent to the U.S. by their terrified parents, hoping to save them from communism. They did. At great personal sacrifice. Read that story here.

But there are other stories. Some very dramatic, some with happy endings. As I start thinking about it, I realize that just about every Cuban has a “Cuando Sali de Cuba” story to tell.

The beautiful dvd Voices from Mariel tells the stories of those that left on the Mariel Boat Lift in 1980. They tell their stories. 125,000 Cubans were displaced. Their exodus was much different from ours (the first group), but super dramatic. And no, just because someone came to the U.S. via Mariel doesn’t make them a felon. (You’ve watched Scarface a few too many times, but that’s not important right now!)

I have a beautiful DVD that tells that story. It’s called Voices from Mariel and it’s just beautiful and oh so honest. So today’s giveaway is a copy of Voices from Mariel.

To enter the drawing, please leave a comment and tell me your coming to America story.

Start off with….Cuando sali de Cuba…. tell me about your travels and how you found things in this country.
If you send it by email and with photos, I’ll be happy to post it here, with your permission.
In fact, I think everyone should write down their story and share it. I’d love to give you a platform here.

Please leave me a comment, here on this post and tell me 1) how and when your family left Cuba. (No matter the time.) 2) Tell me details you remember. 3) Send me photos. I want to know it all.

In turn, by leaving a comment or sending an email with story and photos, I will put your name into the drawing for the Voices of Mariel Boatlift DVD.

It’s a beautiful film. I promise you’ll enjoy it. We are all one people. Cuban-Americans. And proud of it.

I’ll pick a winner randomly on Saturday evening, May 21 at 6 pm Pacific.

Now, come on….Tell me your Coming to America story.

Happy 20 de Mayo!

Click here for original blog post.

Lakeland Ledger: See ‘Voices From Mariel’

Posted by Virginia Celoria on May 19, 2011 in Film, Press | 0 comments

The Lakeland Ledger

A recent Letter to the Editor. Originally published Wednesday, May 11, 2011.

I am disappointed that there has not been a review about Dr. Jose Garcia’s film, “Voices from Mariel” and the special event that occurred at the Polk Theatre on a recent Saturday night.

Dr. Jose Garcia, a professor at Florida Southern College, saw his dream come true on the big screen.

Jose and his family immigrated from Cuba in the 1980 exodus of freedom-loving Cubans. His story about those Cubans who stayed and those who prospered in America is moving.

The film was produced in Lakeland by NFocus, our hometown filmmakers. The 80-minute film is worth watching. Type Voices from Mariel on Google and buy a copy.



International Video Projects


Editor’s note: The Ledger did an extensive feature in its Life section in February on Jose Garcia and his film, exploring Garcia’s past and the struggles he went through. The package included several photos that were provided by NFocus Productions.

Marielitos and Marielitas made America a better place

Posted by Virginia Celoria on May 18, 2011 in Cuba, Film | 0 comments

Blog post by Marc R. Masferrer at Uncommon Sense

Tony MontanaTony Montana was not a Marielito. Yes, in “Scarface,” he arrives in Miami during the Mariel boatlift from Cuba, but it is important to remember: “Scarface” was just a movie, meant to entertain, not to educate; and Tony Montana was just a cartoon.

The real Marielitos and Marielitas are people like my friends Patsy Feliciano and Betsy Gonzalez, who arrived here 31 years ago this spring and summer with little more than with their families and with their ganas to build a better life.

And how they have succeeded.

I like “Scarface” as entertainment, but I concede that the film, and the violence and the cocaine and the misogny depicted, probably has had an undue influence on what many think about Marielitos and Marielitas, and Cubans in general. There’s not much I can do about that ignorance.

But because of what I have learned from my friends, and from others whose stories are told in a new documentary, “Voices from Mariel,” I admire most Marielitos and Marielitas for two reasons:

First, how they overcame everything they risked and lost in coming to America to build new and fruitful lives. Like the Cubans of my parents’ and grandparents’ generations, they have made this a better country as they built their American dream for themselves and for their families.

And secondly, their commitment to doing whatever they can to ensure that their home, their Cuba is one day free again.

For that, I am proud to call some of them, like Patsy and Betsy, my friends.

And for that, America should be proud to have them.

Click here to visit Marc’s blog.