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"90 Miles to Freedom"
By Gil Zabarsky
Based on the novel by Jeffrey Kutcher
Based on the incredible true story of Cuban-born Amaury Torres, an Army Ranger turned culinary chef, who fled for his life, by makeshift raft, from Castro's communist Cuba in the 1990s.
"90 Miles to Freedom" is based on the incredible true story of Amaury Torres, who was born in Fidel Castro's communist Cuba in 1974. From boyhood to young-adulthood, Amaury is forced to navigate the unforgiving nature of his mostly-absentee, militaristic father (who fought alongside Fidel Castro himself), the chokehold Castro's Cuba has over his mother, and the growing suspicion that there's an entire world outside of his run-down s olar that is sealed from him.
As Amaury progresses from youth to rebellious Rockaydo teen, his interests shift from playing with government-issued marbles and flying killer kites with his friends, to finding the right spot on the beach to pick up radio signals from American Rock stations, and pursuing hushed dates with the daughter of a stationed Soviet soldier. Amaury becomes unfairly pursued by the law and, in order to discipline him and get him to appreciate what Castro's Cuba has done for him, his father sends him to the Cuban military. There, Amaury is broken down, and rebuilds himself as a man forever in love with Cuba, but never with what Castro has made of it. Before he's even 17, he becomes an Army Ranger, survives hell in Angola, watches a friend die and another mangle his body in order to escape military service, and returns to Cuba determined to find whatever version of freedom he can there, even if he's trapped on an island with no way out.
For a couple of years, there is hope. Amaury learns to love the beach again, he falls in love with a woman named Denora, he cultivates his version of freedom. When the Cuban military demands he serve longer than he was promised he would have to serve, Amaury defies and insults the government, putting his own life at immediate risk. His father warns Amaury that he has a week or two before they come for him, and, while he can't bring himself to tell Amaury that he loves him, he does tell Amaury what he has to do, and how to do it: Escape Cuba by makeshift raft. After a heartbreaking goodbye to his mother, his Abuelita, and his pregnant girlfriend Denora, Amaury and
his brother Ernesto embark on a journey for which Amaury will have to pay a horrific price, in order to make it across 90 miles of ocean to the Florida coast, and freedom.
I know Amaury personally and hired screenwriter Gil Zabarsky (Fox's "Tenured," Disney's "Carved") to write the script. Gil has written for Fox Digital, The Orchard, and Disney, and his work has premiered at Tribeca Film Festival twice, on Netflix, Funny or Die, United Airlines flights, Amazon US and UK, and soon Crypt TV.
If you're interested in a slightly longer synopsis, or to read the script itself, please let me know and I'll send it over.
Thanks so much for your time!