El Balsero Official Trailer

Inspired by True Events.

El Balsero wins at the Miami Film Festival!

Audience Award Best Short Film

El Balsero wins Audience Award for Best Short Film at the Miami Film Festival.

El Balsero in The Miami Herald

Miami Herald's Rene Rodriguez talks about the presence of local filmmakers in this years Miami Film Festival.

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The first Cuban Rafter- A true story

The journey that started an exodus

After years of living under Fidel Castro's government, Cuba has fallen into a state of darkness and oppression. Freedom has been stripped from its people and daily life has been punctured by  harassment and executions at the hands of Castro's National Police. After his childhood friend is violently killed in an altercation with a Castro sympathizer, 21 year old Reinaldo realizes he must find a way out and regain his freedom at any cost.

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6 days alone in the Ocean


First known "balsero", Reinaldo Cruz

This film is inspired by the life of Reinaldo Cruz, the man who is widely considered to be the first Cuban refugee to reach the U.S. on a homemade raft.  He began a journey that was  followed by an exodus of over a million Cubans fleeing Fidel Castro's dictatorship. Many of whom which lost their lives out at sea.. 

The Rafter movie (El Balsero)

Running time: 21 minutes     

Year: 2019 

 Director: Jose Navas    

 Flickhouse Studios

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Coming to America on a Raft

 On January 1st, 1959, after years of revolutionary fighting within Cuba, Fidel Castro took control of the tense and still-volatile country. The new  regime inflicted a reign of terror upon the people of Cuba, executing anyone who dared to stand in the way of Castro or his government. Private business was abolished. The press was censored.  Movement was restricted, and most importantly, freedom of expression abolished. Reinaldo Cruz was just 16 years old when  his country began to be  torn apart by civil unrest and repression. Life in Cuba darkened, and daily life was punctured by interrogation and harassment at the hands of Castro's National Police.  After one of his friends is violently killed in an altercation, 21 year old Reinaldo realizes he must find a way out and regain his freedom. He resolves do so at any cost. Although it means leaving behind a sister and mother he adores, Reinaldo, desperate enough to risk even death, does what no one before him had yet:, begins a perilous journey to America on nothing more than a makeshift raft  And despite knowing that he would unlikely survive the journey, on July 31, 1964 Reinaldo Cruz makes history and becomes the first person in history to flee Cuba on a raft in search of freedom. 

The making of the movie

The team behind the film

Director - Jose Navas

Executive Producer - Jose Navas & Jorge Navas
Writer - Jose Navas & Allen Poncharoensub
Producer - Jose Navas and Jorge Yanes
Editor - Jose Navas and Jorge Yanes
Special Effects Supervisor - Daniel Pierral
Production Assistant - Jack Cayasso
Story Consultant - Alex Cruz & Reinaldo Cruz

Soundtrack by - Idanis Gallimore
Makeup and Wardrobe - Vanessa Rebolledo

Aerial cinematography - Josny Bustamante & Brandon de Reuver

Sound Recordist - ProSoundz
Production Coordinator - Chris Quintana

Propmaster - Ruben Espinosa
Grips - Jack Cayasso & Lex Francis