Escape 4 the Game is a documentary about a group of Cuban baseball players who risked their lives and escaped their island country for a chance to play professional baseball in the United States. The story is told through the eyes of Tampa Bay Rays shortstop, Yunel Escobar, with supporting commentary from his childhood friends who joined them on the journey. After a twelve-day plight that included going into hiding and having no contact with the outside world, swimming across crocodile-infested waters, and sailing into the dark of night with only one working motor, the men were only half-way there. A story of courage, strength, and perseverance, Escape 4 the Game will take you on a voyage so many make, yet few survive.
Escape 4 the Game
"In Cuba, baseball in the United States is very respected-it's well respected. But:the whole world respects Cuban baseball too. Throughout the years we've shown that without having a lot, we do a lot: but the good thing about playing in Cuba is that you play because you REALLY do love to play baseball."
-San Diego Padres Double-A first baseman, Johan Limonta.
Ninety miles of turquoise sea separates Cuba from the United States, two vastly different worlds. They harbor the dreams and ambitions for many young men who risk everything for the chance to escape the cement walls of El Malecon.
Escape 4 the Game is the story of Cuban men who shared the dream to play Major League Baseball in the United States; to be a part of "˜America's National Pastime.' In order to accomplish this, they had to escape from one of the last remaining communist strongholds in the world: their homeland.
Thus, began their search for a life of freedom, and a chance to test their talents against some of America's best ballplayers. They risked their lives for a dream and crossed the treacherous tropical seas where hope can drown in a sudden moment. Three different men, three different journeys, three different outcomes, all to Escape for the Game
Yunel Escobar, a powerful hitter and shortstop for the Tampa Bay Rays, along with childhood friends, Johan Limonta, first baseman for the San Diego Padres farm league, Joel Perez, Yamel Guevara, and two others, fled from the socialist grasp of Fidel Castro, leaving behind their country, friends, family, and roots.
Growing-up in Miami and having a Cuban mother, Producer Tatiana Sanders had always heard stories of Cubans risking their lives and escaping Cuba to make a better life for themselves and their families. It was constantly on the news in Miami, and was very common to hear about. After working with the local minor league baseball team and meeting Johan Limonta, a player from one of the Seattle Mariners farm leagues, Sanders and director Bernardo Santana III came-up with the idea for Escape 4 the Game. They realized that while many in Miami knew the stories of how these players escaped Cuba, the rest of the world didn't. Our goal is to make the nation, and even the world know about what these men sacrifice for a chance to live a dream.
So that our audience gets the full effect of what our players experienced during their journey, we plan on bringing the players' story to life through re-enactments. To do this, we must shoot our re-enactments on an island as similar to Cuba as possible. We've decided to shoot most, if not all of our re-enactments in Dominican Republic. The reason we are not shooting in Cuba is because it is too dangerous for our crew as well as our players and their families. With that said, we do however plan on going to Cuba and shooting B-ROLL for the film. We hope to also recruit local Cuban artists such as Doble Filo, Gente de Zona, Danay Suarez as well as well-known musicians like Pitbull, Albita, Willy Chirino to contribute some of their music to the film in order for audience to get a genuine feel for the rhythm of Cuba and it's people. We hope to wrap the film in time for Spring Training 2014 or at the end of the 2014 Major League Baseball season.
What will our funds be used for?
As you can imagine, it is not cheap to fly to another country to shoot a film. In order to avoid any complications while shooting overseas, our team must first travel to both the Dominican Republic and Cuba to scout locations, hire a crew, and tie-up any kind of loose ends we can for shooting the film. The funds raised from Kickstarter will cover any and all costs for traveling expenses for those few weeks scouting in the Dominican Republic and Cuba. The funds will also cover traveling expenses as well as rental cost for gear for any and all interviews for the film.
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